Those involved in the game of golf may have differing views on what constitutes an acceptable pace of play, but there is no doubt that slow play can detract from the enjoyment of the game for many golfers.
However there are solutions available that can improve the situation which are being encouraged by the R & A. One of these is ‘Ready Golf’.
‘Ready Golf’ is a term used to indicate that golfers should play when they are ready to do so, rather than strictly adhere to ‘the farthest from the hole plays first’ stipulation.
“Ready golf” is not appropriate in match play due to the strategy involved between opponents and the need to have a set method for determining which player plays first. However, it is permissible in stroke play formats, and there is strong evidence to suggest that playing “ready golf” does improve the pace of play.
Examples of ‘Ready Golf’ include:
1 Hitting a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options.
2 Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait.
3 Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play.
4 Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball.
5 Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line.
6 Hitting a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker.
7 When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole but chipping from the front of the green should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot.
8 Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off.
Cheryl Ball – Competitions Secretary