According to just about every golf survey ever held, nothing irritates players more than slow play.
When the rules of golf changed in 2019 and the time allowed to look for a lost ball was reduced from five to three minutes, Scots engineer Derek Wright set out to ensure that his fellow players were equipped to take advantage of the change.
More than a year later, despite a succession of hurdles, the 70-year-old from Troon has successfully designed, tested and produced the first three minute lost ball timer – the Tee-Minus.
Derek explained: “One of the most common rules broken while playing golf is spending too long looking for a lost ball. This is mainly due to the fact many players do not know the time limit to look for a ball, or have any way to time it.
“I set out to design and build a timer that was both reliable and easy to use and after a couple of false starts, I settled on a clockwork mechanism, removing the problem of costly electronics or batteries running out.
“I've spent my life designing and building things in metal, and the difficult part was finding and trusting a manufacturer who could supply me with a high quality product at a reasonable price.”
By rotating a golf ball shaped dome 360 degrees, the timer is set at three minutes and alerts the golfer when their three minutes, the maximum time allowed to look for their ball, is up.
Derek added: “To add value to the product I decided to include a range of golfing accessories, including tees, pitch mark repairer, pencil, sharpener and two ball markers, which can be personalised with your club badge or company logo.
“A strap and carabiner makes it easy to attach the Tee-Minus timer to any golf bag.
“I contacted the R&A to ensure that the Tee-Minus would be OK to use on the course, and while they stopped short of recommending its use they indicated that it was perfectly legal!”
The Tee-Minus ball timer is available for purchase online for just £14.95 by visiting Tee-Minus.co.uk To contact inventor Derek Wright for multiple orders, telephone 07751161257.