The rulemakers of the game (R&A and USGA) have recently suggested that golf clubs around the world adopt “Ready Golf”. What is it ?, why you should embrace it, and other ways you can get around the golf course quicker and easier, making both your own, your playing partners, and others on the course, games more enjoyable!
So what is “Ready Golf” in the eyes of the powers that be ? The name gives us a clue, but really means, even if is not your turn to play, and you are ready to play, then play! (as long as it is safe to do so)
Current rules gives the player who scored lowest on the previous hole the “honour” of going first from the next tee, and after that, the player furthest from the hole has the right to play first.
Please note these rules would not apply to a “Match Play” game, as the strategy involved would not allow it.
Under Ready Golf rules players are encouraged to –
- Hit 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
- Hit a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play
- Hit a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball
- Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line
- Hit 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
These are all sensible suggestions, and personally I have always used these kind of strategies when playing socially, they are all common sense to me! I understand the rules and traditions of the game, but things have to change and develop for the game to progress!
When accompanying golfers around the course (particularly beginners, but not limited to) I tend to see a lack of preparation, and thinking/planning for what lays ahead.Some of these things of course come with experience, and take a while to adopt or learn.One of the issues I see is that more experienced players generally don’t feel they are in a position to inform playing partners that have adopted bad habits on the course, or if they do, it’s done in the moment when they are frustrated, then often get taken the wrong way!
There is no doubt I prefer to be “hands on” and out on the course with people to explain the hows and why’s of my suggestions below, but if just a few of you start to follow my ideas, then you will certainly benefit from them!
The following suggestions will apply to most novices, but please, even if you are an experienced player,read on, you may learn something new, or I may have missed something very relevant!
Before the round begins – Be prepared.
- Mark all of the balls in your bag with a unique mark (initials, face,) so you can easily identify your ball on the course.
- Ensure you have (in your RIGHT HAND pocket- for right hand players) plenty of Tee pegs, at least one ball marker, and a pitch mark repairer, NOTHING else! The reason for the right hand pocket is for easy access.Have you tried getting something out of your left pocket with your glove on ? if you have, you will know what I mean!! For ladies, who may not have pockets, just keep everything needed together, in a place easily accessible.
- Ensure that you have everything ready BEFORE you get to the first tee.
On the course
- From the tee, play in order of hitting distance, shortest to longest.This applies to mixed games as well, allow the ladies in the group to go to their tee, and play, if it is safe to do so, then ladies, move to the side so you are safe before the men play.This of course would not apply if any of the ladies outdrive the men!
- Please learn how far you hit the ball.You should wait until the fairway/green is clear before playing, but when was the last time your driver went over 300 yards? or 5 iron carried 230 yards in the air? If you have hit your tee shot 120 yards, you won’t have to wait for the green to clear 280 yards away!
- PAY ATTENTION to where ALL of the balls in your group are hit to ! Please, please,please, forget about the tee peg, and concentrate on the BALL.Tees cost cents, balls cost euros! (or pounds and pence as I know it !)
- Mark the spot in your mind where you think the balls went, then head to your ball (without walking ahead of partners balls unless it is safe to do so) Play your shot, then head over to help look for any lost balls.
- Think about your next shot before you arrive at the ball.Club selection, intended direction etc can be planned before you get there.Once you arrive, you can check the lie, adjust club if needed, then aim and fire!
- Leave your bag/trolley/buggy at a point closest to where you will exit towards the next tee, once the hole is completed, you can move swiftly on without delay.
On and around the green
- If you take other club/s with you to chip or escape from a bunker, along with your putter, please only leave them in one place, ON THE FLAGSTICK.That way, if you forget, whoever puts the flag back in will pick it up.No more lost clubs, no more running back to the previous green in a panic!
- When you are playing social golf, agree at the start that all putts inside 12-18 inches will be “given” especially if it is your 7th or 8th shot! Pick your ball up, add a shot, and let the next player putt out.
There are no doubt other pointers than could be suggested, but if you at least adopt the ideas here, it should ensure that you and your playing partners will have a more enjoyable game. If I have missed anything out, please get in touch.Your feedback is always welcome!
Mario Luca PGA
Golf City Sports