2022 VSWGA Pace of Play Initiative
Due to several 5 ½ to 6-hour rounds in 2021, the Board decided to emphasize Pace of Play for the 2022 season. We all want a timely round. Long rounds are not good for member retention, member recruitment, Club Reps or Club relationships. Timely rounds make everyone happy! The good news: pace of play improved considerably in the 2022 season!
Please read the State Day Pace of Play rules and tips to speed up play below, or on page 18 of the 2023 handbook. The rules will be enforced to the best of our ability. Please target getting from one hole to the next in 13 minutes. While this is tight, it allows for some inevitable slowdowns due to lost balls, shanks, balls in the water/hazard, a wet/rainy course and long distance between tees. You should make it to the turn within 2 hours and to the finish in 4 hours. We know that this may seem fast to you, but if we all make the same effort to average 13 minutes from one tee box to the next, the whole State Day will move faster. Remember that your correct position on the golf course is immediately behind the group in front of you.
The rules of golf mandate 40 seconds to complete a shot (50 seconds if you are the first person to play the shot, which allows time for distance measuring). The video below is highly recommended and includes an abundance of Pace of Play suggestions. In addition to other tips, the video shows timing for two different shot methods to demonstrate how you can save time on each shot. [It was recorded prior to the reduction of 45 second to 40 second shot time, so please replace the 45 seconds with 40 seconds while watching.]
Easy things you can do to speed up your round:
- Continuously putt (not mandatory) instead of giving up your turn. Just say, “I’m going to finish out”. This works well when you’ve put the putt within 4 feet of the hole. If you’re not comfortable at 4 feet, go down to 3 or 2 feet.
- Get to your ball as quickly as possible. Players do not have to wait until another player hits to move ahead, however, please do it in a safe way that will not result in a player getting hit by a ball. Make sure you are to the side, out of sight lines and always watch where all balls are going. Your safety is paramount. If you don’t think you can move ahead safely, don’t move ahead.
- Play ready golf. Whoever gets to their ball first, hit the ball. The other golfers should get set and ready to hit while the first person is hitting. Be polite but be ready.
- Don’t leave your bag or your cart behind.
- Everyone should watch the direction of all balls hit on tee and approach shots. Help your group.
- Be ready to putt by picking your line and being behind your ball (if not in the way of the putting golfer).
- When coming off the green, get in the cart and put your golf clubs in the bag at the next tee.
- Mark your scorecard at the next tee, not on the green or in the cart after leaving the green.
- Do you really need to measure distance if you are behind the 200-yard marker? If you have an open fairway without traps to land in, estimate and hit and move on.
- If you are walking, walk fast. This is a tournament and we want people to be healthy, but if you can’t finish a hole in 13 minutes, or a course in 4 hours, consider riding. Depending on the course, walking may be faster for you, but courses with long distance between holes, massive hills and no cut throughs can be slow for a walker.
- If you did not play “cart golf” with your cart partner, park the cart in the middle, take some clubs and walk to your ball. The first one done should drive the cart to the other golfer.
- Play a provision ball if you think it is lost or out of bounds. You have 3 minutes only to look for your ball in a hazard. Take the penalty and move on.
- The only balls you should be hunting for should be your own or the other players’ balls in your group. Do not look for free balls. You do not have time.
- If you are waiting for the group ahead of you, take the opportunity to check your score against the scorecard that will be turned in so you don’t have to do all of that after the 18th hole. You can make a small mark where you left off and double check the subsequent scores the next time you get held up.
- If you need to vent due to a shot you think was bad, do it while you are walking to your cart and remember to be respectful to the other members of your group who are trying to get their shot completed in 40 seconds. Also, be mindful of your socializing when it is a player’s turn to hit.
Emphasis change for 2022:
No Card option:
Please read about the no card option on page 16 of the 2023 handbook. This is an option for all VSWGA golfers. There will be no penalty for a no card. We would like to see if increased use of No Cards speeds up our Pace of Play.
