Your Game Is Too Slow – You Should Be Charged Extra!!

Rumours are circulating of the possibility of golf clubs introducing higher fees for slow play (eek!) – perhaps a ‘pay by the hour’ fee.  This idea is probably worth examining, no?

But first, it is no harm to take a quick look at how we can amp up the pace of our game a little by looking at a few time-savers (and indeed responsibilities) to keep a game moving along and making everyone happy.  And, then, we’ll examine why paying green fees by the hour may be something to embrace.


Even if paying a normal flat fee for a round of golf, there are still a few nice, considerate, and practical things that may be done to speed up our game:

1. Don’t leave your trolley/cart so far behind you when you are off slicing or putting the ball as you’ll have a long, time-consuming trip back to collect it.  Instead have it easily accessible for a quick getaway!

2. Do not block the pathways delaying others – be mindful that you are not in a supermarket now!


3. Jotting in your scorecard? – just step off the green to do your calculations  and those behind you can proceed with their game and better yet,  your private calculations can’t be spotted!!
4. Keep an eye on the ball after you hit the darn thing.  Searching for a ball is time consuming; so don your glasses, ask your companions to track it, or, if you have a wee drone, use that (check with the club first about this latter idea) – do whatever it takes to easily locate that spherical sucker quickly.


5. Play a ‘provisional ball’ if you deem it necessary and save everyone some grief looking for a lost ball.

6. No stopping for telephone chats. No, no, no.

7. Use your head (my mother loved saying that): If your pace is slower than that of other players, then advise the tee master and/or play at a time in lower demand. You’ll have a happier game with less pressure from those behind ya.

8. Show up & be ready on time – such a simple, courteous thing – right?

9. If you know you’re being closely followed on the course by some impatient-looking, polo shirt-wearing golfing-type dudes or dudettes, you’ll earn brownie points if you let them go ahead of you.


Now, to be fair, the club has responsibilities too:

1. Left or right? Signage to tees should be clearly visible and well located. 

2. A good pathway system in good repair is always beneficial. Zoom, zoom.

3. Help them help you:  the tee-time manager should ask or get to know who amongst us is not Mr. or Ms. Speedy.   And, we in turn, could do our part too by owning up to our slower pace.

4. Provision of a good map and nice yardage/meterage signs is always a plus.



Bye, Bye Flat Fees?

So, will this be the end of the flat-rate green fee? Will courses resort to ‘pay by the hour’ now?  Maybe it is better they do.

Think about it:

  • If you only want to play for an hour or so, you will no longer have to pay the full rate;
  • Your slower, chattier partner may move faster and chat less if the extra verbiage is costing money;
  • Carts may be in less demand and/or returned faster.
  • And, would you play more?
    • If you have the desire or need (or only have time) to play 3 to 6 holes, but you don’t wish to pay the  fees for the full 9 or 18 holes, then this would suit you.  And in turn, could this mean you can allot a little more time on the course by playing a few short games during the week?
    • Are you more likely to take a chance on playing even knowing the weather forecast is changeable? Probably.


Downsides?  They seem negligible really. Once in a while you may have a slower game due to getting stuck behind a large  group of players or maybe as a result of having to take shelter from bad weather for a while.   Another negative may be that you will go through more balls than usual as you may not wish to spend too much time looking for the lost ones any more??!! (And you know that that ‘ball searching’ time adds up when you’re a novice.)

So, all in all, not too bad really.

I’m sure the clubs themselves will do a lot of number crunching before they institute such a change.

Whatever happens, golfers are an easy-going lot that adjust fairly easily when things change ….. right?

Feel free to weigh in.  Send me your thoughts via the comment section.

Penha Longa Golf Course

Penha Longa Atlantico course is listed in the Top 100 golf resorts of Continental Europe and in the top 10 in Portugal.

The resort also offers a 9 hole course, the Monastery course.  The Monastery can be combined with the front nine or the back nine of the Atlantic course to form the North & South routes for play.

The Penha Longa Resort can be found 16 miles from downtown Lisbon (approx. 30min drive) and just 10 minutes from the lovely beaches and towns of Estoril and Cascais.

OK, First Impressions:

Huge, hidden expanse of surprises sitting on the edge of the Sintra Natural Preserve. Upon driving into this resort, the entrance seems to magically expand into an intimate, heavily ‘treed’ expanse of green with some jutting rocks and impressive stone structures of a former era; together they set up an atmosphere of expectation.

Even the grand building that houses the hotel and clubhouse, as large as it is, is mostly hidden in this natural environment or partially camouflaged by part of the 16th century Penha Longa monastery complex that has undergone some painstaking and worthy restoration.

The Courses:

That lovely feel of outdoor intimacy changes a little to present long, colourful, fairway corridors that lead to some of the highest grounds on the estate.

‘Going Up’ Fairway at Penha Longa

So, as you can guess, the courses here are hilly and have some rather long holes. Prepare for some fine breezes on the hills but also take a few moments to take in the wonderful views on offer too.  

As one golfer put it, ‘ The play is soft going but the design and terrain lend a tough enough play’. Certainly the grass condition was good (and even the flags were in perfect condition) when visited earlier this year. While the greens are attractive and well maintained, they exhibited toughness when heavily guarded by large, deep bunkers and/or some rather lovely water features.

The fourth hole of the Monastery Course is by the lovely old monastery built by St Jerome in 1355 and the reason for its name of course.

Both courses offer great views but there is a lovely view of the Penha Longa Palace by hole 9 on the Monastery course.  The Championship course also brings you a couple of reflective lakes by the 7th & 15th but hole 16 is probably the more difficult as it demands a long drive across a valley area and then up to a narrow green.

You are quite fit if you play 18 holes here without use of a buggy but no matter how you play, you will find the place, as expansive as it is, quite endearing.

Anytime is a good time to hang out and enjoy the club restaurant. It is a comfortable, modern setting overlooking the course and best of all, offers wonderful light fare by Sergio Arola.

Of Interest Nearby:


A UNESCO World Heritage Site as it was the first centre of European Romantic architecture.

Places of Interest: Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, Queluz Palace, Quinta da Regaleira.

Cascais & Estoril:

Cascais offers the wild Guincho beach (surfing etc), Cascais Cultural Centre, nightlife and much more.

Boca do Inferno – Cascais

Estoril’s coast is awash with beaches and tourist activities, eg. Fine dining, casino, day tours, etc.

Praia do Tamariz – Estoril


Down the road … but won’t go into all to do there. Check out