Speed-up with
a six-ball

The battle against slow play at our club wouldn’t get very far in Vietnam according to Tim, one of the Hacker’s readers, who wrote a comment at the end of last week’s posting inviting us to play in Asia ‘where every super-hacker believes they are playing on the final day of the Masters’.
One of his recent competition rounds in Vietnam lasted six hours 45 minutes. The temperature, by the way, was 38C and the humidity 95% which may explain the lack of urgency.
Thank-you, Tim, for reminding us that expat hackers all over the world face problems we who play our golf in the relative comfort of these rain-soaked, sun-forsaken islands couldn’t imagine.
Nev, one of our members who spends a few months every year in Thailand, confirms that it is not all that quick there, either, particularly when you have to stop every few holes for a rest and a gallon of water.
There are other drawbacks such as the habit some Thais have of playing in six-balls, a format made even stranger by the fact they don’t wait on the tee for each of the six to tee-off.
The first one drives and then sets off after his ball, the second does the same, then the third and so on. When they reach their ball they play their second shot immediately and off they go. After the first player holes out he goes straight to the next tee and sets off again.
They call it the Thailand crocodile. It sounds both chaotic and dangerous but it seems to work and is a lot quicker. To add a further complication, they play a gambling game called Boker which is based on poker with one player acting as the banker and large sums being wagered on each hole.
Nev is at a loss to explain how they keep a check on the scores and the bets but it doesn’t seem like a format that would replace our system of a pound, pound, pound and 20p for bits.
As for our club’s campaign against slow-play, this weekend’s medal will see the introduction of an official starter and a marshal riding around on a buggy urging tardy three-balls to get a move on.
It was to begin two weeks ago but a water-logged course put a stop to that. Whether the rain will abate this weekend remains to be seen but, at least, they did stage a four-ball better-ball competition last weekend.
I’m still unable to play following a major operation but I thought I would at least see if I was fit enough to walk the course. If I can do that four or five times, it might persuade the surgeon to let me loose again.
Although the course was playable, it was raining but I didn’t let that put me off. It sounds daft but I’ve never walked our course without carrying a set of clubs. It really is a worthwhile experience. Golf courses are splendid places and if you are not making a fool of yourself with a golf club there is so much to admire.
From the hill at the centre of The Glamorganshire course there are sweeping views over the Bristol Channel up to the Severn bridges and down to the Exmoor hills.. You can see five counties; Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and, of course, Glamorganshire.
I’m glad to say that I completed the walk comfortably, stopping occasionally to take the piss out of some appalling shots and generally enjoying myself.
I was aware, however, that I was attracting some furtive glances and not everyone seemed pleased at my presence.
But it wasn’t until someone started explaining why they taking so long that I realised they thought I was a marshal checking up on how quickly they were playing.
I protested that I wasn’t spying, I was just getting some much needed exercise. The idea of someone taking a walk in the rain seemed so ridiculous that many of them didn’t believe me for a minute.
I plan to take another walk this weekend. I’ll take a stop-watch with me to cause even more consternation.

4 thoughts on “Speed-up with
a six-ball

  1. The Hacker has talked a lot recently about the row over belly-putters and other changes that are questionable as far golfing tradition is concerned.
    There’s another thing. Courses who describe their main 18-hole course as a “Championship Course”.
    One track I use near London is 5,960 yards off the back tees, (substantially shorter off the yellow tees, of course), yet it is always described in advertising and promotion material as a “Championship Course”. Other places do the same.
    I have a lot of respect for this particular course, run by a company, because it offers relatively inexpensive green fees on an OK course, but I don’t think it should have the right to call it by that name. It is misleading.
    Aren’t there any rules over this? Shouldn’t there be a minimum length? There seem to be rules about so many things in golf, why not this?

  2. On our annual golf trip to Spain I was playing in the last fourball of our group at Rio Real near Marbella, we waited on every shot and sat on benches at every tee. It was a lovely autumn day, the sun was shining and I was in good company, but there are limits. After 3 hours, yes 3 hours, we had completed 9 holes, the longest 9 holes I have ever played. Strangely though the back was played at almost a sprint in just 2 hours. It turned out that our organiser playing in the first fourball had gone into the pro shop and played hell with the staff who duly chastened sent out the Marshal to find the culprits and get them moving, they were astonishingly a 2 ball!


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