R&A Pace of Play – Player

time-managementSo the manual is out, is very concise and provides plenty to absorb and investigate as a club. It is broken down into sections, one for clubs and committees and one for the players which focuses on common sense as well as introducing some good concepts for us all to think about.

Here we highlight some of the player pace suggestions put forward by the R&A.

Ready to Play 

Other than match-play the R&A advise that players be encouraged to play out of turn where appropriate rather than adhering strictly to the “farthest from the hole plays first” rule.
This could be:
  • Shorter hitters playing first off the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait.
  • Knowing your own abilities and how far you can reasonably hit a golf ball so being better aware when it is safe to play.
  • By playing your shot when someone in your group is assessing their tricky shot.
  • Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball.
  • Instead of waiting for a player to walk to the ball they have just chipped over the back of a green, chipping yourself if ready while the other player walks to their ball and assesses their shot.
  • Playing your shot even if a person who has just played from a bunker is still farthest from the hole but is raking the bunker.
  • Being ready to play your shot as soon as the group in front is clear.
There seems to be a lot of common sense practical ideas here we could all adopt very easily, especially the playing out of turn elements.  If we look at this mathematically in terms of time a 3 ball, all shooting the GB&I average of 87, taking 5 seconds a shot less for their round would see them complete it 21 minutes sooner.
Be Aware
We have all done this after becoming so engrossed in our own games.  The R&A stress that it is the duty of all golfers to ‘be aware of their position’ on the golf course.  If your group loses a hole on the group in front it is the responsibility of all your group to make up the time.  If your group cannot keep its position on the course for whatever reason, and is delaying a group or groups behind, you should invite the group behind to play through so that your group can play at the pace it is capable of.  The R&As philosophy on this is pretty sound, stating that “it is likely that the ‘inviting’ group will enjoy its game more without being constantly pressurized by the group behind, and the group that has been allowed to play through will have their enjoyment enhanced”.  Even if a large number of groups are slow it is always considered good etiquette to invite faster golfers through.
The R&A have also included some general things for us to consider that could speed up play, such as:
  • If there is any chance the players played ball might be in an area where it is difficult to find, may be out of bounds play a provisional ball.  It is always quicker to play a provisional than look for, loose a ball and walk back to the tee or last played location.
  • Ensuring your bag or trolley is left between the green and the next tee before putting.
  • Marking cards while walking to or being on the tee.
  • No one likes being told but if you are told by numerous people you are a slow player then perhaps you are?  Taking some of the posted points on board or even asking your playing partners why they think you are slow could improve your pace and perhaps help you feel less pressurized from Golfers behind.
  • Taking your shots then chatting with your playing partners as you all walk to your bags or towards your balls.

It is clear from these suggestions and the manual as a whole that the R&A are not asking players to run around the course and complete rounds as fast as they can.  Far from it the R&A guidelines are good practice suggestions that can easily be implemented and taken on board by all golfers regardless of age, sex, ability, size of group, or difficulty of course.  We as golfers have a responsibility to ourselves as well as everyone else on the course to ensure that our great game is enjoyed equally and etiquettely by all.

You can view the manual Here


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