MODERNIZING GOLF'S RULES
Proposed Change: Encouraging Prompt Pace of Play
March 1, 2017
Proposed Rule: New Rule 5.6 would encourage prompt pace of play by recommending that:
Players should recognize that their pace of play affects others and they should play promptly throughout the round (such as by preparing in advance for each stroke and moving promptly between strokes and in going to the next tee).
A player should make a stroke in no more than 40 seconds (and usually in less time) after the player is able to play without interference or distraction.
Committees should adopt a Pace of Play Policy (rather than only say they may do so).
In addition, new Rule 6.4 would expressly allow playing out of turn in match play by agreement, and for stroke play would affirmatively allow and encourage players to play out of turn in a safe and responsible way to save time or for convenience (also known as “ready golf”).
Reasons for Change:
By giving players affirmative guidance, support and encouragement on prompt play, these proposed Rule changes would help in:
- Setting expectations for both beginners and experienced players on what types of behavior are considered prompt play, including the maximum amount of time it should normally take to make a stroke, and
- Encouraging players to play faster by confirming that it is proper to play out of turn in stroke play when it is safe and responsible to do so (that is, to play “ready golf”).
- Enforcing pace of play would continue to be primarily up to each Committee, as there are limits to what the Rules themselves can do to insist that players play promptly.
These changes would enable Committees to point to specific expectations set by the Rules when using their authority to enforce prompt play, and encourage every Committee to adopt a pace of play policy so that all players on the course, whatever the type or level of play, would know what is expected of them.
There are a number of other proposed new rules that will also encourage prompt pace of play including the simplified dropping rules, allowing more areas to be marked as penalty areas, the expanded use of red penalty areas and allowing players to putt with the flagstick in the hole.