Balancing golf etiquette with pace of play

Pace of Play
Trying to follow golf etiquette and keep up the pace on a round of golf can be tricky, but PGA Professional Greg Stephens give us some tips on how to accomplish both.
By Michael Benzie
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Problem Area: Fundamentals
Series: Ask the Experts

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | 9:43 a.m.

I'm often wondering on the golf course how I can balance the speed of my round with playing a round of golf that's respectful of etiquette, my playing partners and my own enjoyment. For instance, I don't want to hold back the entire golf course, but I also don't want to play rushed, or make partners feel rushed.

Example, waiting on the green to putt because another ball is "away" but the golfer is, say, walking from his or her shot. I decided to get some insight from an expert, and asked PGA Professional Greg Stephens, Club Manager and Director of Golf at Victory Ranch & Conservancy.

Not only is it possible, Stephens says, but the two can be accomplished at the same time.

Q: How do I balance etiquette with speed of play?

Stephens: Balancing etiquette and pace of play is not as tricky as it may seem and actually the two go hand in hand. Etiquette is an important part of the game as is pace of play.

The biggest key to playing golf in a timely manner is doing all of your prep work while your partners are hitting their shots.

READ: The unwritten rules of golf | Your unwritten rules of golf

I often see amateurs playing golf in a way that prohibits fast play. Most amateurs will watch their playing partner go through their routine, hit their shot and watch the ball in flight. 

This is valuable time wasted, especially when you take into account the fact that the player who was just spectating now has to go through his or her pre-shot routine. The next time you tee it up with your buddies try getting your yardage, picking your club and setting your plan for the next shot all while your partner is hitting his shot. As soon as you hear them make contact with their golf ball start your pre shot routine. 

Doing this quietly while they are hitting their shot will ensure your are exercising proper etiquette.

Mike Benzie is director of content of

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