The R&A - Working for Golf

Player Behaviour

Very few golfers would admit to being slow players but we can all do our bit to play a little bit faster. 

  • Play from tees that are commensurate with your ability.
  • Be aware of your position on the course. You should always play at a good pace and keep up with the group ahead.
  • Follow any pace of play guidelines that the Committee has put in place.

Top Tips for Players

  • Be ready to play
  • Play promptly when it is your turn
  • Keep up with the group in front
  • Invite the group behind to play through if you are delaying them
  • Play a provisional ball if you think your ball is lost
  • Leave the putting green quickly when play has been completed
  • Speed up your exit from the green by positioning your bags on the way to the next tee

Be Ready to Play

You should be ready to play as soon as it is your turn. While you are waiting, use your time wisely to prepare so that when it is your turn you are ready to play. Here are four things you can do to make sure you are ready to play:

  • Put your glove on and check your yardage.
  • Assess the wind strength and direction.
  • Decide on the type of shot that you are going to play.
  • Select your club.

When it is your turn to play, play promptly. Consider your pre-shot routine; saving even a few seconds will make a difference.

  • Decide on the shot and execute it.
  • You only need one practice swing.
  • You do not need to waggle the club back and forth and round about again and again.

Keep up with the Group in Front

It is a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If they lose a clear hole and delay the group behind, they should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group. Where a group has not lost a clear hole, but it is apparent that the group behind can play faster, they should also invite the faster moving group to overtake them.

  • Do not worry about the group behind – keep up with the group in front.
  • If you feel that your group is falling behind take responsibility and bring this to the attention of the other players in your group.
  • React positively to the situation.
  • If your group is behind there is no need to run but try to catch up quickly.
  • Invite the group behind you to play through if you are delaying them.

Lost Ball

If you think your ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, play a provisional ball. 

Players searching for a ball should signal the players in the group behind them to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found. They shouldn't search for five minutes before doing so. Having allowed the group behind to play through, they shouldn't continue play until the group coming through has passed and is out of range.

At the Putting Green

When on or near the putting green, leave your bags or carts just off the green on the way to the next tee. When the play of a hole has been completed, leave the putting green quickly.


  • Assess your line, repair pitch-marks on the green and remove loose impediments while others are playing.
  • Move off the green as soon as all players in your group have holed out.
  • Mark score cards on the way to or at the next tee.


  • It is not necessary to look at your line from every angle.
  • You do not need to have an alignment mark on your golf ball and ensure that it is perfectly aligned to the hole before every putt.