Callaway AI Smoke Clubs
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Drummond Golf oct 2020
Tick Tock - when to take your shot
By PGA Pro Ali Orchard

 One of the biggest concerns I hear from players when they are on the course is the group behind were so close, I began to rush and then just kept making mistakes.

This is a part of transitioning from practising on the driving range to being on the course. I have a few tips, guidelines and rules to share that will ease your mind, improve your pace of play and help you commit to achieving better golf shots.   

Speeding up play

There are several strategies we can use to speed up play out on the course. This applies to everyone – from beginners to experienced players:

Call a group

If you are playing as a group of four and a two ball comes up behind you and are often waiting before they can hit, you can call them to play through. This is a great way to ease the stress of trying to rush and keeps everyone happy. Your group of four can all play your shot but then stand to the side of the hole, waving to the players indicating to them to “play through and go ahead of your group”.

Walk briskly

Always walk briskly on the golf course. This has multiple benefits for your fitness as well as saving quality time which can be spent on your shot. If you are in a cart, take the most direct route to you ball.

Carts and buggies

When you arrive at the green, always leave your golf buggies or carts at the back of the green, or to the left or right, whichever side is closer to the next tee. This will help clear the green for the next playing group and get to your next tee sooner.

Play ready golf

When you get to the tee, regardless of the score on the last hole, whoever can hit first should go. If you are playing traditionally in a Championship format this may not be an option and you should adhere to the etiquette and rules in a match play format. But wherever possible, the ready golf rules should apply and will help the pace of play.  

Time out

It’s ok to take a short break while out on course but be considerate and manage your time. If you are furthest away from the hole, you should hit your shot, then mark your score card, go to the bathroom or eat after you have hit. Don’t hold up play while you do this.

By following these simple steps, everyone can relax in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to help the pace of the play.

Focus on your pre-shot routine

Now you get to put yourself first and TRUST your own process over the ball. This comes down to enjoying and trusting your pre-shot routine, which hopefully includes these key elements: 

  • Choosing the right club based on weather conditions, lie of the ball and of course hitting distance.
  • Purchasing a laser is a great way to find out the correct distance without having to guess. I can promise you they save time and are so much fun!
  • A practice swing to help you feel the shot you want to hit.
  • Visualising the shot you want to hit.
  • A positive thought over the ball. Keep it simple. “You’ve got this!”

Slow down to speed up 

Giving yourself time to complete your pre-shot routine might seem counter intuitive but it actually helps to speed up play. When we rush, we often make irrational decisions and regret what we have done. How many times have you hit a shot you weren’t happy with and then said, “I rushed it!”? Slowing down gives us time to make informed decisions and commit to a process.

The next time you are feeling rushed by the group behind, remember that you have already done everything you can to speed up your play and you are allowed to take reasonable time to hit your shot.

Under the R&A Rules of Golf, Rule 5.6b Prompt Pace of Play states it is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are (or should be) able to play without interference or distraction; and you should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.

Think about this: the average player takes around 10 seconds or so to play a stroke. That is a lot less time than recommended and really not enough time to commit to a solid pre-shot routine.

Next time you play, instead of rushing to play your shot in 10 seconds, be confident in the knowledge that you are allowed 40 seconds to make your stroke. You certainly won’t take this long on each shot but it’s good to keep this in the back of your mind. Be reassured that the time you spend preparing for each shot is important.

By following these steps, I know you can back yourselves to not let the players behind you ruin your day out. When you’ve done everything you can to play promptly on course, you can focus on your own game and play with confidence.   

Get in touch for a private or a group lesson with Ali at