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How to Keep Proper Pace of Play on the Golf Course

How to Keep Proper Pace of Play on the Golf Course

Have you ever found yourself starting to catch up with the foursome in front of you on the golf course? Chances are, we have all been either the slow group or the team waiting on the tee box for the slow group to finish. Neither situation is fun.

If you’re in the slow group, it affects your play because it forces you to speed up and get out of rhythm with shots and strokes. As the fast group, the slow group hinders you because you lose the flow of your game when you have to wait on another group for too long.

On the golf course, especially with the use of golf carts, you should be playing what some golfers call “ready golf”. This is the proper way to maintain pace of play and to keep a rhythm going without unnecessary delays. 

Luckily, playing ready golf is easy to learn and will not only help your pace of play but will help keep you in the flow of the game. 

Ready Golf

The phrase ‘keep up your pace of play” seems like such an arrogant way to tell someone to play faster. In fact, telling someone what to do on a golf course seems aggressive in general. Teaching someone about ready golf, however, is a way to give them another tool to use on the golf course.

Everyone knows that at “average” or “above average” golf courses, they have rangers who patrol the course looking for people not following rules or course etiquette. It’s a terrible feeling when a ranger has to come up to you and tell you to speed up your pace of play. 

First, it embarrasses you, then it forces you to change the way you play and lose any flow you had to begin with. Thankfully, if you learn how to play ready golf, then you will find yourself avoiding ravaging rangers and hiccups to your focus.


Part of playing ready golf is making sure that you are prepared at all times on the course. This includes preparation before you even head towards the first tee. Here is a list of pre-game steps to take before your round:

  1. Check in at the clubhouse, confirm your tee time and grab your golf cart.
  2. Once the cart is back at your car, begin to pack it up.
  3. Make sure you strap your bag to the cart, as well as double-check all your clubs are in your bag.
  4. Pull out a sleeve of balls, a few tees, and any tools (divot fixer, rangefinder) to make sure you have everything you need.
  5. You can even place some of these things in the cart to grab quickly so you don’t fumble through your bag mid-round.
  6. Put on your golf spikes, and proceed to pick up your partner in the golf cart.

On the Tee Box

The tee box signifies the start of the first hole but also sets the tone for the rest of the round. You want to make sure you are starting off with a nice flow and playing ready golf. Here is your list of steps on the tee box:

  1. Grab your driver, a ball, a tee, your golf glove, and make your way to the tee box. 
  2. Avoid any significant conversation at the carts, instead, use the tee box for any pre-game rule alterations or natural conversation.
  3. Feel free to take a few minutes as a group to loosen up through gentle practice swings. 
  4. Once the first player is ready to tee, the rest of the foursome should be standing in proper position behind and off to the player's right. This allows you to be out of the player’s sight at all times during their swing.
  5. Once the player tees off, the next person switches places with them and repeats the process until everyone has teed off.

In the Fairway with Golf Carts

This is the most crucial aspect of playing ready golf. The mass majority of players get this part wrong. Playing ready golf in the fairway with golf carts will make sure you maintain pace of play standards while keeping you laser-focused. Here are the relevant steps to playing ready golf in the fairway:

  1. Follow the normal golf rules of playing the furthest ball away from the hole before moving to the next furthest and so on.
  2. Do NOT take the golf cart to each person’s shot.
  3. Instead, one person will grab two or three clubs out of their bag and head to the away shot with everything they need.
  4. The player in the cart will head towards their shot while the first player walks to theirs.
  5. The away player then takes their shot and starts to walk up towards where their partner has the cart.
  6. The player with the cart, immediately after the away player’s shot, will have already thought out what club they want to use, take a couple practice swings, and play their shot. By this time, the away player should have made it back to the cart.
  7. Then, you both get into the cart and repeat this process until the carts are no longer usable.

I can’t stress enough how much better this will focus you and keep you in rhythm on the course. Play ready golf this way and you will never find yourself being told to speed up.

On the Green

Even though you have reached the green or hit the ball close, continuing to play ready golf will only benefit you. Here is the list of ready golf steps to take on the green:

  1. Park all the carts in the proper place. For example, don’t leave a cart in the fairway and then go to the green. Drive the golf cart all the way to the green and park it.
  2. If your ball is off the green, grab your putter and wedge or another club of choice along with a towel (the towel can be used to protect your putter grip from any dew or precipitation when you rest it on the ground). Proceed to your shot because you will most likely be playing first.
  3. If your ball is on the green, grab your putter and head straight for the flag.
    1. Ask your partner if they would rather keep the flag in or pull it out.
    2. Depending on their response, either leave the flag or pull the flag and place it on the outside of the green.
  4. Once the off-green player has reached the green, then pull the flag if you haven’t already.
  5. Now is the time for you to quickly scan your putt.
  6. The away player will putt, but while they are reading the green and taking practice swings, you should also be reading your path to the hole and readying yourself.
  7. Once the away player putts, the other player will step right up to their ball, take some practice swings, and putt. Repeat this process until finished with the hole.


If you follow the given instructions for ready golf, then you will find yourself playing with a better rhythm and never being caught by other foursomes. Who knows? Maybe you will even be able to teach your partners how to play ready golf so it can be spread to everyone. If everyone played ready golf, then we wouldn’t spend so much time waiting and out of rhythm on the course.

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