Pace of Play Policy
The purpose of the AGA Pace of Play Policy is to provide timely play for the entire field. This policy and its guidelines have been established in accordance with Rule 6-7 which states, "The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the Committee may establish,” and, “time for a stroke should not exceed 40 seconds, and should be less than that in normal play.” These philosophical statements govern pace of play enforcement.
In AGA Championship, Tour Events and USGA Qualifiers, the Committee will establish, and make available to all players, an allotted time (TimePar) for each hole of the stipulated round. This TimePar system will be used as a baseline for the Pace of Play Policy, but will not limit any player's responsibility to play in accordance with the Rules of Golf.
In AGA Senior Series, Club Team and Member Day events, groups are expected to be within one hole of the group in front. Groups not maintaining this position will be asked to move forward taking net par or 0 Stableford points, whichever is applicable.
Time Par is set for the first three groups. After the third group, proper pace is based on remaining “in position,” which means within 14 minutes of the group in front. If a group falls behind, they have one timing increment (# holes between checkpoints) to recover before becoming liable to a penalty. Individuals immediately become liable to a penalty for any action outside Rules compliance which prevents a group from regaining position (see 6-7 violations listed below). For following groups, no penalty would be applied IF they maintain TimePar from the time they are notified or miss their first checkpoint.
From two to six checkpoints will be employed, determined by the scope of the event and volunteer support. Scoring/Pace monitors will be responsible for notifying players (by flags, not verbally) of their relative positions on the course and collecting scores for the Live Scoring services. Scores will be available to all players at azgolf.org. Green flag indicates on time and in position; yellow flag, the group is either over TimePar or out of position, but not both; red flag, players are liable to a penalty. If a group receives a red flag, penalty will not be applied IF group maintains TimePar or regains position for subsequent checkpoints.
Monitors are not Pace Officials. A separate Rules or Pace Official will speak to players and hear appeals. As players complete a checkpoint hole, the Monitor will indicate their pace by displaying a flag.
Pace Rules Application: General
First Missed Checkpoint: Red Card; Penalty situation IF one or more players are making no clear effort to improve position. This would include failing to call a group through when in search, walking slowly, stopping between nines or holes without a legitimate reason.
Second Missed Checkpoint: Penalty must be applied to all players, unless one or more can be exonerated by a pace official.
Third Missed Checkpoint: Penalty is mandatory. One or more players may be exempted from penalty by virtue of a visible effort to regain position by that individual. This determination may be made by a Pace Official or the Committee.
Pace Rules Application: 2 Checkpoints
If a group misses TimePar for either nine and finishes more than 14 minutes behind the group in front, the group will receive one stroke penalties unless the second nine under scheduled TimePar. If a group fails both checkpoints and is over TimePar on both nines, two stroke penalties will be imposed. Monitors may or may not be present. The Committee may exempt a player from penalty based upon evidence of an official appointed by the Committee.
Exceptions where penalties may be avoided
- The group is delayed by a ruling, interference from an outside agency, or otherwise by a situation unrelated to the playing of the game;
- Sudden illness or injury (up to ten minutes of delay)
- After falling out of position, a group meets TimePar until it regains position of the remainder of the round.
No checkpoints employed
TimePar will still govern play when checkpoints are not manned. Officials will issue a warning to groups behind TimePar and out of position with the group in front of them. Groups will have three holes to either: a) regain position; or, b) play the next three holes under TimePar. If they fail to meet either criteria, individuals become liable for a one stroke penalty. If the group does not improve as stated in the following three holes, they become liable for a second one stroke penalty. Repeated failures to improve position may result in a disqualification of one or more players.
A Pace Chart may be published. If any group fails to meet TimePar and return a scorecard within 15 minutes of the group in front of them, they are subject to a one stroke penalty; within 20 minutes, a minimum of a one stroke penalty will be applied; more than 25 minutes, a two-stroke penalty will be imposed.
If the group fails to regain its position on the course after being notified that it is out of position, each player in the group will be liable to a one-stroke penalty and the group will be expected to regain its position within two holes. Additional penalties may be applied by the Committee for excessive delays.
There are two types of delay violations: Undue Delay under Rule 6-7 and Pace violations under the AGA Local Rule. Undue delay penalties are loss of hole in match play and two strokes in stroke play. Second violations result in disqualification. Pace penalties are one stroke for the first violation, two strokes for the second, and disqualification for a third in the same round.
Examples of Undue Delay include but are not limited to the following:
- Returning to some prior place to retrieve forgotten items if so doing delays play for more than two minutes. (Decision 6-7/1)
- Going forward to gather information while out of position (more than to identify the location of a target); or, while in position, if such an action delays either the player's own play or that of a fellow competitor more than an additional one minute.
- Taking in excess of two minutes to play any stroke.
- Failing to call a following group through when in search for a ball or waiting for a ruling while the group behind is waiting to play and the original group is out of position.
- Searching for a ball after the five minutes permitted has expired.
- Delaying a fellow competitor's or opponent's play by interfering with them unnecessarily.
- Any actions which cause a group to lose position that are unrelated to the playing of the game
A player or group may appeal a penalty to the Committee prior to signing the scorecard. No appeal will be heard unless circumstances exist which were previously unknown to the Committee and unrelated to the playing of the game.
If a player or group is in jeopardy of being assessed a penalty, there are several ways to improve pace. They include, but are not limited to, making a stroke in 30 seconds or less, letting groups through while in search, and moving promptly between holes. If a Rules Official or the Committee witness an effort by one or more players, this information may become a basis for an exemption from a penalty.