The R&A has confirmed they will introduce Ready Golf at its 2017 amateur championships as part of its efforts to improve pace of play.
There has been talk of a lot of changes to the rules of golf this year from the R&A, whether it's an upheaval of the entire rule book, a new rule on video evidence, a look in to green books or about introducing a universal handicapping system.
Now however, there is a definitive plan of action to test out when it comes to tackling slow play; enforcing ready golf in actual competitions.
Ready Golf features in The R&A’s Pace of Play manual as a recommended solution for tackling slow play and enables golfers to play when they are ready to do so rather than strictly adhere to ‘the farthest from the hole plays first’ requirement.
The practice can be used in stroke play and includes a number of actions that can help to improve the flow of golfers around the course and reduce the time taken by players to complete a round.
Examples of Ready Golf include hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play, playing a shot before helping someone look for a ball and adopting continuous putting when possible.
The R&A’s portfolio of amateur events has expanded following its merger with the Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU) on 1 January 2017 and Ready Golf will feature in both men's and women's championships where stroke play is part of the format, including the forthcoming Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle & Kenfig and The Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s and Prince’s.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A said, “We support solutions that address the issue of slow play and Ready Golf is an effective means of reducing the time it takes to complete a round. “Our research has shown that golfers would enjoy the sport more if it took less time to play and so we are introducing Ready Golf during the stroke play rounds at our amateur championships to help improve pace of play and the experience for the players and spectators.”
The R&A published the Pace of Play manual for golfers, administrators and golf course managers last year to encourage the use of recommended solutions which effectively addresses issues of slow play and to increase golfers’ enjoyment of playing the game.