Europe’s dramatic victory at the Solheim Cup on Sunday has allowed the issue of slow play to take a back seat for now, but it must be addressed.


Suzann Pettersen winning putt Solheim Cup 2019

Europe’s dramatic victory at the Solheim Cup on Sunday has allowed the issue of slow play to take a back seat for now, but it must be addressed.

By Charlotte Ibbetson

The golfing world couldn’t have asked for a better climax to the Solheim Cup this year. A controversial Captain’s pick, Suzann Pettersen confidently rolled in the winning putt on the 18th hole at Gleneagles to see Europe clinch the trophy from the Americans. It was exciting, down-to-the-wire, genuine sporting drama – iconic and exactly what the sport needed.

Rewind to the days before though and the topic you simply couldn’t avoid was pace of play. Yes, the conditions were tough, but it was taking some groups more than three hours to play nine holes. That’s enough to put anyone off playing the game.

Solheim cup european team 2019 min

When asked whether she thought the pace of play had been an issue, USA Captain Juli Inkster commented, “yes, it’s painfully slow out there … It’s a tough golf course. And out here every shot counts. So it’s going to take longer. That’s just the way it is.”

But should it have just been 'the way it is'? Should we be allowing the best women in golf to set an example that slow play is acceptable? If you ask me, no, we shouldn’t.

It's an issue, game-wide, that we need to address. Our lives are getting busier and busier, and we have less and less spare time to commit to anything other than our work and families. As an industry, we're creating quicker formats, shorter courses and simplifying the rules, but if golf can't shift the reputation of being a slow and (by default) boring game, it's all pretty much a waste of time. 

With a response we could get a bit more on board with, European Captain, Catriona Matthew, added, “some of the players on both sides do take quite a while to hit a shot. But it’s the officials really. They’re the ones who police the pace of play, so it’s really up to them.”

No stranger to voicing her opinion online, Meghan MacLaren added a voice of reason to the mix, tweeting: “it’s an issue that golf desperately needs to do something about … but it does not and should not define this Solheim Cup”.

Meghan Maclaren Slow play tweet min

There’s no doubt that the spine-tingling action will have a huge and positive impact on women’s golf. On both sides of the pond, it has the power to propel the game to a new level, but we need to address the issue of slow play before we can really prosper. 

Tell us what you think! Email Charlotte.Ibbetson@womenandgolf.com

Image credit: Getty Images

 

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