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'The Return of the Four Hour Round' by Patrick Mateer

By: Dr. John Wagner


This book is not what I consider a must-read as its discussion topics have been hashed over for years. I also don't think author Patrick Mateer has the answers to slow play.

He spends 35 pages explaining these four keys:

1. Be prepared
2. Be in position
3. Move with purpose
4. Simplify your routines.

In my 60 years of playing golf, I know two things that get rid of slow play.

1. Keep up with the group in front of you
2. Play in less than four hours.

If I were to give this book to a new player I think it would only add to his or her confusion. Instead, they should be told: Just hit it. And if I gave this to the slow players I know, they'd only play slower because they'd now have more things to ponder.

What I was seeking in this book was a discussion of things to eradicate slow play and if Mateer had found any study results. These might include rules at specific public courses that, if you fall too far behind the group ahead, you may be asked to leave with no refund.

Recently, the University of Washington hosted a golf tournament and told all participants to try to play in less than four hours. The women's teams made it under that goal and the men were only slightly over. Usually, such collegiate tournaments take up to four hours and 45 minutes to play.

In Ireland and Scotland, they play in less than three and a half hours. Is it because that standard is just in their culture and Scots simply don't put up with slow play? A discussion of why that happens in the UK and not so much in the U.S. would have been nice to see here.

There's simply not enough "meat on the bone" to justify buying or reading this book.

"The Return of the Four Hour Round," by Patrick Mateer, published by Four Under Golf LLC, $14.95, 119 pages, ISBN 978-0-165-38177-0

Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He's been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He's a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. A 7 handicap, John is currently a member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.