A Player may wish to use the No Card option if she is just having a bad golfing day, is too frustrated with her play to enjoy the round, or realizes that she is playing much too slowly. The golfer can pick her ball up and move on. Simply put an “X” on the holes where the ball was picked up and write “no card” on scoring line. You absolutely can continue to play with your group even if you “no card”.
We realize that you may be encouraging your club golfer to turn in a complete score to try to get as many points as possible toward the Mae Murray Jones Trophies. Please do not slow play down in order to do this, and don’t let a player get discouraged from coming back. Work with them at your club to help them get less frustrated while playing our tournaments, but not during the State Day. If you have a very frustrated golfer, or a very slow golfer, you may gently remind them of the No Card option. Ultimately it is their decision.
No card scoring:
Golfers who no card are not eligible to receive points toward state day award certificates, but can win “Closest to the Pin” contests, of which there are two per event.
For No Card scores, Golf Genius will still post an Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) score to GHIN, which is Net Double Bogey for the hole, or 2 over par + the applicable handicap stroke.
If a minimum of 7 holes are not scored per 9, no post will occur. If you score 7 holes per 9, both front and back, an 18-hole score will be posted. If a score is posted to GHIN, the X’s will be replaced with the ESC for the hole, or Net Double Bogey. If a golfer scores all holes, but still wants to No Card, just write the NC in the Total. The score will still be posted to GHIN and if you click on the player’s name in Golf Genius, you will still see the hole scores.
How the scorecard should be marked for a no card:
NOTE: Scorecards must be turned in and signed by all players in the group. You must still turn in a scorecard if you No Card. You will be marked a DQ if you do not turn in a card.
In this example GHIN will post a 9-hole round because only 13 holes were scored and there was a minimum of 7 holes scored on the front 9.
** If you score a bad hole (i.e., hole #3) and realize that you want to NC at a later hole, it won’t matter, because GHIN will post Net Double Bogey anyway, just like it does on your regular rounds. **
We thank you for your attention to this issue. By all means, if you have other tips to speed up pace of play, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
A player’s starting time and finishing time must be recorded on the completed scorecard. The finishing time is the time the completed scorecard is turned in to the scoring table or pro shop as designated. Players who finish 15 minutes or more behind the group in front of them will receive a warning after the first occurrence. The second infraction results in a slow play or “Turtle” designation for 4 weeks. The third infraction results in an additional 8 weeks of the “Turtle” designation. This designation prevents all golfers in the group from receiving early tee times. When you sign up, you will be placed in one of the last tee times.
State Day Pace of Place Rules and Tips
Players should recognize that their pace of play affects others and they should play promptly and move to the next tee box quickly after completing each hole. USGA Rule 5.6 encourages prompt play and ready golf, even playing out of turn, in a safe and responsible manner to save or make up playing time. Players are expected to complete their stroke in 40 SECONDS when it is the players turn (5.6b). Time spent determining yardage and conditions will count as time taken for the stroke.
Tips to Speed Up Play
Playing at a better pace is not about hurrying up or rushing around the course. It is simply about being more efficient with your time. Two minutes saved per hole will save thirty-six minutes per round.
- Follow the flight of all tee shots, not just your own.
- Play a provisional ball if you think your original ball might be lost or out of bounds.
- Keep up with the group in front of you. Your correct position on the course is immediately behind the group in front of you, not immediately in front of the group behind you.
- Before reaching your ball, take note of distance and think about club selection. Take 2 or 3 clubs to your ball. Be at your ball and ready to play when it is your turn.
- Study the line of your putt while others are preparing to putt out.
- Record scores at the next tee, not at the green.
- Pay attention to the location of your cart. Don’t leave it behind.
- When sharing carts, don’t wait in the cart while your cart mate hits. You can do as much early preparation for your turn as possible. This might include taking a couple of clubs and walking to your ball.
- Agree to play ready golf.
- Occasionally a group falls way behind. This is apparent when there are one to two open holes ahead of them. In these situations, the VSWGA board advises:
- The slow group should look back and offer to let the waiting group play through.
- The group immediately behind the slow group should contact the slow group and ask to play through.