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 Rules of Golf which state, “The player must not unreasonably delay in play of a stroke or play of the group, either when playing a hole or between two holes,” and, “It is recommended that the player make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds…and should usually be able to play more quickly than that… 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 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.
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 for a penalty for any action outside Rules compliance which prevents a group from regaining position (see specific actions covered below). For following groups, no penalty would be applied IF it maintains TimePar from the time notified or the first checkpoint is missed.
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, a 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 because of the actions of a group in front (running to regain position), a group meets TimePar until it regains position for the remainder of the round.
Events Without Checkpoints
TimePar will still govern play when there are no checkpoints. 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 under TimePar for those and subsequent holes. If they fail to meet either criteria, individuals become liable for a one-stroke penalty. If the group does not improve as stated within the following three holes, players 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.
Senior Series, Member Days, Club Team
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
There are two types of delay violations: those for group delays under the policies stated above and those immediately applicable to individuals on the course. In any case, efforts will be made to determine individual culpability to avoid indiscriminate applications against an entire group.
Penalties unrelated to group position:
- Returning to some prior place to retrieve forgotten items if so doing delays play for more than five minutes. In such case, the player has an obligation to play more quickly to aid the group in maintaining position.
- 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 at any time.
- Searching for a ball after the three 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
Timing of a stroke begins when the player has had a reasonable time to reach the teeing area or position of the ball, and there is no physical interference with the stroke to be made, plus a few seconds. When out of position, times in excess of 60 seconds may result in a warning to the individual. A second excess timing will result in a penalty.
A player or group may appeal a penalty to the Committee prior to signing the scorecard. No appeal will be heard unless circumstances responsible for delay existed 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, playing “ready golf”, 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 exemption from a penalty.