Don’t panic. Don’t run. Just pick up the pace.
The initial thoughts of many players when they see their first red card is to run because they fear a penalty. However, running and panicking are not efficient ways to play on a red card.
How can I pick up my pace?
Once your group receives a red card, this means your group has fallen out of position with the group in front of you AND your group is behind time. Below are a few simple tips on how to pick up the pace and get back in position.
First and foremost, play ready golf! Everyone knows what this is, but rarely do we act upon it. If you come up to your ball and your fellow competitor is farther out but still not ready to play, go ahead and play your shot. This way your group is constantly moving.
Secondly, when you are walking toward your ball, check the yardage plate/AJGA stencil on the way. If you pace off your steps in advance, you already know the distance once you arrive at your ball. The same goes when you are on the green; read your putt before it is your turn to play.
Next, make sure you are walking with a purpose. This means you are walking swiftly and moving along at a reasonable speed.
Finally, when you get to the green, place your bag off to the side of the green nearest to where you would walk toward the next tee box. Then, whoever is the first person finished with the hole, quietly walk to your bag and head to the next teeing ground. Once you arrive at the next teeing ground, update your scorecard; check your yardage and you may tee off. We ask that if you tee off, please wait for the rest of your group before continuing to walk forward. However, if you do not tee off before your group gets to the tee; you are expected to be the first one to play when everyone else arrives.
Things to keep in mind:
A red card is not a penalty.
A red card is not shown to scare a player.
An AJGA staff member will monitor a groups pace when they are on red card and remind them of the ways to get back on time or in position.
A red card is merely a warning, a sign shown to the players to get them back on track and catch up with the group in front of them.
For more information on the AJGA's 'Setting the Pace' educational series, or the AJGA Pace of Play Policy, please contact Tournament Coordinator Samantha Hirshberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.