Ready GolfPublished on 9th December 2019 in Local News
We all know what Ready Golf is, don’t we? It means playing our shots when we’re ready.
Ready Golf means THINKING AHEAD so that you’re READY TO PLAY when it is YOUR TURN. Ready Golf applies EVERYWHERE on the golf course — on the tees, on the fairways and on the greens.
On the Tee
Ready Golf, we often hear, means that the person who is ready at the tee should hit first. That is simply not true. Ready Golf means that the player with the honours should be READY to HIT FIRST. If the player with the honours isn’t ready, only then should someone else hit first.
On the Fairway
Golfers are typically at their worst AFTER they have hit their tee shots. How often do you see players watch other players hit first, and start thinking about their shot only when it’s their turn? How often do you see drivers of carts wait for their partners to hit before driving to their own balls? How many times do you see four golfers walk to the player’s ball that is farthest from the hole and wait for that player to hit, then move down the fairway to the other balls as if they were a caravan? Ready Golf means that ALL golfers should go to their balls as soon as possible and get READY to play their shots. While waiting to hit, PLAYERS should SURVEY their shot, SELECT their clubs, TAKE them from their bags, and STAND at their balls READY to step up and make the shot when it is their turn.
That’s Ready Golf! Ready Golf particularly means that the DRIVERS of carts should DROP OFF their partners, let them CHOOSE their clubs (take extra ones if required), DRIVE to their own balls, and then get READY to play. DRIVERS should NOT wait for their partners to hit the shot, and then drive to their own balls to make their shots. All players should GO TO THEIR BALLS as soon as possible. The only time players should wait for other players is if the first player’s ball is in front of the other players’ in such a way that the other players could be hit by the first player’s shot. In particular, a CARAVAN of players should NEVER CONVERGE unless their balls are all in the same location. The only time players should stop in a group and wait for a player to hit is if the line of flight of that player’s shot prevents the other players from going to their own balls. Hint: Walk down the sides of the fairway to reach your ball, determine your club selection while waiting, and then move towards the centre to your ball. You can usually get close to your ball and get ready to play the shot, while players behind you can still make their shots.
Helping to Find Lost Balls
It is important that everyone try to help out to find a lost ball in order to keep play moving. But players should do it AFTER hitting their shots, not BEFORE. How often do you see three or four players searching for a lost ball, while NONE of them are getting ready to hit? Use common sense. The player who is closest to the pin and scheduled to hit last should be the first to help the player whose ball is lost, while the players who are farthest away from the pin should PLAY THEIR SHOTS FIRST. When the players farthest away have played their shots, they should resume looking for the lost ball, while the players who are closest should get ready to PLAY THEIR SHOTS. In this way, slow play is not compounded because of a lost ball.
Entering and Exiting Greens
How many times do you see players leave their clubs in front of a Green? When the players finish, they then walk to the front to get their clubs. ALWAYS, and we mean ALWAYS, leave clubs at the back or side of the Green closest to the next tee. If a shot is played in front of the Green first, the player should move his or her clubs to the back or side of the Green before playing the next shot. NOTHING is MORE ANNOYING than watching players walk to the FRONT of a Green to retrieve their clubs AFTER everyone has putted out. AND don’t stand around chatting and writing down scores either. After the group has putted, go to the next tee, so the group behind can play their shots.
Speeding Play on The Greens
Emulating the pros around the putting green has done more to slow down golf than any other single event. How often do you see players waiting until it is their turn to play, and then walking around the putt as though they were putting to win a green jacket at the Master’s? Playing Ready Golf around the Greens means getting READY to putt BEFORE it is your turn! Players should line up their putts WHILE other players are putting, so they’re ready to putt when it’s their turn. Ready Golf also means putting CONTINUOUSLY if the ball is not in someone else’s line, and if the player does not have to spend a lot of time surveying the putt. If you miss a putt by one or two feet, for example, and have an open stance to make the next putt, you should MAKE the putt INSTEAD of MARKING the ball and waiting for another turn — unless it is a tricky putt and you want extra time to survey it. In that case, mark the ball and survey the putt while someone else putts. When it is your turn, walk up to the ball, take your stance and make your putt. While there are no time rules associated with putting, a rule of thumb is to get off your putt within 20 seconds from when it is your turn. This means you should be able to approach the ball, take your stance and make your putt within 20 seconds. Obviously, you can only do this if you SURVEY the putt WHILE other players are putting. When you putt, you should always take your time, so you make a smooth, unhurried stroke. Ready Golf DOES NOT mean RUSHING. If you prepare in advance to putt, you can take your time AND play Ready Golf.
Farthest from The Hole
There is no reason Ready Golfers can’t play in the order of who is farthest from the hole. In Ready Golf, the person farthest from the hole should be READY to play first. There are, however, a few common-sense exceptions. In a foursome in which one or two players are walking and one or two are using carts, the players with the carts should hit FIRST if they reach their ball first and are Ready to play. When someone hits a shot, but is still farthest from the hole, players should hit BEFORE that player if they are Ready. Here are two examples. If a player hits a tree or some obstruction with a second shot and is still farthest from the hole, the players closer to the hole should hit first to speed up play. If someone is off the Green in a sand trap and hits it furthest from the hole, the other players should not wait for that player to walk around the green to play the next shot. Play should continue until that player is READY to make the next shot. In fact, NOTHING is more DISCONCERTING than watching three players on the green WAITING while the fourth player cleans up the sand, walks to the ball, surveys the putt and then plays.
Ready Golf means BEING READY to play, not playing when you’re ready. Here are some simple rules.
- Walk to your ball as soon as possible, so that you can choose your club and think about the shot in ADVANCE, not when it is your turn.
- When driving a cart, drop off your partner first, let your partner choose his or her club, and then drive to your own ball to get READY to play.
- When a ball is lost, hit your shot FIRST and then help look for the lost ball.
- Walk down the SIDES of the fairway to reach your ball and then APPROACH it from the centre. NEVER play in a caravan, moving in a group from ball to ball.
- When on the Green, line up your putt BEFORE it is your turn, and putt out immediately instead of marking, if you are not in someone else’s line.
The R&A’s advice on ready golf is as follows –
“Ready golf” is not appropriate in match play due to the strategy involved between opponents and the need to have a set method for determining which player plays first. However, in stroke play formats it is only the act of agreeing to play out of turn to give one of the players an advantage that is prohibited. On this basis, it is permissible for administrators to encourage “ready golf” in stroke play, and there is strong evidence to suggest that playing “ready golf” does improve the pace of play. For example, in a survey of Australian golf clubs conducted by Golf Australia, 94% of clubs that had promoted “ready golf” to their members enjoyed some degree of success in improving pace of play, with 25% stating that they had achieved ‘satisfying success’.
When “ready golf” is being encouraged, players have to act sensibly to ensure that playing out of turn does not endanger other players.
“Ready golf” should not be confused with being ready to play, which is covered in the Player Behaviour section of this Manual.
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
- Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off