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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Miss 'Em Quick

Bobby Jones played fast.  When describing his pre-shot routine he talked about deciding on his shot, approaching the ball from behind, setting his club behind the ball aimed at his target, moving into his stance, taking one waggle and letting it go.  He was constantly in motion.  If you blinked, you'd probably miss his shot.

In fact, Bobby noted that if he found himself taking more than one waggle, he could expect trouble.  He was of the "miss 'em quick" school.  He told once of having taken lots of time to survey a particularly tricky shot, the tension building in the gallery, before he hit a real stinker.  He admitted to the crowd that he could have certainly missed the shot much quicker.

He was the same with putting.  He generally felt his first look at a putt was his best look and that taking extra time to look at it from every angle was not particularly helpful or enlightening.  He did admit that he learned to take a little more time to catch his breath in later years before he hit the putt. But he always felt his first look was his best read.

Bobby felt there was nothing more onerous than slow play.  I'm certain he would have to turn the television off rather than watch the deliberations and the fiddling around that we are subjected to these days when we watch the pros play.  In this respect they set a terrible example for the average player who is often tempted to imitate their pre-shot routines.  

The other day we got stuck behind a foursome playing their usual match.  They usually got to the green in relatively acceptable speed.  But once on the green the show began--balls marked, putts surveyed from every angle, two-footers marked, cleaned and aim-lined instead of being tapped in.  It was absolutely painful to endure.  And not one of those guys broke ninety.  

If we want to eliminate slow play, we need to stop imitating the pros, forget we ever heard about pre-shot routines, and just hit the bloody thing.  We all need to be like Bobby Jones.  We need to miss 'em quick.  I don't think I've ever heard of anyone being criticized for playing too fast.  Have you?