Appendix G: Pace of Play Condition (Rule 6-7)
Pace of Play Condition (Rule 6-7)
The following information supplements the Pace of Play condition (See No. 7 in Appendix C):
The maximum time allotted for the completion of 18 holes during the 1st and 2nd rounds of the Championship, when play is in groups of three is 4 hours 26 minutes. On the last two days of the Championship, when play is in two-balls, the maximum time allowed is 3 hours 45 minutes.
Each hole has been given a maximum completion time based upon the length and difficulty of the hole, as detailed on the chart overleaf.
Definition of Out of Position
The 1st group and, in rounds one and two, the 27th group to start will be considered ‘out of position’ if, at any time during the round, the group’s cumulative time exceeds the time allowed for the number of holes played.
Any following ground will be considered ‘out of position’ if it is more than the starting interval behind the group in front and has exceeded the time allowed for the number of holes played.
Procedure When Group is Out of Position
It is the primary duty of the rovers to monitor pace of play and make a decision whether a group that is ‘out of position’ should be timed. The rovers will keep in touch with the walking rules officials where appropriate and will need to be advised of any recent mitigating circumstances, e.g. a lengthy ruling, lost ball, unplayable ball, etc. However, if a rover has not been in touch and a walking rules official believes his group to be more than 2 minutes out of position he should call for a rover.
If a decision is taken to time the players, each player in the group will be subject to individual timing by the rover, and the walking rules official will advise each player that they are ‘out of position’ and they are being timed.
Thereafter, the time provisions outlined on the R&A hard card will apply.
Pace of Play Condition for General Play
It is understandable that clubs, public courses, resorts and competition organisers may have differing views on what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable pace of play. However, it is a fact that slow play detracts from the enjoyment of the game for many golfers, and few golfers are heard to complain about play being too quick.
At all levels of the game, therefore, there is a responsibility on players and administrators to ensure that golf is played at a good pace, and a pace that is appropriate to the course being played. Factors that may influence what is considered to be an appropriate pace may be the severity of the course, the distances between greens and tees, the climate and also the range of ability of the players on the course.
In addition, it is necessary to make some distinction between golf played as a leisure pursuit and golf that is played at the highest levels, where certain allowances have to be made for the fact that those playing at the highest levels are doing so as their occupation. At the elite level, generally there will be officials on the course who can monitor pace of play and implement a strict policy which involves groups having to keep to a hole-by-hole schedule and being subject to timing of individual strokes with the threat of penalties if they fail to keep to the schedule. It is not realistic for such policies to be adopted for “normal” play and, therefore, administrators need to rely on good practices and player co-operation to ensure reasonable round times.
In this respect, it is important for administrators to set targets for round times. As stated above, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model for round times, but it is important that the targets are achievable without being too soft.
As a guide, generally two-ball rounds should take no more than 3 hours 10 minutes; three-balls should take no more than 3 hours 30 minutes, and four-balls no more than 3 hours 50 minutes. In fact, shorter round times than these should be the aim of all players, where appropriate. However, as already mentioned, it is also appreciated that factors such as course design and heat may necessitate longer round time targets and administrators should be mindful of this.
If slow play has become an issue at your club, course or resort then strong and decisive action should be taken to alleviate the problem.
Things that administrators can do to help to minimise round times:
- Do not overload the course by using short starting intervals. When play is in two-balls, at least 8 minutes should be allowed between groups and in three or four balls, at least 10 minutes should be given.
- If possible, incorporate starter’s gaps throughout the course of the day to allow for clearance of any delays that have arisen.
- Encourage players to play from tees that suit their ability and ask the starter to guide the players in this respect before the round.
- The rough for daily play should be of such a length so as to avoid numerous lost balls.
- Hole locations for daily play should not be too severe and neither should the green speeds.
- Advise players of the time that should be taken to play the course and remind the players of their responsibilities with regards to pace of play, i.e. keep up with the group in front and allow quicker groups to pass through.
Things that players can do to help to minimise round times:
- Be aware of your position with regard to the group in front.
- Do not concern yourself with the group behind; the fact that you are not holding them up is irrelevant as it is your group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front.
- If you feel that your group is falling behind, advise the other players in your group.
- If your group is behind, try to catch up quickly.
- If you lose a clear hole and are delaying the group behind, or if there is no group in front of you and you are delaying the group behind, invite the group behind to play through.
- Do not wait until it is your turn to play before putting your glove on.
- Do not wait until it is your turn to play before calculating your yardage and selecting your club.
- Look at your own line of putt while the other players in the group look at theirs (within the bounds of normal etiquette).
- At the green, position your bags so as to allow quick movement off the green to the next tee.
- Move off the green as soon as all players in your group have holed out; mark score cards at or on the way to the next tee.
- Play a provisional ball if your ball may be lost outside a hazard or out of bounds.
- If you keep up with the group in front, you cannot be accused of slow play.