June 15, 2013
On the surface, it looks like it’s a case of do as I say, not as I do. But it’s still a great idea.
The United States Golf Association has created a series of humorous ads urging golfers to pick up the pace of play because slow play seems to become a bigger problem every year.
Of course, almost no one can make a round of golf last longer than a PGA Tour player. And probably no one has done more to make average golfers think it’s O.K. to take a half-dozen practice swings and linger over a 10-footer for 45 seconds before three-putting than pro golfers.
But it’s still a great idea. And it’s much needed advice. The ads are running during the U.S. Open this weekend.
According to a study by the National Golf Foundation, 91 percent of serious golfers say they are bothered by slow play and 70 percent believe it has gotten worse in recent years.
The USGA says golfers are not entirely to blame for slow play. It also points to longer golf courses, the amount of time golf courses allow between tee times and other factors.
The ads feature Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer repeating the famous zinger from the 1980 movie Caddyshack, when Rodney Dangerfield’s character Al Czervik tells Judge Smails to quit hesitating and waggling over a shot and hit it by saying, “Let’s go, while we’re young.”
The ad starring Woods starts with a close-up shot of him lingering over a putt for a long time before one of a group of pre-teens says, “While we’re young.” The camera pulls back to reveal he is playing a putt-putt course.
“He thinks it’s a major,” another one of the kids says to a friend.
In Palmer’s ad, a golfer ready to hit his tee shot leaves the tee when a drink cart pulls up and orders an Arnold Palmer, a drink that is half iced tea and half lemonade. The real Palmer appears from behind the cart and says, “While we’re young.”
Palmer, the player not the drink, reappears in Eastwood’s ad.
As Eastwood debates for a long time whether he needs to hit a 9-iron or a wedge, Palmer walks up to the tee and says, “While we’re young.”
When Eastwood gives him his best Dirty Harry look and ominous sounding music plays in the background, Palmer adds “Please.”
Sorenstam and Creamer also repeat the “While we’re young” theme. All five ads can be viewed at http://www.usga.org/MicroSite.aspx?id=21474856307.
FYI, the best nine-hole score I ever shot, a 40, came in a round that took just over 90 minutes. Ninety minutes walking.
FYI, Part II, I have not played golf on a Saturday morning in almost 25 years because the last time I did it took 2 hours, 50 minutes to play nine holes.
If I were to summarize my philosophy about my perfect pace of play, it would be something like, “I don’t know how to play that well, but I do know how to play fast. I can get out of your way.”
Or maybe, “If you take more than two practice swings, you probably aren’t sure what you want to do with the shot anyway.”
So, I hope the USGA’s efforts have some effect. But I’m not holding my breath.