Steps to Improve Your Pace of Play

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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One of the major reasons that golf has declined over the past few years is the time requirement for a round of golf. To make golf more enjoyable for all, it should be played in four hours or less. This can be a challenge on some of the tougher desert golf courses, but following some simple guidelines can help you improve your pace of play and make the round of golf more enjoyable for you and everyone on the course.

1.  Play “ready” golf. This term means simply to be ready to hit your shot when it is your turn.

2.  Line up your shot, select your club and begin your pre-shot routine before it is your turn to hit. This alone will speed up your round considerably.

3.  Most golf does not need to be played by the honor system of furthest away hitting first. You should reach an agreement with your group prior to starting the round that you will play when ready, even if you are not away and there are no safety risks. When you arrive at the tee and the shot is open, play away, and don’t wait for the low score to tee off if they are not ready to go.

4.  Post your score on the approach to the next tee box. Don’t stand on the green after putting out posting your score on the card.

5.  Take practice swings while others are hitting their shots. This can’t be done on the tee due to disturbing your playing partners, but when you are out in the fairway and not next to the person playing take your practice swing and be ready to play when it is your turn. Limit yourself to one practice swing.

6.  Line up your putt while others are putting or approaching the green. Do not wait until it is your turn to putt and begin reading the green and lining up your putt.

7.  Help out your partners with raking bunkers, filing divots and removing the pin.  Be aware of where your group is and if there is anything you can do to speed them along. Raking a bunker when someone hits a bad shot and will still be away is a good way to speed up play.

8.  If you are walking, walk at a brisk pace until reaching your ball. If you walk quickly to your ball you will be able to take time to play your shot without having to rush.

9.  Play a provisional when there is a doubt if your ball is in play. You are allowed to play a provisional ball anytime you feel you may have hit a ball out of bounds or may have a lost ball. This will speed you up by you not having to go back to where the last shot was played.

10.  No Mulligans or practice shots! This really slows down the round.

11.  Be aware of your pace. How many holes have you played and how long has it taken? A good goal is to play each hole under 13 minutes. This will keep you under the 4 hour round pace.

12.  Teach new golfers and juniors about the importance of playing quickly and how they can do that.

13.  Remember we are not “Tour Players”. We are not playing for millions of dollars. Don’t take so long reading greens, aligning shots or backing off. Be ready to play and move it along.

Golf is a great game, enjoy your round but be aware of your pace of play. Let’s all practice speeding up our pace of play and increasing the enjoyment of all golfers.

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at