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On your marks! Get ready for golf

A STAFFORDSHIRE club is tackling one of the biggest issues facing golf – by advising its players on a new scheme to help them get a move on!

Slow play is often cited as a reason for not enjoying a round of golf, despite the sport’s many health and social benefits.

Now Lichfield Golf and Country Club has launched a campaign aimed at cutting the amount of time it takes for the average four-mile walk associated with 18 holes of golf.

‘Ready Golf’ sets down a series of guidelines to help players speed up their play without detracting from the pleasure of their round.

At its core is the principle that each player, within a group, hits their shot as soon as they are ready and it is safe to do so.

Simon Joyce, Lichfield’s director of golf, says: “This initiative allows us to keep play moving and also keep the enjoyment of play high. It highlights the slower players, giving our marshals a clearer indication of who to approach out on the course.

“Players, of course, must still prescribe to the Rules of Golf, with this just being a slight tweak to the sport’s traditional etiquette with the player ‘taking the honour’ still being the main focus of attention.

“If someone says you need to play faster, it does not mean you need to abbreviate or eliminate your pre-shot routine; it just means to better manage yours and your group’s time between shots.”

Club captain Rob Taylor declares: “It’s just so simple to see through.

“I now hear comments on our course such as: ‘If you are ready just play’ ‘I am not ready yet, play your shot’ ‘I will just play my shot and come over to help you look for your ball’

“Playing Ready Golf at our club has improved the pace of play and players do not get offended by playing out of turn.”

Gareth Shaw, county development officer for the Staffordshire Golf Development Group, has welcomed the initiative.

He says: “I believe Ready Golf goes hand in hand with our shorter formats focus and how we can improve the enjoyment of the sport and attract new players to golf”.

Hints for players include:

Tee off as soon as the group ahead is clear.

The player who is ready should hit, not necessarily the one with the honour.

Don’t all “cluster” at one ball, go to your own ball!

Hit when ready without delay.

Take your practice swings immediately if it does not disturb the player hitting. Watch their shot land to guard against the possibility for a lost ball, and then go through your own routine and swing away.

If you are the first one at your ball and you’re ready to safely hit, let the others know that you are hitting.

Limit lost ball search to three minutes, except under competition rules.

Study your putt while others are putting.

Continue putting until holed out. Don’t mark unless you will step on someone’s line or it’s a really tricky putt.

If you can’t score, quit putting and pick up.

Pictured is Lichfield’s director of golf Simon Joyce.