How To Play Ready Golf – Keep the Pace of Play!

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Slow play is one of the worst sins any golfer can commit. It’s frustrating for the other golfers in the group, the golfers behind you, as well as all the staff at the course trying to keep the pace moving for all players.

Ready Golf is always encouraged and appreciated by everyone involved. Keeping pace should be lesson #1 when teaching new players the game of golf

In this article, we’ll briefly explain what ready golf is, how to play ready golf, and why it’s so important. We’ll also offer a few tips and some etiquette suggestions to keeping the place of play moving without disrupting your playing partners.

Ready Golf
Play Ready Golf!

What Is Ready Golf

Ready golf is as simple as the name suggests. When you’re ready to play your shot, play your shot! Don’t wait around for your partners to get ready, even if another player has the honor or is further from the hole.

There are formal rules for determining honors and determining playing order in golf. However, those rules are only necessary in official tournaments and USGA events. Most golfer never (or almost never) play in such events.

How To Play Ready Golf

The key to playing ready golf is focusing on your ball and your own game. Here’s what you need to do.

Watch Your Ball Carefully

Finding your golf ball is always the first step. Make sure to keep your eye on the ball during the entire flight and after the ball hits the ground. Use nearby markers (trees, rocks, water features, etc.) to reference the ball location and make it easier to find.

This is especially true for poor shots. We all hit bad shots occasionally, but that is not an excuse for looking away and failing to track the flight of the ball. 

You can save a lot of time by watching your ball closely and making sure you can find it quickly.

Go Straight to Your Golf Ball

Keep moving and get to your ball right away. It seems simple but many players don’t do this very well.

There is no reason for the entire group of players to move together and stop as a group to watch each shot. This will slow everything down considerably. Instead, move directly to your own ball.

Plan Your Shot Efficiently

Every shot requires at least some planning. How far are you from the hole? Where are you trying to land the ball? What’s the wind doing? Uphill or downhill?

To play effective ready golf, you need to start this process as soon as you get to your ball. Ideally, you would start thinking about these questions on the way to your ball and not wait until you get to the ball.

Do not stand around watching your partners without first planning your own approach. 

Make Your Stroke & Repeat

Once you have a plan and have selected a club, hit the shot! We’re playing ready golf, so hit the ball when you’re ready.

Watch your ball carefully and repeat the process.

When to Play Ready Golf

Ready golf should be played everywhere! This includes the tee box, the fairway or approach shots, and around or on the greens.

Most golf games that you might play don’t require strict playing order. Formal match play games are better when playing order is kept, but it’s not necessary. There are a few quirky games like Bingo Bango Bongo or the Wolf golf game that do require playing order to be respected.

Play ready golf everywhere else and keep the game moving!

Playing Ready Golf
Always Play Ready Golf!

Tips & Etiquette for Ready Golf

Just because you’re playing ready golf, doesn’t mean you can ignore your playing partners. There is still some basic etiquette to keep in mind.

Positioning Yourself for Ready Golf

To start with, don’t get too far ahead of your playing partners. You want to be moving toward your ball as much as possible and as quickly as possible but getting too far in front of your fellow golfers is somewhat rude.

Also, be sure to keep the line of play clear. You can move ahead of the other players, but never stand directly between their ball and the hole along the line of play. This is very distracting and annoying. It can even slow things down when they have to ask you to move before playing their shot.

Instead, move forward along the side of the fairway and keep clear of the other golfers line of play.

Positioning Your Equipment for Ready Golf

Where you put your clubs and other gear is also an important consideration. This includes riding golf carts, push carts, stand bags, towels, and whatever else you use on the course.

Place your equipment efficiently for the next shot or the next hole. For example, always park your golf cart or leave your golf bag on the appropriate side of the green. That being the side of the green closest to the next tee box.

One of the most irritating things on the golf course is watching the group ahead of you walk across the green to collect their gear, only to be forced to wait and watch as they walk back across the green the other way.

Avoid Simultaneous Hitting

Ready golf is always good, but that doesn’t mean you want to hit at the same time as your partners, especially if they’re hitting near you. 

Make sure you check the nearby vicinity to be sure another player isn’t about to hit also. The sound of the club hitting the ball is loud and can be distracting. Also, the other player might need to yell fore (or cuss at themselves) in your back swing.

Just take a look around and hit right after or right before your fellow golfers.

Why Ready Golf SO Important

Golf is meant to be fun and waiting around is not that fun. The best rounds of golf play fast.

Golf rounds can take a long time under the best situations, so it’s important to keep a steady pace for your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of the other players in your group and playing behind you.

Slow play is the worst sin a golfer can commit. It will make people not want to play with you or play behind you. It is the best way to make enemies at your favorite golf course.


When you’re ready to play your shot, play it! Ready golf is as simple as that. 

Keep the pace moving and you’ll have more fun. All the other players will appreciate the effort too.

David Shelly
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