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playing through golf etiquette

We’re all playing Ready Golf – so why can’t you?

Ready Golf has been plugged by the R&A for ages now, so why is it still an alien concept for some golfers? It's set our Angry Club Golfer off again
 

If you’ve ever seen I Am Legend, there’s a scene where the infected zombies are all huddled round in some primitive, almost ritualistic, trance.

Transport this image to the middle of our 7th fairway and you’ll understand why the fourball in front – a collection that have the entire golf course at their mercy – are causing so much angst.

I’m all for a bit of manners, but their ‘no, after you’ approach is grating, as is their insistence in all being within a club length of each other when they are hitting a shot.

I love that golf is a social game but I’ve got my own airspace and if I can smell the bacon sandwich they had at breakfast then I’m going to be like American fighter pilots policing a no-fly zone.

Ready Golf is not a new concept. The R&A have been plugging it for ages and there’s more than one VERY large notice in our clubhouse urging players to get on with it if they are ready and it’s safe to do so.

But there’s always the few that refuse to go along with these ways. They’re the players that get the hump if you dare to step on the tee first – robbing them of the honour because they were the only ones to manage a nett par on the previous hole.

They’re the ones whose pre-shot routine is as meticulous as Bryson DeChambeau’s, even though the result means we’re going to go through this tortuous process at least twice more before they get to the green.

[skylab_video id=”143372″]Angry Club Golfer – Ready Golf[/skylab_video]

Of course, they can only get started on this three-minute odyssey – because we’ve also got to spend at least 30 seconds admiring that top before the club goes back in the bag – once it’s their ‘correct’ turn to play.

What really gets my goat, though, isn’t ignoring Ready Golf, the needless time wasting, or the refusal to play a group through even when the quartet troop in a line to each of their balls in turn to try and extract them from the trees, water or whatever penalty area they’ve been unable to avoid.

It’s when one of them approaches us in the bar afterwards and says the seven words destined to make me blow my stack.

“We didn’t hold you up, did we?”

If you have to ask then, yes, you did hold us up and once you realised this you should have done the decent thing and got out of the damn way.

But, of course, the slightest of smirks employed when delivering that coup de grace says it all. They knew what they were doing and, what’s more, loved it. Ready Golf? You’re having a laugh.

And so I’m destined to be standing behind them again soon, watching their Riverdance routine, while slowly venting and dreaming of the day we employ course marshals to put us all out of our misery.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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