Pace of Play

If you’re reading this, it’s probably to figure out how to speed up someone else who’s slow. We all think of ourselves as fast golfers, and the slow player is someone else. But please take an honest look at your habits. If you are consistently in a group that’s fallen behind, or you are always the last one to tee off, or the last to reach your ball, slow play may have crept into your game, and you can benefit from the suggestions below.
 It's important to note that these tips have nothing to do with rushing your play, but rather with simply being ready to play, and with using common sense and good etiquette on the course. And we all want to have good manners!


If you read no further, at least heed this general rule:

Be ready to play when it’s your turn!


Here are some tips for speeding up your play:

Walk directly to your ball, ever mindful of the line of fire. Members of your group should not travel together as a pack.

When two players are riding in a cart, drive the cart to the first ball and drop off the first player with her choice of clubs. The second player should proceed in the cart to her ball. After the first player hits her stroke, she should begin walking toward the cart as the second golfer is playing.

Use the time you spend getting to your ball to think about the next shot—the yardage, the club selection. You’ll need less time to figure out the shot when you reach your ball.

Hit a provisional ball immediately if your ball may be lost or you are unsure whether it has come to rest out of bounds.

Begin reading the green and lining up putts as soon as you reach the green. Don't wait until it's your turn to putt!

Never delay making a stroke because you're having a conversation with a playing partner. Put the conversation on hold, make your stroke, then pick up the conversation again. If you’re talking to someone about to play, stop until they make their stroke.

• Take more than one club from the cart to your ball. Getting to the ball only to find out you don't have the right club is a huge time-waster on the golf course.

After putting out, move to the next tee. Don't stand around the green chatting or practice putting unless you are sure no one is behind you, and you are immediately behind the group in front of you.

Mark your scorecard after reaching the next tee.

Never leave your cart, push cart or bag in front of the green. Leave it to the side or behind the green.

Don’t offer tips on the golf course. That’s better done on the driving range, or only when you're sure that you're not slowing down play, or left to professionals . . . .

On the tee, pay attention to your partners' drives. If they lose sight of their ball, you can help direct them to it and avoid any searching.

When waiting on the tee for the group in front to clear the fairway, the shortest hitters should go first, when the group ahead has moved out of their range.

Work on building a concise pre-shot routine. If your pre-shot routine is a lengthy one, shorten it. Limit practice strokes to one or two at the most.

• Don't bother marking putts. Go ahead and putt out if it's short. Continuous putting saves a lot of time.

Don’t take phone calls on the course!

Walk at a good pace between shots. Speeding up your gait a little is both good for your health and it also might help your game by keeping you lose.

Carry extra tees, ball markers and an extra ball in your pockets so you never have to return to your bag to find one when you need it.

When playing around the green, carry both the club you'll be chipping with and your putter so you don't have to return to the bag.

• Play ready golf, where order of play is based on who's ready, not on who's away.

Slow play is usually a condition that a golfer acquires over time, as a player acquires bad habits. Or it's the result of the golfer never having been taught proper golf course etiquette. This means a slow golfer can usually be "cured" of this malady with some attention, and a little help from her friends.