Pace of Play

Introduction

This Pace of Play policy has been adopted to ensure competition rounds are played in an appropriate duration to make golf more enjoyable for everyone, by:

  • Ensuring players keep pace with the group ahead;
  • Establishing 4 hours as the target time for a 4-player group to complete an 18 hole competition round;
  • Introducing, educating and enforcing Ready Golf standards;
  • Highlighting timesaving hints;
  • Monitoring of play and enforcing Rule 6-7.

The Rules of Golf states:
The Committee may establish pace of play guidelines that all players should follow. It is a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front.

The initial objective is very clear ... Keep Pace with the group ahead.

From Rule 6-7. Undue Delay; Slow Play:
The player shall play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines which may be laid down by the Committee.

Target Time – 4 Hours

It is expected that all competition rounds should be completed within 4 hours.  A significant responsibility lies with early groups to ensure they ‘lead’ the field at a suitable pace to achieve the target time. From time to time circumstances may negatively influence the actual time taken; yet all efforts should be made to meet the target time of 4 hours.

Target Interval – 6 Minutes

The starting interval time between groups is typically six (6) minutes.  It is expected that all groups will maintain an interval time of six (6) minutes with the group ahead throughout the round. From time to time circumstances (e.g. Par 3 holes) may cause the interval time to exceed six minutes; yet all efforts should be made to catch up with the group in front.

Ready Golf

From Section 1 of the Rules of Golf:
It is a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group.

Also, if a group is not keeping pace with the group ahead, it is expected that they will adopt Ready Golf until they have ‘caught up’ with the players ahead.

Quite simply, Ready Golf is a common sense approach to play the ball when ready:

  • Dismiss all honours;
  • Don’t wait for others before approaching the tee and hitting;
  • Proceed to your ball as quickly as possible;
  • Play the ball as soon as it is safe to do so.

Some golf rules and etiquette address the order of play and which player has the “honour”. Observance of the honour came about as a show of politeness to one’s playing partners.  But out of politeness to ALL the golfers behind, the slow play problem requires that honours be abandoned if a group does not keep pace with the group ahead.  Each player should play when ready, as long as doing so will not interfere with others, especially on the tee. Shorter hitters can often hit first, especially on the tee.

Monitor & Enforce

Competition players at Redcliffe Golf Club are required to complete the START and FINISH times on their scorecards. These times will be checked and monitored by the Match Committee to identify excessive finishing intervals in the field. Where no member of a group completes the FINISH time, the group will be given a FINISH time of six (6) minutes before the group following them.

Also, from time to time, authorised Match Committee representatives will conduct Pace of Play monitoring. Using a Timesheet and/or Group Monitoring Sheet, the monitors shall observe, calculate and record as much of the following information as possible:

  • Actual tee time.
  • Actual finishing time at the 18th hole.
  • Names of every player observed in each group.
  • Calculate the interval times between each group.
  • Calculate the Actual Round Duration of each group.

It is considered a player’s responsibility to be attentive to their pace of play.  Under no circumstances shall the player approach, confront or abuse the monitor.

Section 1 of the Rules of Golf states:
If a player consistently disregards these guidelines during a round or over a period of time to the detriment of others, it is recommended that the Committee considers taking appropriate disciplinary action against the offending player. Such action may, for example, include prohibiting play for a limited time on the course or in a certain number of competitions. This is considered to be justifiable in terms of protecting the interest of the majority of golfers who wish to play in accordance with these guidelines.

The process for dealing with members that breach Rule 6-7 is as follows:

a) STAGE 1 – LETTER TO REQUEST CO-OPERATION

Each player in any group that finishes 12 minutes or more behind the group ahead will be sent a notice. The notice will request the player’s co-operation to improve their pace of play by being aware of the situation and, if necessary, modifying their behaviour and/or their group’s behaviour.

b) STAGE 2 – REPORT TO COMMITTEE, MONITORING/SUSPENSION

If a player is repeatedly identified to be in “slow” groups, they may be requested to attend a Match Committee meeting to explain their actions. The Match Committee will not impose any penalties until the member has the opportunity to meet with the Match Committee to discuss the issue.

Failure to meet with or contact the Match Committee will result in a penalty automatically being applied. The Stage 2 penalty will be determined by the Match Committee and may include:

  1. For each future infringement, over a further twelve (12) week period, the player will receive a 2 shot penalty (or a loss of hole in Par, or a 2 point deduction in Stableford) in the competition of the day.
  2. The player will not be able to book on the timesheet for two (2) weeks.
  3. The player will be asked to help monitor the Pace of Play for two (2) sessions (approximately 2 hours each) which may help the player experience firsthand the cumulative effect of slow play on the field.
  4. The player is also put on a twelve (12) week probationary period. Two (2) further offences in that time will be penalised in accordance with Stage 3.

c) STAGE 3 – SUBSEQUENT OFFENCES, REPORT TO COMMITTEE - SUSPENSION

If a player is identified in a slow group during the probationary period detailed in Stage 2, and as such is considered to have consistently disregarded the Policy, the player will again be requested to explain to the Match Committee.

The player may be “suspended” from competition play for two (2) or more weeks. At the Match Committee’s discretion, extended suspensions may apply for multiple breaches.

d) IMMEDIATE PENALTY – SEVERE BREACH DURING COMPETITION

As a further deterrent to slow play, any group that is identified as finishing their round 17 minutes or more with appropriate allowances for gaps in the field, etc, behind the group ahead AND with a round duration of over 4 hours, will receive an immediate penalty. The penalty shall be 2 strokes (stroke event), 2 points (stableford) or 1 loss (par) in the competition of the day.

It is worth keeping in mind that 17 minutes is sufficient time to play any par 4 and most par 5 holes at Redcliffe. Hence, the group is considered to be more than one hole behind the group ahead.

The decision of the Match Committee or its authorised representative is final.

Timesaver Hints

Always be ready to hit

  • Proceed directly to your own ball.
  • Plan your shot and select your club when approaching your ball.
  • Only take one (1) practice swing, and prepare yourself while others are hitting.
  • When in doubt, notify your marker and hit a provisional ball.
  • If necessary, encourage your playing partners to maintain a good pace of play.
  • Know the Rules of Golf, including those about out of bounds, water hazards & lost balls.

Don’t waste time

  • Even if starting after a gap in the field, your group must catch the group in front.
  • Never record scores on or near the green. Count strokes and write scores at the next tee.
  • Don’t leave a cart/bag in front of the green. Leave it to the side towards the next tee.
  • Carry extra tees, balls and ball markers in your pocket.
  • If safe to do so, encourage players on incorrect fairways to play through.
  • Quickly purchase food/drink. If out of position, do not stop for a conversation.
  • Do not give lessons/instruction on the course. Reserve that for a practice session.

On the tee

  • The first player ready to hit should do so as soon as it is safe.
  • Encourage your playing partners to tee off as soon as they are ready.
  • Other players should wait right next to the tee markers.
  • All players should watch other shots to help pinpoint the position of the ball.
  • After hitting, each player should return to their clubs and be ready to proceed to their ball.

On the green

  • Park clubs/cart beside the green in line with the next tee.
  • Study the line, slope, grain, etc before it is your turn.
  • Encourage your playing partners to putt, if they are ready to do so.
  • Follow continuous putting rules until holed out, unless restricted by another player’s line.
  • When the first player is finished putting, they should proceed to the next tee (without disturbing the other players yet to putt).  There is no point three people standing around doing nothing when the group needs to catch up.