Golf is not the fastest game in the world. In fact, those without the golf bug liken watching it to watching paint dry. But some golf teachers have managed to convince many golfers to take slow play to an all time high by introducing the preshot routine.
If ever there was a curse on the game, it is this preshot routine fad. I can accept and understand someone who is playing for their livelihood taking plenty of time to make sure they are ready to hit their shot. But when Joe Blow, playing in his regular Saturday foursome, feels the need to have to subject his buddies, and the group waiting behind, to some elaborate preshot ritual on his way to shooting 100, it's a bit hard to take.
Bobby Jones was a proponent of fast play. He said that he would routinely step into his shot, take one waggle and let it go. He realized that when he took more than one waggle, trouble wasn't far away. He told the story of once being in a tournament where he was facing a particularly challenging shot. After much thought and delay, he hit the shot which failed miserably. He remarked to the gallery that in hindsight he might have missed it much quicker.
The fact is, that for most of us, the longer we take to hit the shot, the more likely we are to have doubts creep in and miss it. We need to learn to miss it quick. At least that way we won't be infuriating our playing companions and the foursome waiting behind us. I can see no evidence to suggest that, for the average golfer, three practice swings, a tug on the shirt sleeve, opening and closing the flap on the golf glove and looking at the target fourteen times before we take it back helps or improves the quality of our play.
My buddy, Gerry, invented what came to be dubbed the automatic reload. I highly recommend it to everyone who isn't playing for a National or State championship. Gerry possessed the ability to hit prodigious slices, sending the ball miles into unchartered territory. He did this with some regularity, but he also did it with alacrity. When he hit a wild one, his right hand would come off the grip, reach into his pocket and drop another ball at his feet, ready for another try, often before the first shot had even landed. There was no staring disbelievingly at the errant shot; no wailing and gnashing of teeth. Gerry just got on with it. He had the automatic reload grooved and we all greatly appreciated it.
So, let's be like Gerry. Let's have an extra ball in our pocket, at the ready. We're bound to miss some, so, while we don't want to rush, and we should commit to our shot, let's try to miss 'em quick.