The first person that finishes the hole in a group (threesomes or foursomes) is always expected to head to the next tee. That player has the option to tee off right away or to wait until the rest of the group arrives. Either way, that player is still expected to be the first to play even if he chooses to wait for the rest of his group. In some instances the first player may not be able to leave the putting green immediately because his fellow-competitors are in the middle of hitting a putt. The players are encouraged to use their best judgment with regards to showing courtesy and etiquette in making their move to the next tee. Overall, by walking ahead to the next tee that person can theoretically save the group 45 seconds to one minute per hole which would result anywhere from 13 – 18 minutes a round..
Let’s look at two scenarios that detail the time saved between not walking ahead and walking ahead.
Not walking ahead…
- All 3 players finish putting out at a green and start walking together. Once all three players arrive at the next tee, each person takes their time to check wind and yardage and make a club selection. Once a ball is put into the air, anywhere from 45 seconds to one minute has elapsed from when all 3 players arrived at the tee. (13 – 18 minutes spent on the tee during the overall round before the first tee shot)
- The first player that finishes putting out starts walking to the tee while the other two players finish up at the last green. Once the first player reaches the tee, he checks wind and yardage and makes a club selection. By the time the other two players putt out and start walking to the tee, the first player is already ready to play and has a ball in play by the time the other players reach the green. (0 minutes spent on the tee before the first tee shot from when last player arrives)
As you can see in the “Walking Ahead” scenario, if the players do this the entire round, they will be saving at least 13 minutes per round which makes for a shorter, faster day for everybody.
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.