Guidelines on Pace of Play and Ready golf circulated on 15th July 2019 by Men's Captain, Graham Norris

Pace of Play

  • For some time, Members and the Committee have been concerned about the pace of both competitive and general play at the Club.

  • Very few golfers would admit to being slow players but we can all do our bit to play a little faster. Slow play can detract from the enjoyment of golf for many players at any level. Few golfers are heard to complain about play being too quick!

  • Did you know that if each player in a four-ball takes 5 seconds less to play each shot, the round time can be improved by over 25 minutes?

  • Play has been monitored and a number of steps have been agreed to improve playing rates in both Competitive and General play. The responsibility falls on both the Club and Players to make sure a sensible pace of play is achieved.

  • The Committee has conducted a study into the amount of time a 3-ball should take and concluded that a round should take no longer than a maximum of 4 hours (The R&A guideline is that 3-balls should take no more than 3 hours 30 minutes).

  • So in an effort to try and improve Pace of Play the following will be introduced:

  • Going forward Players will be required, in ALL qualifying competitions, to record the time that they leave the 18th Green on their cards as well as their starting time. It is recognised that the current cards do not show a finish time BUT members will be required to show their finish times in ALL competitions somewhere on the card.

  • To introduce a process to monitor Pace of Play the following procedure will be introduce starting with the Wednesday Roll on July 24th 2019 and after a period this may be extended to Medals and Stablefords.

  • At SIGN IN the starter for the day will issue cards with the START TIME and TARGET FINISH TIME shown – the issued card can then be used in the shop to pay green fees and to have the card endorsed with the start time. The ACTUAL FINISHING TIME must be recorded on the card below the TARGET FINISH TIME before the signed card is place in the Competition Box.

  • The starter will ask one of the players to be responsible for his/her group’s timekeeping to maintain pace of play and will issue ‘waypoint’ times that will assist in keeping good time.

Club Policy Based on R&A and England Golf guidelines:
  • The following timings are considered to be a reasonable amount of time to complete a round of golf at Hoebridge Golf Club including a stop at the Halfway Hut for refreshments:
  1.           2ball- 3 hours 30 minutes
  2.           4ball- 3 hours 45minutes
  • The Committee will continue to monitor the pace of play, and will revise this policy if necessary and penalties may be imposed on individuals.
Pace of Play Guidelines – Hoebridge Golf Club (Ready Golf)
  • Ready Golf doesn't mean rushing. It just means better management of your and your group’s time between shots. If you prepare in advance, you can take your time and play Ready Golf.

  • At its core is the principle that each player within a group hits their shot or takes their putt as soon as they are ready and it is safe to do so.
3 hours 45minutes should be the target to complete a competitive 3/4-ball round.

  • These guidelines are to remind every player what they can do to reduce their round time:
    • If you keep up with the game in front, you cannot be accused of slow play.

    • Tee off and/or hit your shot as soon as the group ahead or the Green is clear. If necessary, allow shorter hitters to go first.
    • In medal or stableford competitions, the player who is ready (not necessarily the one with the honour or the player who is furthest away) should hit, if it is safe to do so. This does not apply to Matchplay.

    • Walk to your ball as soon as possible, so that you can choose your club and think about the shot in advance, do not wait until it’s your turn to begin this process.

    • Don't "cluster" at one ball. Walk down the sides of the fairway if it’s safe to do so to reach your ball ensuring you keep an eye on anyone who is playing their ball first and you are not acting as a distraction, and then approach it from the side.

    • Be ready to play your shot/putt. While exercising due consideration for other players in your group, put your glove on, check your yardage, pick your club or line up your putt while others are playing.

    • Let the others know that you are hitting, then play your shot without delay. You should take no more than 45 seconds to play your shot when arriving at your ball

    • Try to watch your playing partners ball if it looks to be errant and make a mental note of any course features close to where the ball has landed.

    • Always play a provisional ball if you believe your ball may be lost outside of a water hazard or out of bounds.

    • When a ball is lost, go to your ball and hit your shot first and then go help look for the lost ball.

    • You must limit your search for a lost ball to 3 minutes (the new rule from 1stJanuary 2019) from the moment you arrive at the place where you think the ball might be located.

    • Study your putt while others are putting and if you are not on someone else's line continue putting until holed out.

    • If you can’t score in stableford or betterball competition, pick your ball up

    • When approaching the green, speed up your exit by positioning your bags on the way to the next tee.

    • Move off the putting green as soon as your group has putted out; mark the scorecard at or on the way to the next tee.

    • Be aware of your position with regard to the group in front and keep up with that group.

    If you feel that your group is losing ground, tell the other players in your group and try to catch up. If you lose ground and are delaying the group behind, or if there is no group in front and you are delaying the group behind, you must invite the group behind to play through.
Slow Play and Allowing players to play through - Guidelines
  • It is generally recognised that we are very bad at letting people through. This is no doubt one reason for slow play – a particular malaise at Hoebridge. One of the problems of playing through is that it is at the discretion of the offenders, the slow group, and therefore often doesn’t happen, leading to frustration and anger in the group(s) behind.

  • Good manners and respect for the group behind should dictate the policy of letting a group play through.

  • The following is Hoebridge Club policy:

    If a group has one hole clear ahead of it, and has held up the group behind it for two consecutive holes then, upon request, it must step aside immediately to allow the trailing group to play through. In playing through both groups must remember that safety is paramount, and act accordingly.”

    Besides the obvious advantage of allowing the faster players to get on with their game, the slower players have a real incentive to speed up their game, otherwise they are likely to have to step aside once or twice per round.

    We are here to enjoy ourselves and make it enjoyable for others in playing the game we all love; some attention to pace of play will go a long way to improving this experience.

    Graham Norris
    July 2019

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