Conduct on the Course

The game of golf relies upon the need to respect the rights of others. The two most important threats to the wellbeing of the game are slow play and lack of consideration for other people on the course.  It is very hard to enjoy your round if the group or groups ahead of you are slow or inconsiderate; but equally it is just as hard for those behind you if you or your group fall into that category!  While it is accepted that more elderly golfers will move less quickly than younger golfers, and that inexperienced golfers will hit more shots per round, the biggest source of slow play is due not to these factors but to bad time management.  Next time you play, quietly note how long it takes a slow group between putting the flag back in the hole and the first player teeing off at the next hole: it should be around a minute or less at most holes at Onneley, maybe 90 seconds at the few where the distance green-to-tee is extended.  If they are not being held up, you will see that they typically take over two minutes, because they fail to be ready to play as soon as they are able to do so.  But before you complain about them, time your own group’s performance!

So the biggest losses are due to failure to prepare for the next shot or the next hole before it is your turn to play.  The 2019 Rules of Golf recognise these issues explicitly and here at Onneley we expect all players – whether members, visitors or guests – to obey both the letter and the spirit of these rules changes.  Please therefore familiarise yourself with the rules and the practical steps listed below as ways in which to speed up your pace of play in a stroke-play competition.  (Those denoted with an asterisk apply equally to match-play.)

  1. Do not take more than 40 seconds to play each shot, as measured from the time you were able to hit it, until you actually did. (Note that this is not the time that is allowed from the point at which you address the ball, but from the point at which you should have been ready to play.)*
  2. You are not permitted to spend more than three minutes searching for a ball. If you and an opponent, fellow-competitor or competitors agree to ignore the rule, each of you is disqualified.*
  3. If two people in a group have hit balls into areas where a search will be needed, don’t search for one then the other – unless you are prepared to call the following group through as soon as they are in a position to tee off or play. (And remember that the three-minute clock does not stop while you wait for them to do that.)  Otherwise split into two search groups and search for both balls simultaneously.*
  4. When teeing off or playing subsequent shots do not wait until the group ahead is clear of the longest hitter in your group. Rather, get the shorter hitters to play as soon as they are able safely to do so.
  5. The 40-second budget may seem ungenerous, and it is if you wait until it is your turn to play to decide shot and club selection. Do all of that while others are playing their shots and/or while you are walking to the ball, and you will find that the time allowance is more than sufficient.*
  6. On arriving at the green, deposit your bag or trolley as near as possible to the exit line from the green and out of the line of play of the group following, rather than leaving it near your line of approach to it.*
  7. Clear the area of the green as soon as you complete the hole, rather than checking scores etc. before heading for the next tee.*
  8. On arrival at the tee do not complete the process of checking scores if one or more of the group can tee off immediately. The first player able to play should do so as soon as possible and then carry out the score agreement after the tee shot.
  9. You should not stand in a position that hinders others in your group or in other groups on the course, nor should you make noise while anyone nearby is playing a shot.*
  10. While you may need or wish to speak with a person in another group on the course, please remember that you are thereby preventing play by two groups and anyone held up behind either of them. You should do so as briefly as possible and not to the detriment of other players.
  11. Last, if the group ahead of you has increased by a full hole the lead that they had at the 1st tee, and the group behind has stood and waited for you to play on two or more occasions, it is not that they are playing too fast. You are too slow; you must call the following group through – then speed up.*