Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ask Linda #1248-Playing out of turn

Dear Linda,
Decision 10-2c/2 states that it is allowed in Stroke Play to play out of turn, since no advantage was gained from it. This Decision covers the situation for one hole. My questions are:
1. Is this also acceptable if players do this on more holes, but hole by hole, again just to save time and not to give a player an advantage?
2. Is it allowed that the players agree to change the order of play (before the start of play) for the holes where they deem it necessary, again, just for the benefit of speed?
Kind regards,
Lou from Holland

Dear Lou,

The only time playing out of turn is penalized in stroke play is if the players have agreed to do so in order to give one of them an advantage. In that case, the players involved would be disqualified [Rule 10-2c]. Your questions seem to be asking whether it is permissible to agree to play “ready golf.” If that is the case, the answer to both of your questions is “yes.”

The Rules do not object to competitors playing out of turn for a better pace of play. I am in favor of just about anything that moves the game along quicker.

Personally, in a serious competition, I prefer to play in turn as much as possible. I believe it lends a certain dignity and rhythm to the game. However, just to use one example, if I am searching for a ball, and a fellow competitor is waiting to hit because my ball is behind his, I will always suggest that he go ahead and hit, after which he can help me in my search.

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