Friday Golf Society - AVOIDING SLOW PLAY - reminder from 2013

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AVOIDING SLOW PLAY - reminder from 2013

In February 2013 FGS published the following article about avoiding slow play on this website.

If we are expecting other users of the Almerimar course to avoid slow play we should all encourage our own members to do so as well.

It is up to FGS members to ensure that all players in their group avoid slow play. If you are playing with any FGS members who do not follow the guidance about avoiding slow play please tell them to change the way they play.

Read More for details.

From 9 February 2013

Recently the Spanish Golf Federation issued a document containing guidelines on how to avoid slow play. You can see the document here on the RFEG website.

We have spent some time doing a rough translation of this document into English. You can download our translation from here. We have also included the text below.

We urge all members of the society to read this document and make sure that we all adopt the approach recommended to improve the speed of play.

One other point to note is something Mr President says often - "Your place on the course is behind the group in front of you, not ahead of the group behind you".

If members of the society have lost half a hole or more on the group ahead it is their responsibility to speed up to help maintain the speed of play for everyone on the course. Please remember this and act accordingly.



This document is a rough translation of a document issued by the Spanish Golf Federation (RFEG). It is based on a Google translation.

The game has been endemically slow for many years. Unfortunately this slow play has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years. We need to increase the speed of play for the good of the players, competitions, clubs and ultimately for the sport of golf itself.

Without claiming to be the universal panacea, approaches that are described below can
help avoid the "slow play" that concerns us all.


The most important factor to save time is to be prepared to make your shot when it is your turn to play. This means that a player must be at their ball, having decided the shot to play and having selected the club to be used before the other players in the group have played their shot.

This applies across the course: on tees, fairways and greens.

On the Tee

We have often heard that the player on the tee who is ready to hit the ball could go first. This simply is not true. The player who has the honour should be ready to hit the first. In the event that this is not the case, they can leave teeing off to another player who is ready.

Through the Green

Players, after taking their shot, usually start doing things wrong. They watch the other player’s shots and only think of their next stroke when it is their turn.

Quite often you see players and buggy drivers waiting for their playing partners to play a shot before addressing their ball. Also, too often all four players go to the ball that is furthest away from the hole and wait for a player to hit their shot. They then go to another ball and do the same, as if they were "tied together in a convoy".

Avoiding slow play means that all players must go to their balls as soon as possible and
be prepared to play their shots.

While waiting for their turn, players should choose the shot to play, select the club, place their bag nearby and stay with their ball. Positioned and prepared to hit the ball when it is their turn. This leads to the prevention of slow play!

In particular, players /buggy drivers should not stay with the other players. They must go to their ball, choose their club and be ready to play.

Buggy drivers should not wait for their playing partners to play their shots and only then go to address their balls.


The only time a player should wait for other players is if their ball is directly in front of another player’s ball. In particular, a “CONVOY” of players should never occur, except when balls are located in the same place. The only time players should create a group (of  2, 3 or 4 players) and wait for a player to make their stroke is when the flight line stops others players from reaching their ball.

Tip: Walk down the sides of the fairway to reach your ball, choosing your club on the way and then head to the ball and play your shot as soon as you can.

It is normally possible for a player to approach their ball and be prepared for their shot while another player is playing their shot from further back.

Help finding a lost ball

It is very important that everyone involved in searching for a lost ball should maintain the pace of play. They should search for the ball after hitting their shots, not BEFORE.

Often, you see four players looking for a lost ball, while none of them is ready to play.

You have to use common sense. The player whose ball is closest to the flag, who will be the last to play, should be the first to help the player who lost the ball. While players that are further away from the flag should play their shots FIRST and then join in the search for the ball. Then players who are closer to the hole should take their shot. In this way, slow play should not occur because of the loss of a ball.

Farthest from the hole

Normally there is no reason that players should need to play out of turn to avoid slow play. The player who is farthest from the hole should be ready to play the first. However there are some exceptions that are common sense:

• In a group of four players in which one or two players are walking and others are in a buggy, the player(s) in the buggy could play first if they reach their ball before others and are ready to play.

• When a player takes a shot but is still farthest from the hole, other players could play their shot before that player if they are ready. For example: if a player hits a tree or other obstacle and their ball is still farthest from the hole, a player closer to the hole could play first to speed up the game.

• If a player's ball is off the green in a bunker and is farthest away the other players may not wait for that player if they have to walk around the green to make their next stroke. The game would continue until the player furthest away is ready to take their shot. In fact nothing is more disconcerting than three players on the green, watching and waiting as the fourth player cleans sand off their line, addresses their ball, checks their line of putt and then eventually putts.

Entering and leaving the greens

 How many times have we seen people leaving their clubs or bags in front of the green?

When players only have to collect their clubs or bags they must ALWAYS, I repeat ALWAYS, leave the clubs/bags on the side of the green nearest the next TEE. If the shot is from off the green, the player must first move their clubs to an appropriate place closest to the next tee and then take their shot. Nothing is more annoying than watching a player walking down to the front of the green to retrieve their clubs after everyone has putted out.

DO NOT STOP near the green talking and marking scorecards. After your group has putted out go to the next tee so the next group behind you can play.

Fast play on the greens

People copying professional players on the green has produced more slow game than any other cause. You can often watch the players waiting until it is their turn to play, then walk around the green as if it was the winning putt in the "Master's". PREPARATION on the green means GETTING yourself ready for your shot BEFORE it is your turn play. Players should read their line of putt WHILE other players are putting to be ready to play when it is their turn.

Overcoming slow play means continuously being ready to putt if the ball is not in the line of another player. Also not taking too much time examining the putt.

If someone misses a putt by thirty or forty centimetres, for example, and is very close to the hole they should putt out instead of marking the ball and wait another turn. Except if it is a difficult putt and requires additional time to examine it carefully. In this case, mark the ball and assess your line of putt while another player putts. When it is your turn walk to your ball marker, place the ball and make the putt on your chosen line.

While there are no official rules covering the time it takes to make a putt, a widely used estimate is to allow 20 seconds to take your turn. This means, take the "stance" and putting in 20 seconds. Obviously, this can only be done if the line is examined while another player is taking their putt.

When it is your turn to putt you should take you time and not rush.

Avoiding slow play DOES NOT MEAN rushing. If your have prepared in advance for your putt you can take your time and still avoid slow play.


"Avoid Slow Play" means being prepared to play, not playing when you are not prepared.
Here are some simple reminders:

1. Walk to the ball as quickly as possible, so you can choose the club to use and think what shot to play in advance. Not when it's your turn.

2. When sharing a buggy, drop off your playing partner first. Let him choose the clubs he wants and then head off to your own ball so you are ready to play.

3. In case of lost ball, play your own shot first and then assist in the search.

4. Walk down the sides of the fairway to reach the ball and then APPROACH it if it is in the middle. NEVER play in a “convoy” with all players moving to each ball in turn.

5. On the green, choose your line of putt BEFORE it is your turn to play and putt immediately instead of marking it if nobody is in the line of play.


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