Pace of Play Manual.pdf or click here for online version
- GUI Championship Pace of Play Guide.pdf
- Sample Starter's Notes for Ready Golf.pdf

READ: GUI Press Release on Pace of Play Awareness Campaign​



​​What influences Pace of Play?

There are three factors that influence the Pace of Play:

The management of play

The course design and set-up

The players

Before embarking on any attempts to improve pace of play, it is best to assess whether there is a widespread view among users of the facility that there is an issue with pace of play. The Pace of Play Manual provides guidance on simple methods of data gathering.

Management practices

Good management practices can assist with pace of play and enhance the enjoyment of golfers.

General considerations

- Increasing the number of players per group increases round times.

- Avoid mixing two-balls and three-balls with four-balls.

- Accurately assess the course and set achievable pace of play targets

- Starting intervals

- Do not overload the course by using short starting intervals.

- Follow guidance on starting intervals (see Pace of Play Manual).

- Ensure players start on time.

- If possible include gaps between starting times throughout the day


Encourage players to play from tees that suit their ability and remind them of their responsibilities with regards to pace of play.  Course marshals should politely encourage players to catch up with the group in front if they have fallen behind.

Course design

It can be difficult and expensive to address inherent pace of play problems caused by the course design once the course has been constructed so it is important to have pace of play in mind during the design phase.

Design considerations

- Who will be playing the course?

- Course length and difficulty?

- Can long walks between greens and tees be prevented?

- Course set-up

When setting up the golf course, one of the most important things to do is to think about your “customers”, i.e. the golfers.

What is their level of ability? The average handicap for golfers in Ireland is around 16 for men. The course should be set up with the ability of the majority in mind. The course can be set up to be more difficult for competitions involving elite golfers.

Set-up considerations

- Who will be playing the course?

- What is the level of ability for the majority of golfers playing the course?

- Are the fairways wide enough? Deep rough is a common cause of slow play

- Are daily hole locations and green speeds suitable for the ability of the majority of golfers?


Did you know?
If each play​​er in a four-ball takes 5 seconds less to play each shot, the round time can be improved by over 25 minutes.


Player responsibilities

Very few golfers would admit to being slow players but we can all do our bit to play a little bit faster.

Be ready to play

- While you are waiting to play, use your time wisely so when it is your turn you are ready to play.

- When it is your turn to play, play promptly.

- Consider your pre-shot routine - saving even a few seconds will help.

- When play of a hole has been completed, leave the putting green quickly.

- Play at a good pace

- K
eep up with the group in front.

- Invite the group behind to play through if appropriate.

- Play a provisional ball to save time if you think your ball may be lost.



Simply put, "ready golf" means that each golfer within a group hits when ready.

If you reach your ball and are ready to hit, while other members of your group are not yet prepared, then go ahead and hit - even if you are not furthest away – provided it is safe to do so.

Examples of Ready Golf include:

Hitting a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options

Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait

Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play

Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball

Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line

Hitting a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker

When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole but chipping from the front of the green should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot

Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off

The R&A provide information on Pace of Play, some of which we have included above. You can find out more here.​