Ask Emma: How to cope with slow play

The Scoop

PGA professional Emma Booth answers your burning questions, including how to get over your fear of putting and handle noise on the golf course

Should I tell her to hurry up?

Question: My regular playing partner is such a slow golfer! She will look for her ball for at least 10 minutes before declaring it lost. How can I politely let her know when her five minutes is up? Lucy, Reading

Answer: 10 minutes! Is she having a laugh!? She must lack some serious self-awareness to hold the game up for that long. When you find yourself in this situation again maybe try something along the lines of: “Oh Beverly (I’m going with Beverly), I do hope we find this ball quickly, we’ve only got five minutes you know….” Hint, hint!

 This way you are telling her in a matter of fact fashion without sounding pushy. If she still doesn’t get the hint, ask her if the ball was a family heirloom or diamond encrusted and if that’s why she’s spending so long looking for it? 

Why can’t I putt?

Question: Sometimes I just know I’m going to miss a very short putt – it can be a mere tap-in but I’m still capable of missing it. Help! Alice, Sheffield

Answer: Well we all like being right about things so the fact that you know you’re going to miss and then proceed to do so means you’ve proved yourself right! Feel good? No, of course not, but you produce what you fear. At the moment your mind is completely preoccupied with the fear of missing, which leaves you unable to focus on the task.

The first step to getting over this problem is to accept that you will miss short putts now and again – so will I and so will the touring pros, everyone does. Never waste any time or emotion on the fear of a missed putt. Focus your mind on what you can control, which is your pre-shot routine; look at the line, have a practice stroke, take aim, have one last look at the hole and then let go of the putt. If it goes in, great! If it doesn’t, the sky doesn’t fall down and you still go home for your dinner. So embrace the challenge!

Should I tell them to be quiet?

Question: When playing in mixed competitions, it drives me mad when the men are shuffling and rattling their bags after arriving at the ladies’ tee just as I am about to play. What should I do about it?Jane, Plymouth

Answer: Noises that occur when you’re playing your shot can be very off-putting. Unfortunately though, silence on the golf course is a luxury and cannot be guaranteed. You could speak to the offending men, but I really do recommend that you try becoming less precious about it. Focus all your energy on your game instead. 

So to summarise, other players will be noisy, birds will squawk, trains will rattle past, and cars will toot. But from this moment forth you will be too focused to give a hoot!

Emma Booth is a PGA professional at Avington Park and Winchester Golf Academy

To book a lesson, call 07730534551 or Tweet @ladygogolf

Have a question for Emma? Email askemma@sportspub.co.uk

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