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Golf - Pace of Play Tips

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A typical round of golf should take between four to four and a half hours to play. These times will however vary depending on your skill level and the layout of the golf course.

It has been proven that scores are lower when the pace of play is faster. Having to wait for players in front of you, leads to frustration, a loss of concentration and enjoyment of your round.

Even players on the PGA tour are having issues with the speed of play. In recent weeks several players have been penalized for their slow play. Even though there is much more on the line for many of these playing professionals, there is no excuse for a five and a half to six hour round.

To ensure that the speed of play is maintained, many courses employ the use of marshal’s to monitor how long it takes for each group to play 18 holes. Although having a marshal in place does help, the onus still falls on the player to keep the pace of play within course timelines.

This spring, I have put together some tips that will help maintain your pace of play this season.

The first thing that all golfers should do is always play “ready golf”. This means that instead of playing under the traditional honor system, that you simply hit when you are ready. To play ready golf all players in the foursome must communicate with each other as they play each shot on the hole. If you are not ready to hit and another player in your group is, then simply tell them to play their shot first.

You know that your group is playing at a good rate of speed when you can always see the group in front of you. Your pace is too slow when there is an open hole between your group and the group in front of you.

To ensure that every round of golf is enjoyable, played at an even pace and fun for all simply follow these tips:

1. Arrive at the course at least 15 minutes prior to your tee off time, to help prevent delays.
2. Play the proper tees. Remember that the “tips” are for players with handicaps between 0 & 6.
3. Keep your cell phones off during your round of golf!
4. Practice Swings- Keep them to a minimum. Two practice swings are enough to prepare you for each shot.
5. Always mark your scores on the next tee and never on the green.
6. Position your clubs and power carts behind the green, towards the next tee before you putt.
7. Hit a provisional ball, when in doubt from the tee to prevent delays.
8. Waive up players on par three holes to keep the pace of play moving.

With a little bit of common sense and consideration you will help to make not only yours, but somebody else’s round not only faster, but more enjoyable.


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Cameron Burechails
Teaching Professional
The Georgian Bay Golf Academy