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Pace of Play Policy
The goal of the U.S. Kids Golf Pace of Play Policy is to help players complete rounds in a timely manner and to make the game more enjoyable for everybody.
Pace of Play Factors
A group’s pace of play is based on two factors: the amount of time the group has taken to play relative to time par, and the group’s position on the golf course relative to the group ahead.
The committee calculates the time a group is expected to finish each hole, and the time par is noted on the bottom of the official scorecard. A hole is complete when the flagstick is replaced in the hole after all players in the group have holed out. Each hole is assigned a predetermined amount of time, based on the hole’s par (Par 3s – 14 minutes; Par 4s – 15; Par 5s – 16). All 9-hole players are given one minute more per hole. Additional time may be added to make the turn and for certain holes or courses, at the committee’s discretion.
A group is in position when it completes a hole within 14 minutes of the group ahead. All groups are in position on the final hole of the round if they finish within 19 minutes of the group ahead. The first group to tee off does not have a position relative to the group ahead and is judged solely based on time.
There will be at least two timing checkpoints per nine holes. At each checkpoint, an official will give all players a card indicating the group’s pace-of-play status (green or red).
Green Card (On pace)
The group is within the time par OR in position with the group ahead. A group only needs to meet one of these criteria in order to receive a green card. Groups receiving green cards need to remain mindful of their time and position on the golf course. Groups that are given red cards tend to increase their pace of play. It is the responsibility of each group to remain within time par or in position (within 14 minutes) of the group ahead.
Red Card (Penalty)
The group is behind the allotted time and out of position with the group ahead. A group receives a red card if it fails to meet both criteria. Each time a group receives a red card, each player in the group is penalized one stroke (the penalty is applied to the hole just completed).
Rescinding a Penalty
Any and all prior one-stroke penalties will be rescinded each time a group receives a green card, by:
- Regaining “in position” status with the group ahead. This requires the group to finish a checkpoint hole within 14 minutes, flagstick replaced to flagstick replaced, of the group ahead. On the final hole, the group must finish within 19 minutes of the group ahead.
- Reaching the checkpoint within the allotted time par listed on the scorecard.
Pace of Play Penalties
If a group receives a Red Card at consecutive checkpoints, each player in the group will be assessed a one-stroke penalty on the hole at which the second red card was issued. After a group receives its first Red Card, a one-stroke penalty can be avoided if a Green Card is received at the next checkpoint.
Appealing a Pace of Play Penalty
Players may appeal a pace of play penalty after the completion of play and prior to returning the scorecard. The committee will consider the facts of the situation, and penalties may be rescinded for the group or individual players. Players and caddies must NEVER confront a checkpoint volunteer with an appeal.
Pace of Play Tips
- Play “ready golf” throughout your round, even if your group is on a Green Card.
- Be ready to play when it is your turn.
- Play a provisional ball if you believe your ball may be out of bounds or lost through the green (outside of a hazard). Be sure to announce your intention to play a provisional.
- Play a second ball under Rule 3-3. If a player has doubt as to procedure, he/she may complete the hole with two balls and a ruling may be made at the end of the round. The player must announce which ball he/she would like to score with, if the Rules permit, and the facts of the situation must be reported to the Committee before the player returns his/her scorecard. This is an alternative to waiting for a Rules Official to make a ruling and can allow a group to continue playing without delay.
If you receive a Red Card…
- Stay calm and remember that the group may rescind its penalty if it gets a Green Card.
- Improve your routine between shots so your pre-shot routine can remain unaffected.
- Walk with a purpose between shots; running is not necessary.
- Walk immediately to your ball, even if a fellow competitor is looking for a ball, taking relief from a hazard, or receiving a ruling from an official.
Revised March 3, 2014
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