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?

Royal Portrush GC in Northern Ireland

The 2012 Irish Open is being held this week at the magnificent Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

If you’re planning an Ireland Golf Adventure, and have the north of Ireland in your itinerary, you would be well served to include this area. In addition to Royal Portrush, Portstewart GC and Castlerock GC are also excellent nearby courses not to be missed.

After golf, I highly recommend having a meal at The Ramore Wine Bar in Portrush. Although they do have an excellent wine selection, the name is a bit misleading. It’s not the quiet, stuffy, wine-snob environs you might assume from the name, but rather a lively and fun joint with great food and killer desserts.

2012 Ireland and Scotland Guides Update

The Ireland Golf Adventure Guide and Scotland Golf Adventure Guide have been updated for 2012.

The details for every golf course and accommodation — and everything else in the guides! — are carefully scrutinized and updated for each edition. Here’s an example from the Scotland Golf Adventure Guide.

All new purchases (PDF download and printed) will receive the updated versions effective immediately. Customers who have purchased a previous PDF version of the guide can download a free update to this latest version. This is just one of the many advantages of purchasing one of my guides.

Updated information includes, but is not limited to:

  • New accommodations and courses (Lough Erne in Ireland and Trump International Golf Links in Scotland)
  • Green fees and accommodation rates/tariffs for 2012
  • Golf course contact info (email, websites, etc.)
  • Accommodation contact info (email, websites, etc.)
  • Flight schedules and airlines

New buggy icon indicates if motorized carts (buggies) are available.

Buggies! New for 2012 — courses that offer motorized carts (they are usually referred to as “buggies” in Ireland and Scotland) have a green buggy icon as part of the course entry. If a medical certificate is required to use a buggy this is indicated by the word “MED” next to the icon.

Reduced rates for 2012. You’ll be happy to know that many golf courses — especially those in Ireland — have further reduced their green fees for 2012. Same with hotel rates. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case in Scotland where most courses continue their 5-10% year green fees increase despite the gloomy economic environment.

If you buy a travel guide book that was printed sometime last year, or you already own one, I can guarantee that a good portion of the information in it is out of date and/or incorrect. By publishing my guides electronically, I can easily deliver you the latest — and most correct — information. And, even after you’ve made a purchase, because you get free updates you’ll always have access to accurate information when you plan your next trip.

How to Play The Old Course

It is easier to obtain a tee time on the Old Course at St Andrews than many might think.

There are four main ways to do so if you have a suitable handicap (24 for men and 36 for women) and this post explains each of them in detail. The first way is to apply through the Advanced Reservations process at the start of September for play the following year. The second, and most common way, is to enter the Daily Ballot which is drawn each day for play the following day. Thirdly, Single Golfers can approach the Starter on the day they wish to play and he will try to slot them in with groups going out that day. Finally, guaranteed premium tee times can be purchased from the Old Course Experience.

More about the Daily Ballot. Nearly half of the total number of tee times on the Old Course each year are allocated to the Daily Ballot to give people who have been unable to book in advance a chance of playing. It is drawn each day for the next day’s play and on Saturday for Monday play although from January 7th 2012 this will be changing to a 48 hour ballot. Golfers should provide their names, home club and handicap details (24 for men and 36 for women) either by phone on +44 (0)1334 466666 or at one of the clubhouses before 2pm on the day before they wish to play or on Saturday for Monday. The draw will be made shortly after that and the results posted by 4pm each day. There must be at least two golfers in the group. Click here for the latest ballot results.

St Andrews 2012 Ballot Changes

St Andrews Old CourseThe daily ballot for the world renowned Old Course is to change from January 2012, moving to a 48 hour ahead system of entering for the first time in its history.

For many years golfers have entered the ballot one day ahead of when they wish to play the famous Links but from Saturday, January 7, 2012 golfers will enter two days before.

The change is being made by St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the seven public courses at the Home of Golf, following an extensive consultation exercise with local golfers, local golf clubs, businesses, golf organisations, hoteliers, travel operators and tourism bodies.

It is hoped the change to 48 hours ahead will benefit both local and visiting golfers by enabling them to plan their golf more effectively if they know further in advance when they will be playing the Old Course. It will dovetail with the one-day ahead booking system on the Jubilee, Eden and Strathtyrum courses and will enable golfers who have been unsuccessful in the ballot to book an alternative course for the day they want to play. The earlier draw will make it easier for visiting golfers to plan accommodation and travel arrangements and will encourage them to stay longer in St Andrews and play more golf in and around the town.

Euan Loudon, chief executive of St Andrews Links Trust, said, “This is an historic moment of change and one which has been carefully considered by Trustees and the Links Management Committee. The one-day ahead ballot has been in place for a long time but we believe it is now time to change.

“We hope the 48 hour ahead system will help local golfers plan their golf and will encourage visiting golfers to stay longer in St Andrews and play more golf while they are here. The feedback we have received from many travel operators and hotel and guest house owners suggests it will make it easier for them to plan their clients’ golf itineraries.”

The 48 hour ahead ballot will be drawn for the first time on Saturday, January, 7, 2012 for play on Monday, January 9, 2012. To enter the ballot requires at least two golfers and they will have to enter their names, home clubs and handicaps by 2pm. The ballot will take place every day of the week with the exception of Friday as there is no play on the Old Course on Sundays. The entries can be made by phone on 01334 466666 or in person at any of the three clubhouses at the Links. The Trust will continue to communicate the change to golfers throughout the rest of this year, ahead of the changeover in January 2012.

Kintyre Express Expands Service to Northern Ireland

Kintyre Express has announced a new passenger ferry service which will operate between Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula and Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. Beginning in May, golfers will have the option to easily extend their Ayrshire and Machrihanish golf vacations to include other world-renowned links golf courses, including Royal Portrush, Royal County Down and Portstewart.

Kintyre Express has been making speedy runs between Troon and Campbeltown for several years, connecting Machrihanish to Ayrshire and its celebrated courses at Troon, Turnberry and Prestwick. It will continue to provide service on that route.  And now, with this new schedule of service to Ballycastle, golfers will be able to access even more of the U.K.’s top-ranked courses quickly, easily and enjoyably.

It’s a links golf lover’s dream come true.  In one easily arranged golf holiday, golfers can now play in Ayrshire, travel across to tackle Machrihanish Dunes and Machrihanish Golf Club, and then continue on to play the legendary courses of Northern Ireland.

The commercial service will run four days a week from May 27th through September 26th, incorporating two return journeys each day on the 90-minute crossing. Additional journeys will be scheduled on demand. The service will utilize a custom-built Redbay Stormforce 36-foot RIB, an all-weather, fully cabined craft with a capacity of 12 passengers and a top speed of 37 knots.

Campbeltown – Ballycastle passenger ferry service operates as follows:

  • Friday 27th May – Monday 26th Sept 2011
  • Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
  • Fares – single (one-way) £30 • return (round-trip) £55

Fares & Booking Info

Ireland Golf Courses Video

It’s time to get inspired to plan your next golf trip to Ireland. Here’s a short video with photographs of some of the best golf courses in Ireland.

Golf course photographs by Aidan Bradley and music by Scott Johnson. Thanks guys!

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