Pace of Play

Ready to Play

One of the biggest factors relating to slow players in is that competitors are not ready to play when it was their turn. Being ready to play should be very easy. While taking care not to distract other players or compromise safety, all that is required is that a player should do the following while waiting for others to play:


  • •  Walk with a purpose and efficiently to the ball putting your glove on in the process.
  • •  Assess the shot, including any calculation of distance the player wants to make, or line up the putt, and if possible while other members of the group play.
  • •  Make a decision on club selection promptly and if possible while other members of the group play.  
  • •  When players are approaching the green, golf bags or carts should be positioned to allow for quick and efficient movement off the green towards the next tee.
  • •  The marking of score cards should not be done at the green if this may delay play of the group behind. Mark score cards on the way to or at the next tee. That said, the player who is first to play from the next tee should play first and then mark the card.
  • •  Players should play a provisional ball ball if their ball might be in danger of being lost, other than when it is clearly in a water hazard.
  • •  Watching the flight of the ball can significantly reduce the chance of a lost ball if all players in a group make a conscious effort to watch each other’s shots and their own shots as carefully and as often as possible.

Considerable time will be saved during the course of a round if players do the above efficiently and non-intrusively while others are playing. The frustration comes when a player stands by their ball watching others in the group playing, and only when it is their turn do they begin to prepare for the shot. Golf Victoria expects all players to be ready to play using the above guidelines when it is their turn to play. 


“Ready Golf”

“Ready golf” is a commonly used term which indicates that players should play when they are ready to do so, rather than adhering strictly to the “farthest from the hole plays first” stipulation in the Rules of Golf.

“Ready golf” is not appropriate in match play but is encourage by Golf Victoria in all other events, including stroke play. When “ready golf” is being encouraged, players have to act sensibly to ensure that playing out of turn does not endanger other players.

The term “ready golf” has been adopted by many as a catch-all phrase for a number of actions that separately and collectively can improve pace of play. There is no official definition of the term, but examples of “ready golf” in action are:


  • •  Hitting a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options.
  • •  Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait.
  • •  Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play.
  • •  Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball.
  • •  Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line.
  • •  Hitting a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker.
  • •  When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole but chipping from the front of the green should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot.

Similar to the Ready to Play guidelines, considerable time will be saved during the course of a round if players implement ‘Ready Golf’ procedures and Golf Victoria encourages this behaviour whenever possible.  

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