Luke Donald warns against slow play
Last Updated: 31/12/13 2:52pm
Luke Donald has warned that slow play on the European Tour could have a negative impact on youngsters playing golf at club level.
Sky Sports News has undertaken a survey of clubs across the UK and Ireland and found that the issue is one that frustrates amateurs more than any other.
In the survey, 94% of clubs said it was a problem whilst 92% thought it was a bigger talking point than the ban on anchored putters.
"It used to be that golf was a half-day activity. You could have breakfast with the family and be back home for lunch. But now it seems to have expanded into something that take up two thirds of the day and I think it's having a negative effect on participation - it needs speeding up."
"A lot of the juniors who are watching golf are picking up bad habits after seeing us taking our time," said Donald.
"It's down to the intricacies of the rules or people not being ready when it's their turn - there are so many different factors but unfortunately it's a reasonably big problem in the game.
Nicolas Colsaerts agrees: "Something needs to be done," he said. "Most of the time you end up playing for over five hours and that's not good enough."
However, European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady believes the game's governing bodies are taking adequate steps to combat the problem.
"I think the Tours take really good leadership - certainly the European Tour does. Last time I checked - at the end of the year - we'd had 400 different cases of players being timed and 12 penalties imposed."
But the bodies that help regulate the amateur game see slow play as a major problem to attracting new players into the game.
"The people we want to get to haven't got four hours going spare and therefore we do have to have a two hour version of the game," said England Golf Chief Executive David Joy. "It would be great to have a nine hole format that people could choose to play in."
"It used to be that golf was a half-day activity," added R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson. "You could have breakfast with the family and be back home for lunch.
"But now it seems to have expanded into something that take up two thirds of the day and I think it's having a negative effect on participation - it needs speeding up."