Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ask Linda #1165-Ignoring honors, playing out of turn

Hi Linda,
Could you please help us with a problem we have at our club? We usually play ready golf, as it makes the field keep moving, but we have a member who will only play honors. She claims it is a rule. I can't find this in the rules. Could you please tell me if this is a rule? 
Thank you,
Lulu from Australia

Dear Lulu,

There is no penalty for playing out of turn in stroke play [Rule 10-2c]. (There is no penalty in match play, either, but a player in match play has the option to recall her opponent’s stroke if the opponent plays out of turn.)

There is an exception to this Rule: If it is determined that competitors agree to play out of turn in order to give one of them an advantage, they are disqualified. For example, suppose Lulu and Tubby are on the green, looking at a similar line of putt. Lulu’s ball is further from the hole. Tubby suggests that he putt first to show her the line, and Lulu says: “Great. Fire away, Tub.” Lulu and Tubby would be disqualified.

“Ready golf” is encouraged by the USGA (and probably the R&A) to help speed up the pace of play. I would encourage it for most club play. The only time I personally insist on playing with “honors” is during my home course’s Club Championship, when I feel that the seriousness of the competition merits the dignity of playing in correct order.

You will rarely see the pros playing out of turn. They can sometimes learn something by watching another player’s shot, and they would not want to deny themselves that opportunity. Besides, as those of us who watch the pros may have observed, pace of play is not high on their list of priorities. However, it should be a high priority for amateurs, and I commend your group for playing “ready golf.” 


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