Golf Basics – Pace of Play: Quick Golf Tips for a quicker round

Quick Golf Tips for a Quicker Golf Round


Slow play is one of the most frustrating aspects of golf. Here are some ways that you can speed up your pace of play, and make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Remember “The ABCs” of Pace of Play

To help ensure your group has a quick 18, always follow the ABCs throughout your round:

  • Be ALERT: continually pay attention to the position of your group, the group ahead, and the group behind. (…and aim to keep up with the group ahead, and NOT just ahead of the group behind)
  • Be BUSY: Don’t just stand there. Always be doing something. (Whether choosing a club, or preparing to hit, etc.)
  • Be COURTEOUS: Remember that there’s a full field of golfers all around you. Your pace can affect every other golfer on the course.

With that in mind, here are some tips, tricks and practices to ensure a speedy round:


  • Be at the course as early as you can. Don’t rock up late.
  • Be at your first tee at least 10 minutes before your scheduled tee time. (early = on time. On time = late)
  • Chat with your playing partners about all being mindful of pace of play.
  • Determine which player in your group is the low marker. That person will be ultimately responsible for your group’s Pace of Play.


Play “Ready Golf”. (The traditional tee “Honours” are a thing of the past - except in Match Play).

  • If the fairway/green ahead is clear, then someone in your group should already be hitting.
  • If the group ahead is still in range of the longer hitters, then the shorter hitters should play first (if safe)
  • When it’s your turn, be immediately ready to hit your shot. (You should have your club in hand, ready to swing.)


Lost balls are a main contributor to slow play. So…

  • When you hit your ball, watch the ball UNTIL IT STOPS MOVING.
  • If a wayward ball lands in the rough/trees, etc, immediately choose a landmark (bush, tree, rock, etc) near the spot and note it aloud to your playing partners.
  • Have each player do the same for EVERY BALL IN YOUR GROUP. (8 eyes are better than 2)
  • If in doubt, hit a provisional.


  • When looking for a lost ball, note the position/distance of the other balls played in the group – this may help determine the distance of the lost ball (noting that rough/weeds/etc will lessen the distance, while hardpan/paths may increase it.)
  • If a player has lost a ball, it may sometimes be advantageous for another player in the group (i.e. a shorter hitter) to first play their shot before helping the partner look for their lost ball.
  • If you find a player’s ball, and they are not nearby, consider placing a hat or other object near it to “keep it found”.
  • The rules of golf allow three minutes to search for a lost ball. Thus, when your three minutes are up, they're up. Either take a wipe for the hole, go to your provisional (if taken) or take your penalty drop, etc.
    • NOTE: If a ball is indeed lost, and a Provisional has NOT been taken, you may take a drop according to the special Model Local Rule E5 (AKA the "Irish Drop Rule", SGA Has adopted this rule for all events)



  • Each member of your group should go directly to their ball. Avoid travelling from one ball to the other (unless helping to search for a lost ball.)
  • When sharing a cart, don’t be sitting around, waiting for your cart partner to hit. Instead, drive to one ball and drop off the player (with their rangefinder and a few clubs) and then go to the second ball while they do their pre-shot routine.
  • After hitting, walk/drive quickly to your ball.
  • Plan your next shot on the way to your ball, so you are immediately ready to hit.
  • If the group in front of you is more than one shot ahead (i.e. if they are on the green of a par-4 before you even tee off) you need to speed it up.
  • As above, watch every shot from every player, until their ball stops.



  • If a player in your group is in a bunker, perhaps let them play first. This will allow them time for raking/tidying the bunker while you play your shot.
  • If two players are in the same bunker, one player can offer to rake/tidy for both players’ shots.
  • If a player blades/skulls a shot into trouble, another player can offer to rake the bunker for them while they move to their next shot.


  • Begin reading slopes/breaks for your putt as you approach the green.
  • Always park your cart/buggy on the side of the green closest to the next tee (so you can get to the next tee as quickly as possible). Don’t leave it in front of the green, etc.
  • Take multiple clubs whenever necessary (i.e. if you’re in a green-side bunker, take your wedge and your putter from the cart.
  • If you have brought multiple clubs to the green, place them on/near the green, on a direct line back towards your cart/bag (so you can get them on the way, after you are done putting, instead of running all around).


  • Read the speed/break while your partners are playing their shots.
  • When it’s your turn, be ready to putt immediately.
  • If you miss a putt, don’t stand there angrily. Watch the ball go past the hole (to determine the break for your come-backer) and quickly prepare for your next shot.
  • If you have a tap-in, then quickly tap it in (instead of marking it and waiting).
  • The first player to putt out should manage the flagstick, and/or look ahead to the next tee.
  • If you’ve fallen behind the group ahead of you, have a player (or two) in your group putt out, and hurry to the next tee while the others are putting. Don't wait for all players to finish the hole.
  • If your group has fallen well behind, then let the group behind you hit up or play through.
  • As you leave the green, always look for any golf clubs that you or the group may have left behind (i.e. wedge, chipper, etc.)
  • Mark the scorecard at the next tee, not at the green.


  • If you are out of a hole (i.e. taken too many shots to score), and the comp allows it, and your group has fallen behind, then pick up and move on.


  • If a player or players in your group are being a bit slow, don’t be afraid to speak up. A friendly and casual statement like “We should all get a wriggle on -- we are a bit behind the group in front” is usually sufficient. Especially if you have all discussed slow play on the first tee.

If we all take some (or all) of these Pace of Play pointers onto the course, then we can all enjoy the game together.

Video Fun: Don't be like Peter!

Not all hazards are found on the golf course itself. Some come from the players!

We all know (or play with) someone who has an exceptionally long pre-shot routine, like "Peter", in the video below.

So, the next time you play, don't be like Peter.

If the video doesn't load, click here