Under the 2012-2015 Rules of Golf the player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the Committee (AJGA) may establish. In addition to during play of a hole, the player must not unduly delay play between the play of two holes.
Players are given 45 seconds to play a shot once it is the player’s turn to play and there are no distractions. A distraction would be classified as something that is preventing the player from making a stroke at the ball. Some examples of distractions are players in the group in front, a maintenance vehicle or an animal running across the hole. Weather conditions such as wind and rain are not in themselves distractions. Once the distraction has cleared the 45 seconds will start. This time includes getting yardage, feeling for wind direction, selecting a club and the player’s pre-shot routine. If the player feels like they cannot play a shot in 45 seconds it is recommended that the player try to do some of the above while his/her fellow-competitors are playing or while he/she is walking to their ball. It is not difficult for the player to find a yardage marker while walking down the fairway and pacing off to his/her ball while walking.
As part of the AJGA’s Pace of Play Policy rules officials will time players randomly during the round and at all times when on a red card. This is done to help gather information about the group and whether there is one player causing the group to be slow or everyone is playing a part in the slow play. According to the AJGA’s Pace of Play policy and the Rules of Golf players can receive an undue delay penalty without being on a red card. With each time over 45 seconds the rules official will make note. These times are called bad times. After three bad times the rules official will warn the player immediately of the situation. The rules official will do the same after the fourth bad time. The fifth bad time will be an immediate one stroke penalty and a seventh bad time will be another one stroke penalty.
A tip for all golfers: To avoid an undue delay penalty, play ready golf.
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.