The R&A is one of golfs main governing bodies, and they are implementing major changes to amateur tournaments this season. ‘Ready Golf’ will now be used in stroke play qualifying rounds. This is a good idea and will undoubtedly speed up the pace of play.
The new rules will have an effect at a couple high profile amateur in the coming weeks, both the British Amateur Championship and the Ladies British Open Championship. ‘Ready Golf’ is a common practice in club play, and it’s about time it becomes the norm in amateur play.
What makes ‘Ready Golf’ great for the amateur circuit is it will greatly speed up play, and will keep the players performing at a high level in rhythm. It simply keeps the game moving along better.
Examples of ‘Ready Golf’:
- If one Player A hits his ball into the brush and is holding play up, and Player B is ready to hit again he can go right ahead while player A continues to search for his ball.
- Shorter hitters can play first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait
- When not playing your shot, prepare to play shot
- Putting out, even if being close to someone else’s line
At the Royal & Ancient Golf Club’s spring meeting, a trial of ‘Ready Golf’ provided significantly faster results. Duncan Weir, the R&A’s executive director of Golf Development, said they are implementing ‘Ready Golf’ “to help improve pace of play and the experience for the players and spectators.” They couldn’t wait until 2019, like the rest of the proposed new rules of golf.
Weir has the right idea on both fronts. For the players, this will only make the good ones even better. For the spectators, they will be seeing quicker golf, with more action and less delays. This should only increase the intrigue of fans wanting to go check out the stroke play rounds of amateur tournaments.
Match Play has a different strategy, thus ‘Ready Golf’ will stay out of that portion of amateur tournaments. The R&A’s decision appears to be welcomed nearly unanimously, and I am standing with the masses in this regard.