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Pace of Play

From the rules of golf: “A round of golf is meant to be played at a prompt pace. Your pace of play is likely to affect how long it will take other players to play their rounds, including both those in your group and those in following groups.” (see rule 5.6b)

Slow play reduces enjoyment and even the popularity of golf. Each minute of delay lengthens the round times of all the groups that follow, including JPMGC members and the public. On a busy day, a morning group that plays 5 minutes longer than the group in front effectively adds that 5 minutes to the round times of a couple hundred players to play later in the day.

Pace of Play guidelines

Everyone should be aware and take responsibility for playing promptly. Keeping up, and catching up when necessary, is an expected part of every round.


    • Play “ready golf” – no need to adhere to strict rules about whose turn it is to play.
    • Prepare for your next stroke while others are playing.
    • Bring multiple clubs to your ball in case you change your mind.
    • Leave carts and bags in a position to minimize walking or retracing your steps.
    • Take a maximum of 40 seconds for each shot, hopefully less.
    • Shorten pre-shot routines, limit practice swings and pre-shot meditation.[1]
    • Move immediately and efficiently between shots.
    • But pay attention when others are hitting so they will not have to wait for you to stop talking or moving.
    • Watch while others hit so that you can help find their ball if necessary.
    • Hit a provisional ball if your ball may be lost or out of bounds.
    • Limit ball searches to the rules’ maximum of 3 minutes.
    • When possible, forgo customs like marking and cleaning your ball or removing the flagstick.
    • Avoid “futile mimicking of elite golfers.”[2]
    • Help slower players learn to play faster.

[1] Waiting longer than eight seconds to hit after a practice swing is counterproductive. (Source: The Short Game Bible, by Dave Pelz, p. 218.)

[2] See R & A Pace of Play Manual section 4.6 – Imitating Elite Golf.

Pace of Play rules

Please keep up[3] with the group in front.

Please punch the scorecard clock on holes 1 and 18 as described below. Penalties will be assessed for slow play as follows.

Maximum round and gap times

The normal gap is 10 minutes. If a group finishes more than 15 minutes behind the group in front of them and more than 4 hours and 30 minutes (4:30) after they started, all players in the group[4] will get a penalty as follows.

16-21 minutes behind – one stroke

22-30 minutes behind – two strokes

31+ minutes behind – disqualification

This rule is based on USGA Committee Procedures Pace of Play Policies model local rule 8K-1.[5]

Scorecard clock

The scorecard clock will be located on #1 tee and next to the 18th green or inside the restaurant after the round. Please designate one scorecard to be used for the clock and punch that scorecard on the back as follows:

#1: As soon as the starter gives the OK for your group to tee off, before any player hits.[6]

#18: Immediately after your whole group finishes the hole. (Do not delay. You may verify scores and sign scorecards after punching the clock.)

Failure to punch the clock may be cause for disqualification.


If you are penalized for slow play because of delays beyond your control[7], you may appeal to the tournament chairperson before tournament results are finalized. Note that time for ball searches, walking,[8] rules questions, hot or cold weather, and unfamiliar playing partners are already included in the maximum time for a round. Keeping up is the responsibility of all players in each group.

[3] Keeping up means you are regularly waiting to hit. If not, please catch up. For reference: on a par 4, if the group in front has already left the green while you are teeing off, then your gap has reached the penalty range.

[4] Speed of play is the whole group’s responsibility, including the faster players in the group.

[5] Also similar to WA Golf’s rule. Our staff is more limited though.

[6] Not after the last player hits – the total time to play a round includes the time to tee off on the first hole.

[7] Such as a lightening storm or medical emergency.

[8] Carts do not increase pace of play. See “How Fast is Your Course?

Pace of Play statistics

The spreadsheets below capture pace-of-play data from weekend tournaments. Sorted by slowest* players at the top.

The key statistic is the gap between groups’ finishing times. Each player with a gap over the 10 minute starting interval delays all the following players by that amount. The earlier a player plays, the larger the impact of delay. That is captured in the “following players delay…” columns. Cumulative delays for early players with large gaps are in hours.

* – where “slow” is defined as a large following player delay. Note also that the first group of each tournament does not have a gap time – players who play only in first groups appear at the top of the spreadsheets.