The PGA of America has launched a campaign to speed play during its tournaments, officially allowing the use of rangefinders.

There is disagreement over whether this move actually will speed the pace of play, with some taking the stance that placing even more information in the hands – grips – of players and caddies will have the opposite effect.

Being a veteran of rounds played with golfers who take entirely too long to swing the club (any club), I generously offer my help with this dilemma. The foundational approach to dealing with this issue involves identifying the various culprits.

There are six types of slow players:

  • The Thinker – This guy was Bryson DeChambeau before Bryson DeChambeau. He noodles over every shot, examining it from every angle, pondering the hypotenuse of the incline and the direction and pressure of the wind. He has a calculator and IBM mainframe within easy reach. By the time he’s ready to swing, a matrix of numbers has coursed its way through his brain.
  • The Poser – For this guy, the shot isn’t as important as how he looks making the shot. And that includes more than the swing itself. First, there are four practice swings. Then he stands the appropriate distance behind the ball, puts both feet together, holds his 5 iron in front of him and aligns the shot. He strides to the ball, choreographing each step so that he arrives at address on exactly the fifth step. He bends his knees, bends over from the waist, places the clubhead behind the ball, runs the shot analysis through his head and swings. The followthrough is as perfect as that used by Fred Couples on his very best day. He holds there for a full five seconds, being certain that everybody has had the opportunity to enjoy the full experience. And possibly photograph it.
  • The Bouncer – On the putting green, this guy isn’t as concerned about the putt as he is the preparation for it. He stalks the ball like a lion on the hunt before walking to it. He stands with both feet flat on the ground and puts the putter behind the ball. The assumption is he’s ready to putt, but, wait, there’s more. Then the bounce begins. He moves his weight to the left and then to the right, looking for the perfect balance. His foot movement is almost like a mating dance – birds in the nearby trees notice, for example. Then when his feet are properly planted, he waggles – not the putter but his butt. Shakes it a bit, presumably to be sure each half is balanced over the ball. Then, finally, the putt. Which he misses.
  • The Prospector – This guy wants to discover everything about the ground that rests between his ball and the green. He walks off the distance, examining the grass, the ground, whatever mounds might exist in front of him and the curvature of the Earth. Then he walks the distance in reverse, confirming his initial observations. Meanwhile, his playing partners have lapsed into a restful stupor.
  • The Golden Glover – Like virtually every professional baseball player, this guy is never satisfied with the feel of his golf glove. Before each swing, he removes it, stretches the fingers, cleans any stray dirt, returns the glove to his hand and then closes and recloses the Velcro several times. It must be as tight as science allows.
  • The Important Business Guy – It is not possible for this guy to play 18 holes of golf without answering at least a dozen phone calls, each of which apparently involves either a million-dollar deal or a lawsuit gone bad. Sometimes both. Playing partners could be two holes ahead while he’s still deep in negotiations.

What’s the solution to dealing with these annoying humans? Give them a maximum of 30 seconds to play. After that, every 10-second delay is an additional stroke.

You’ll be finished in time to play a second 18.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.