Ready Golf? We've been doing it for years...

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The R&A are to introduce 'Ready Golf' at their amateur events this year to improve pace of play. But will it make any difference at club level, asks Steve Carroll.

Is the only surprise about Ready Golf that it has taken an R&A proclamation to implement it?

In the club game, this rather easy way to tackle slow play has been the norm for some time. If you’re ready, and it’s strokeplay, play first – regardless of who is the ‘furthest from the hole’.

Golf’s a game of rhythm and if you are always having to wait – while someone fiddles about in their pocket for a tee, or insists on spending a full five minutes looking for a ball that’s been carved into the middle of a forest – it can easily put you out of kilter.

That’s where frustration can set in.

I once competed with a player who insisted on performing an intricate breakdown of his swing, followed by as many as a dozen practice swishes, before he would hit any shot.

By the time we reached the 11th, I was in open revolt. He would still be going through his motions and I’d be 150 yards down the fairway wearing a furious glare.

It was annoying for me, and it can’t have been too much fun for him witnessing my ever growing anger.

But times have changed.

Outside of the odd idiot who insists his four nett three on the last means he is required to hit the first shot, my general experience these days is that whoever’s got a club out and a tee in place plays away.

ready golf

Same on the fairway.

Outside of elite competitions, which the R&A’s announcement is designed to cover, does anyone still go searching for a playing partner’s ball without having already advanced their own first?

Don’t think I’m in any way criticising the efforts of the governing body.

This shows their efforts to improve the speed of the game – outlined in their Pace of Play manual – are not just empty words.

It will be interesting to see the effect it has on the time taken to play a round when it’s enforced at the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle & Kenfig and The Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s and Prince’s.

At the grassroots, though, if you are playing your monthly medal this weekend you shouldn’t really see any difference.

Because if you are not already playing Ready Golf, why on earth aren’t you?

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