The folks over in the Royal & Ancient’s clubhouse in St Andrews seem to have hit a bit of a roll in the first half of 2017.
First came the draft proposals for the 2019 rules update, many of which appear to have received widespread approval from golfers.
Next up came the announcement that Ready Golf – a set of guidelines to improve the pace of play in strokeplay events – has been implemented into all R&A amateur events.
The good bit is that the R&A recognises when it comes to this game, having common sense and actually using it can get lost for five hours every Saturday morning. The R&A’s research shows that people enjoy golf more and are more likely to play, when the game take less time. With that in mid, here are the examples of Ready Golf in action:
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 (though not on it!)
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
Leaving your bag on the route to the next tee rather than having to walk back to it
Simple, easy to follow and such common sense – and it works. In a Golf Australia survey, 94% of clubs that had promoted Ready Golf improved the pace of play, with 25% stating that they had achieved satisfying success.
So, if your club hasn’t already, get the ball rolling on Ready Golf. Put the guidelines up in the clubhouse and get your playing partners to play to them. Maybe then we’ll have to find something else to talk about in the clubhouse rather than how long it has taken us to get there.
*Remember that Ready Golf is not appropriate in matchplay where the payer with the honour, or furthest from the hole, must play first.