Some people’s perception of golf is that of gentlemen and ladies playing a game over six hours with strict rules governing the pattern of play. This pattern requires certain social protocols be observed. The order of play is strictly determined and must be followed at all times. That was how my grandfather played and it was how they played when I caddied one summer. Somewhere in the last decade or maybe two, a new term arose to speed up play: Ready Golf.
Ready Golf is defined by the small steps taken by all players to not waste time. Some traditional protocols are ignored but not completely forgotten. It is not a free for all but rather an organized group effort. Golf courses like it because they cannot more foursomes through the course in a day. I want to review what makes for good ready golf.
Ready Golf Tip #1: Tee Off Order
Classic golf defines the order in which players tee off by the score on the previous hole. The player with the lowest score has honors. In Ready Golf, whoever is ready to fire can step forward. The exception is when a player shoots a birdie or better on the previous hole. To honor and celebrate that player, “Birdie man or woman” tees off first.
Ready Golf Tip #2: Cart Golf
Golf carts are wonderful and fun to drive. However, players are not handcuffed to them. If your cartmate’s ball is on the opposite side of the fairway as your’s, drop them off and go to yours or reverse that. If you are being dropped off, take a few clubs in case you change your mind on your shot.
Ready Golf Tip #3: Search Party
If someone in the foursome is searching for their ball in the rough, another player should be readying to hit or hitting their shot. Don’t stand by idle but play and then help them find their ball. Teamwork may help save them a stroke for a lost ball and the foursome won’t lose time.
Ready Golf Tip #4: Putting Order
Putting order is defined classically by the distance away from the hole. Further away, goes first once everyone is on the green. There is an exception in ready golf. If a player is walking into a green side bunker and your ball is far far away from the hole, it is acceptable for you to putt prior to them setting up for their shot. You must declare your intensions by announcing to your group, “I just want to get my ball in the same zip code as the hole.”
Ready Golf is Not Rushed Golf
Ready golf should not raise your pulse as you try to keep up with a blistering pace. Your foursome is working together to keep the foursome in front in sight. When it is your turn to swing, complete your entire pre-swing ritual. Do not sacrifice your play for pace.
Everyone enjoys a smooth quick round. These days if I play a five hour round, I get grumpy. Ready golf is what makes golf fun for me.