Tips for speeding up play

None of us like to be stuck waiting behind a slow four-ball, turning what might be an enjoyable round into a 5 hour marathon. Just as bad is being in that four-ball and holding everyone up. Here are some simple tips that when followed should speed up your play.

Before we run down a list of suggestions for speeding up play, it’s important to note that many of 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.

The bottom line is, be ready to hit when it’s your turn to play!

  • After teeing off, walk directly to your ball. Members of the group should not travel together as a pack, walking first to one member’s ball, then to the next. Each member of the foursome should walk directly to his or her ball.
  • Use the time you spend getting to your ball to think about the next shot – the yardage, the club selection. When you reach your ball you’ll need less time to figure out the shot.
  • If you are unsure whether your ball has come to rest out of bounds, or may be lost, immediately hit a provisional ball so that you won’t have to return to the spot to replay the shot.
  • 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 to start the process of reading the green. Do it as soon as you reach the green so that when it’s your turn you can step right up and 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.
  • Walk faster between shots.
  • Don’t mark your card on the green, wait until the next tee (unless you have the honour in which case play first then score).

The EGS plays “Ready Golf”

What is “Ready Golf”? Simply put, hit when ready. The Rules of Golf and golf etiquette prescribe the proper way to determine hitting order on a golf course. On the tee, honors; everywhere else, away hits first.

But ready golf allows the golfers within a group to take their swings when each member of the group is ready to play. If you reach your ball and are ready to hit, while other members of your group are not yet prepared, then go ahead and hit.

Ready golf is a good way to speed up play. Keep in mind that while there are no penalties under the Rules for violating order of play, it is normally considered poor etiquette to do so. Therefore, on the first tee make sure everyone in the group is aware that you’ll be playing ready golf.

How long should a round take?

Generally speaking, a round of golf should take no more than:

  • 2½ hours for a 2-ball
  • 3¼ hours for a 3-ball
  • 4 hours for a 4-ball

Sound difficult? Then consider this. Douglas Bader, WWII fighter pilot, lost both his legs in a flying accident in 1931. As part of his recuperation, the doctors suggested he take up golf both to help his fitness and to get used to his new artificial legs. In only a short amount of time he got his handicap down to a respectable 12. Impressive enough. Even more impressive was that he generally got around 18 holes in just 2 hours. If Douglas Bader can do it with no legs, then you’ve got no excuses!