Sportsmanship and etiquette are a big part of golf’s tradition and appeal. Unfortunately, they also contribute to the game’s maddeningly slow pace.
That’s why it’s best to practice “ready golf” during any informal round, i.e., any round played outside of a tournament. Ready golf not only speeds play by dispensing with the usual formalities, it can help golfers maintain a steady rhythm.
Basically, ready golf is exactly what it sounds like – the golfer who is ready is the one who hits next. On the tee, that means no waiting for players to hit in order of “honors” claimed on previous holes. In the fairway, rough or near the green, it means no waiting while a golfer who is farther away hits first.
Ready golf shouldn’t always be applied literally, of course. You should never race far ahead of your partners to hit an approach shot to the green, for example. Nor should you hit first when you’re between another golfer and the target. No one should putt until the entire group has reached the green. And you should never, ever putt before another golfer if it means standing on his line.
As long as you use common courtesy (and common sense), ready golf is the way to go. Always propose it to your group on the first tee. While some golfers will occasionally balk, the vast majority will be happy to comply and play more quickly.
Here are more ways to improve the pace of your rounds while staying within the bounds of good etiquette: