As I sat on my sofa watching the final round of the Player's Championship, I just kept thinking to myself, thank god I don't have Kevin Na partnering me during my 10 Round Challenge.
The waggling, the routine, the stepping-away, the hesitation, it would make playing 180 holes in a day pretty tough. In fact, based on the pace Na and his playing partners endured throughout the week, it would take them over 2 days to play 10 rounds with no breaks.
So it will vital that I make sure I take precautions to play quick, and squeeze 10 rounds into the 19 hours of sunlight on June 27th. But how? Well, here's how.
Move Quickly. Pretty self-explanatory, but it will be the over-riding theme of the day. Drop the bag, hit, grab the bag, find the ball and repeat.
Covering more than 52 miles in one day is hard enough as it is, but hitting more than 800 shots in that time, well that is certainly a challenge. My golf game may resemble that of a polo player as I stride down fairways, slowing down only slightly to knock the ball closer to it's target.
Club Choice. Whilst I would love to use the 10 rounds to practice my game and work on that hold-up fade, the priority of the day is speed. More clubs equals more weight equals more energy used.
Therefore I have decided on a 6-club set of 3-Wood, 6-iron, 8-iron, pitching wedge, lob wedge and a putter. A driver would require me teeing up the ball, plus it would only be needed on seven or eight shots out of 80 or so, therefore it is not needed.
My TaylorMade Rocketballz will carry the load off the tee and on any long shots. I will pluck out irons, like Robin Hood pulls an arrow, as I skip round the holes and do my best to stay on the short grass. Which brings me to my next piece of self-advice...
Stay Out Of Trouble. My enemies for the day will not be the usual gang of Mr 3-Putt, Sir Double-Cross and Dr Slice, but rather the mass of hazards and trees on the course.
Any time spent looking for a ball is time wasted. Likewise, if I am required to carefully rake a bunker before moving on, that will be valuable minutes of sunlight used up. 'Fairways and greens' is a solid objective for a typical round, but it is essential during the challenge.
Don't Go Big. I found this out during some speed practice rounds, but going over the green, or just past the flag, wastes time during speed golf.
Think about it: you over-shoot the green on a par-3. You have to walk past the hole to the ball, chip it back, hole out, and then likely have to walk back over the green to the next tee. That is wasted effort and wasted time. Mental note: the front of the green is my ball's home for the day.
Bag It Up. My pencil bag, complete with my custom 6-club set, will be my supply's vessel for the day, carrying fluids, food and supplies for 19 hours of golf. However, it will stay on my back to putt.
I contacted the R&A to ask whether putting with my bag was breaking any Rules of Golf, and they kindly responded with "There is no requirement in the rules of golf to put your bag down to play a shot." Bingo! More time saved not having to walk off and back on each of the 180 greens I will be playing.
So those are the five objectives I have decified thus far in my training to help me speed round the course. But what are your thoughts on slow play? Is it hurting the game? Do all golfers need to carry 14 clubs every round? Perhaps there are objectives all golfers could adopt in order to speed up the game.
Comment below to have your say and stay tuned for more 10-Round Challenge blogs.