Playing in an AJGA event can be nerve-wrecking; there is no doubt about that. The competition is fierce and every competitor is vying for the top spot at the end of the week. Making sure your group is Red Card free for the entire round can relieve you of the unnecessary stress of trying to go back on Green Card. Which brings us to a good point: What does it take to never receive a Red Card? How can you play in such a way that you’re making the most of your time on the course? Here are a few tips on how to play ready golf from the start of your round:
· Communicate: Remember that everyone is not used to playing ready golf, so a conversation before your round in the starter’s tent might be a good way to make sure everyone is on the same page. Reminders during the round are helpful too – a simple, “Go ahead if you’re ready,” is a good way to keep the ready golf going.
· Get Your Yardage Beforehand: As you are walking to your ball, look for sprinkler heads on the course with yardages on them, or locate an AJGA stencil. Pace off your yardage from these to your ball on your way up the fairway. Rarely should you have to walk ahead of your ball to locate a yardage. Be sure to peek a glance at your hole location sheet as well – when you arrive at your ball, you should be able to pull a club and go.
· Ready, Set, Glove: Knowing where your glove is located either in your bag or pockets may seem like a silly thing, but there is no harm in finding and putting your glove on before you arrive at your ball. Little things like this save 10-15 seconds per shot!
· Walk With a Purpose: Both before and after shots, you should be walking with a purpose. This does not mean run! It is okay to walk ahead a bit to get closer to your shot, just as long as you are being safe and not interfering with anyone else.
· Shot Preparation: Take advantage of the time when others are hitting, especially on the putting green, to analyze your next shot. Study your putts while your competitors are in the process of making a stroke. This way, when it’s your turn to play there is no delay.
These five things are simple and can be put into practice by anyone at any level of the game. By implementing these techniques into your tournament rounds, the chances of your group going on red card can be drastically reduced!
For more information on the AJGA's 'Setting the Pace' educational series, or the AJGA Pace of Play Policy, please contact Tournament Coordinator Samantha Hirshberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.