Golf Adventure Guides BLOG

Pace of Play Guidelines

Pace of play continues to be an important issue for our game.

I think it is everyone’s personal responsibility to be aware of their own actions and how that affects their group’s ability to get through a round of golf in a reasonable time. Every course and situation is a bit different, but there are some universal guidelines we can all follow to speed things up. I have assembled a single-page document highlighting what I feel are the most important elements which will have the greatest impact.

Here’s a link to the PDF, which I suggest you download, print, read, and keep in your golf bag:

PaceOPlayGuidelines.pdf [PDF File]

Here are the pace-of-play guidelines I recommend:

  • Keep up with the group in front, not in front of the group behind.
  • Forget the honor system. Whoever gets to the tee first should plug a tee in the ground and fire away if it is safe to do so.
  • Play ready golf, where the order of play is based on who’s ready, not who’s away. Don’t wait for someone who is “away” but is not ready to play their shot. Likewise, if you’re away, but not ready to play your shot, ask another player to proceed. Keep things moving.
  • Move briskly between shots and do not delay when it is your turn to play.
  • Walk directly to your golf ball; don’t follow others unless assisting in a search.
  • Play a provisional ball immediately if you think your original might be lost outside a hazard or out of bounds.
  • Plan your shot while walking to your ball or while others are playing. Select your club before it is your turn to play. When it is your turn, fire away.
  • Work on building a concise pre-shot routine. If your pre-shot routine is a lengthy one, it’s probably in your best interests to shorten it anyway. Limit practice strokes to one or two at the most.
  • Begin lining up your putt and reading the break as soon as you reach the green. Don’t wait until it’s your turn to putt to start the process of reading the green. When it’s your turn to putt, be prepared to step right up and take the stroke.
  • When playing in fours, the first two players who putt out on each hole should move immediately to the next tee and prepare to hit their shots. When playing in threes the first player to putt out does likewise. (It only takes one player to replace the flagstick.)
  • Leave your clubs on the side of the putting green towards the next tee.
  • Exit the putting green promptly after holing out.
  • Write down scores when you reach the next tee. Don’t stand on or linger next to the green after holing out in order fill in the scorecard. Move away from the green and let the group behind you play their approach shots.
  • Never hold up play because you’re in the middle of a conversation. Put your conversation on hold, take your stroke, and then continue the conversation.

How many of these do you practice on a regular basis?

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Rob Babcock
Author/Golfer/The Golf Guide Guy

Posted in Guides, Ireland, Scotland