Nobody enjoys slow play, but if you are stuck on a crowded golf course or behind a slow group, here are some suggestions that will help your frustration level and your blood pressure. These games are also much more constructive than discussing the moral fiber of the people in front of you who so obviously were born to unwed mothers and contemplating hitting your drive at them.
Your group can add any variations you like to these games since none have official rule sheets.
Chips and Cash
Probably the most common one is simply taking turns chipping at a tee marker and making a wager on it. The player that hits the tee marker most often wins. In case of a tie the pot carries over to the next contest.
You can also add a variation to this called Poison. Start at a tee marker, and take turns. Pitch or chip over to another tee marker. Once you hit that, play back to the original marker. Once you hit that, your ball becomes poison and you can try to hit other player’s ball and thereby eliminating them. The strategy increases when more than one ball is poison.
Two words of caution – at a $1.00 a game it can add up on a slow day and you need to designate someone to keep an eye on the group ahead of you so that you don’t end up holding anyone up.
You can also add local rules to it like hitting into the rough, you lose, hit a golf bag or another club, you lose, etc.
Another variation is sometime called “Jackpot.” On every hole all members of the foursome puts in a pre-determined amount of money into the pot. Use someone’s cap and put it one or two tees in front of your group. Take turns trying to chip your ball into the hat while waiting. If someone chips in then they win the pot, BUT if they don’t put their drive in the fairway the money goes back into the pot and continues. If two people chip in during one tee box – everyone puts in a specified amount and the pot rolls over to the next hole.
Make Your Wagers
This is one of my personal favorites: Make over/under bets on the guys in front of you. I won 5 bucks on a guy when the bet was over/under 8 on a par 4. The guy had a 9.
This one can get a little pricey if you are not careful, but it is a lot of fun. It’s called Slowpoke Calcutta. Buy your golfer from the foursome ahead and low man’s “owner” takes the pot. The best part is that to claim it you have to either keep their score or catch them after they finish and ask. That should be decided ahead of time so you know whether to pick the guy with the best swing or the one with the best foot wedge.
You can also bet on whether a player in the group ahead will hit it in the trees, the bunker, the water, etc.
You can always bet on whether they will let you play through.
For people that are not very creative you can always play “Marshal.” You bet on who can get their phone out the fastest and call the clubhouse to get the course marshal out there!
There is another one you can play anytime and if you happen to get stuck in slow play it will take the edge off. I have to admit that this one is generally played by young adults and not retirees. It’s called “Beer Handicap.” It works similar to using a normal handicap except the beers count as strokes. If you shoot 86 and drink 12 beers that becomes a net 74. If someone else shoots 78 and only has 2 beers that is a 76 and they lose.