How to Balance Pace-of-Play with Golf Etiquette

It might sound like a pipe dream, but you can play well and play quickly at the same time. You can even do all this while being respectful of your playing partners and the commonly-accepted etiquette of the game.

By the EWGA

If you have spent any time as a tournament official or volunteer at an amateur or professional golf event, you might begin to recognize common pitfalls that negatively impact pace of play. We can use these lessons to help other women in our golfing community who might struggle with balancing pace-of-play with commonly-accepted golf etiquette.

One of the most frequent pace-of-play challenges any golfer faces is that they don’t want to hold up a group behind them, but they also don’t want to play feeling rushed. This can be recipe for disaster! Quick takeaways and a poor attitude aren’t the foundation of your all-time-best round of golf.

The most common and practical advice we have for addressing this challenge is to play “ready golf”.

When your group is on the teeing ground, make sure you have your glove, golf ball, tees and your club selected so you can hit when it’s your turn. Often in slower groups, the three players who aren’t teeing off will stand to the side – or even sit in the cart – and idly watch the active player tee off instead of preparing for their own shot. As long as you are quiet and respectful of the active player’s line of sight and personal space, you can “get ready” while another player is hitting her shot.

In the fairway, it’s even more common for individuals in a foursome to split up and go to their own ball and prepare to play while other players are hitting. You simply need be aware of safe positioning and the active player’s line of site to avoid disruption. For groups who use golf carts, it’s okay to either walk over to your ball or drop off your cart mate at their ball and then proceed to yours. Groups who notoriously struggle with pace of play will stay and watch the first player’s pre-shot routine and golf shot rather than immediately driving or walking to the next players ball.

While on the putting green, respectful etiquette occurs when the first player to finish the hole walks over and picks up the flagstick, preparing to place it back in the hole as soon your final playing partner holes out. It is perfectly acceptable to walk over to the flagstick and pick it up while player two and three are putting (pro tip: hold the flag against the pole to reduce noise that could distract your playing partners). Once the final player has finished putting, you simply need to replace the flagstick and proceed to the next hole. This allows the other players in your group to move towards the golf cart or next tee box after they’ve finished playing and can help your group move between holes more quickly.

It certainly isn’t rocket science, but if playing “ready golf” saves you group 60 seconds per hole, you’ll finish your entire round nearly 20 minutes faster! That means more time for fun, storytelling and a refreshment once you get back to the clubhouse and before you head home.

The EWGA is an international community of women golfers. With nearly 12,000 members in over 100 local chapters, the EWGA hosts more than 7,500 local and national events every year, including social outings, league play, networking opportunities and competitive amateur events such as the EWGA Championship and EWGA Cup. For more information visit EWGA.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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