The 100 Years War, for instance, hardly hurtled by in the blink of an eye. Equally as excruciating can be the pace of play in golf these days. As tectonic plates and asthmatic turtles shift along with considerable gusto, the good old game of gowf wheezes on behind with all the urgency of a cow at the front gates of an abattoir.
The powers-that-be have always made spoutings about coming down hard on the slowcoaches, but very little action seems to follow these robust statements of intent.
Credit, then, to the officials on the LPGA Tour, who stayed true to their words and actually dished out a penalty during the semi-finals of the Sybase Matchplay Championship in New Jersey at the weekend.
In the last-four encounter between Azahara Munoz and Morgan Pressel, the jousting duo were both warned about slow play after nine holes and eventually put on the clock after 11.
Having won the 12th hole to seemingly move three up on her rival, Pressel was informed prior to teeing off on the 13th that she was being penalised for slow play. The young American had taken 2 minutes 9 seconds to play her three shots, some 39 seconds over the 30-second limit per shot.
In the matchplay format, a time penalty is the loss of the previous hole. Instead of a three-hole lead, Pressel's advantage was just one and, as the momentum swung, Munoz went on to secure a controversial 2&1 triumph.
As her eyes filled with tears in the aftermath, Pressel bleated that the whole affair was rather "disheartening" and that the back-nine palaver had "knocked the wind out of my sails". That's all very well in the quest for sympathy votes, but rules are rules. You never want a tournament to hinge on the decision of a referee but, for once, those in authority have actually taken a stand on a thorny issue that Luke Donald recently said was "killing our sport".
On the men's PGA Tour, it's been 17 years since a player (Glen Day in the 1995 Honda Classic) was last penalised a shot for snail-like tendencies on the course. It's an absurd situation really, given the regular ditherings and five-hour plus rounds that are a feature of week-to-week tournament golf.
Back in 2004, the LPGA chiefs issued guidelines to members about pace of play under the rather questionable title 'Fast Play Makes Fast Friends.' Admittedly, it sounds more like an advert for a speed dating night in the local community centre, but the bullet points are quite obvious and should apply to all and sundry across the golfing spectrum:
1 Be ready to hit when it's your turn to play (have club in hand).
2 Walk faster between shots.
3 Eliminate lengthy discussions with your caddie, get the information and go.
4 Think about the upcoming shot before you get to your ball.
5 Reduce the length of time of your pre-shot routine.
Of course, all of this can go out of the window in the pressurised arena of professional golf and the heat of the moment when thousands and thousands of dollars, pounds or euros are up for grabs. Pressel paid the price at the weekend, but there was an interesting summing up of the whole affair from Munoz, who admitted herself that she too was slow, that adds to the pace of play dilemma.
"I didn't do anything wrong," said Munoz. "She was slow. I wasn't, not when the clock was on. When the clock is on, the clock is on and that's when you can't be slow."
Without wanting to be overly cynical of Munoz's comments, her words highlighted the problem with a system that all too often can be manipulated. At a strokeplay event, for example, as soon as a referee appears with stopwatch in hand to monitor a slow group, the principal offender suddenly ups the ante and gets a move on. Once back in position, the referee departs the scene and said player reverts back to endless pre-shot routines and exhaustive ponderings. It is this kind of common-place dodge that can often leave officials powerless.
In a chin-wag with Herald Sport at the start of the season, Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, admitted that the on-going saga of slow play remains "a huge worry" and that "our championship committee has determined itself to do something about it and apply the policy more strictly."
Ultimately, it is the players themselves who must take responsibility but, as the LPGA Tour has demonstrated, it must also be time for those in power across the game to show that actions do speak louder than words.