Speed Of Play – Your Obligations

Half Moon Bay Golf Club can be a very busy course, so it is important that every player does their part to ensure they keep up with the group in front, and that you don’t hold up play for all the players who follow you.

While some of the following pointers might seem trivial, it’s worth noting that a small effort from everyone can have a big impact on the pace of play for everyone on the course:

If each player in an average 4-Ball was to save just 5 seconds off every shot…
Just by following the common-sense tips below
Over an 18-hole round that would save…
4 players x 90 shots x 5 seconds = 1800 seconds…
Which would shave 30 minutes of the round!

Don’t Be The Group That Everyone Hates Being Caught Behind…

Always Keep Up With The Group In Front

The group behind you is irrelevant… and even if they have dropped off a bit, chances are they will catch up, so it’s not an excuse to slow down. Your job is to stay up with the group in front regardless of what’s going on behind you.

If In Doubt, Hit A Provisional Ball

If you have any concerns that a ball might be hard to find… ie. if your playing partners say “that should be OK…” … don’t risk it, just hit a provisional ball. This is especially important in Stroke rounds!

Don’t Wait To Call Up The Group Behind

As soon as you suspect it’s going to be hard to find your ball, call up the group behind provided it is safe to do so. If you search for it first and don’t find it, you’re just making the delay even worse.

Move Away From The Green Quickly

Leave carts and buggies on the exit side of the green so you’re not walking back towards the group behind after you hole out. When you have holed out, move quickly away from the green and do not stop to mark your cards. You can do that at the next tee. If you’re falling behind, the first two players to hole-out can move to the next tee straightaway and hit off to make up some time.

Someone Should Always Hit Off Immediately

If the fairway is clear, someone should hit off as soon as you arrive at the next tee. If everyone marks their cards first, you are going to waste a minute or more on every hole… which can add 20-40 minutes to your round!

Play Ready Golf AND Be Ready To Play

This is now standard practice at most golf courses and can have a major impact on the speed of play.

Play Ready Golf

Ready Golf is all about taking a shot when you can do so without impacting on your playing partners or putting anyone at risk.

  • Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play
  • 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
  • Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait
  • Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball
  • Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line
  • 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
  • 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 walking to their ball and assessing their shot
  • Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off

Be Ready To Play!

Being ready to play is about being prepared to play your shot as soon as it’s your turn. While taking care not to distract other players or compromise safety, you should do the following while waiting for others to play:

  • Walk efficiently to your ball, putting their glove on in the process
  • Assess the shot, including any calculation of distance, wind etc
  • Make a decision on club selection
  • This includes reading the green and lining up the putt…
  • So that you’re ready to take your shot as soon as it’s your turn.

The new R&A rules suggest you take no more than 40 seconds over any single shot, but if you practice Ready To Play golf, you shouldn’t need anywhere near that long.

If you have a long or elaborate pre-shot routine, it is especially important that you get to your ball and complete it quickly and efficiently to stay within that time limit.

Considerable time will be saved during the course of a round if players do these things efficiently and non-intrusively while others are playing. A lot of frustration comes when a player stands by their ball watching others in the group playing, and only when it is their turn do they begin to prepare for the shot.

This is particularly common with cart users, who’ll sit in the cart and wait for the other player, rather than walk a short distance to their own ball and start their own pre-shot routine.

Always remember…

Just 5 seconds per shot can save you…
And all those players following you…
Up to 30 minutes per round!