Yo, New Golfers! Move It Or Lose It!

The influx of new golfers has been great for the game — if not the pace of play

Several years ago while working as an editor for a company that published golf books, I was asked to make a trip to Ireland. The reason was because we’d just published a book by an Irish author and it was about to make its debut. Since I had done the editing, I was encouraged to go. I was excited to see Ireland for the first time but more so because the author had been one of the country’s best amateurs for years and he wanted us to play golf. I learned a couple of things.

One, Irish courses can be funky. At famous Lahinch Golf Club, there’s a cemetery next to the first tee. At another hole there, a par 3, you don’t aim at the flagstick because you can’t see it. The green is on the other side of a tall, grass-covered sand dune so you aim at a white rock that’s lined up with the pin every morning.

Something else I learned was that Irish golfers don’t dawdle. Start chatting before you chip and you’ll hear, “Get on with it.” Putz while you’re putting and someone in your group is bound to say, “Get on with it.” At another course, I paused before a shot after noticing that a nearby golfer looked exactly like the actor Richard Harris. “That’s his brother,” my author replied. Then he said, “Danny, get on with it.”

Since then, here in Michigan, I’ve seen golfers use a range finder 50 yards from the green. I’ve also seen several players line up the putting line on their ball before they hit a tee shot.

Due to the pandemic, lots of new players are enjoying golf (more than 3.2 million rookies, according to the National Golf Foundation) but our rounds are getting slower. My advice?

Get on with it …