AJGA Pace of Play sponsored by Leupold ®

The Philosophy

Every golf course has its own rhythm and appropriate pace. This rhythm is expressed as an overall time to play the course and likewise for each individual hole. 

The AJGA’s goal is to establish an "overall time par” for each course we play, which is geared toward the ability of nationally-competitive junior golfers playing in threesomes.

How it works
Instructions to players
The green card and red card
Pace of play penalties
How to avoid a pace of play penalty (double red card)
Undue delay
Benefits of the AJGA Pace of Play Policy
Complete AJGA Pace of Play Policy
Glossary of AJGA Pace of Play Policy terms

How it works

The Tournament Committee will designate six (6) holes on the course as timing station checkpoints. Typically, checkpoints will be on hole Nos. 2, 5, 8, 11, 14 and 17.

A volunteer will be stationed at the green of each timing checkpoint, using color-coded cards (green, single red or double red) to indicate a group’s gap time relative to the group in front of them and relation to the designated overall time par on the course. It is the responsibility of the player to know which cards they receive at all checkpoint holes.

Factors used to determine overall time par

Instructions to players

All players should take responsibility to ensure every member in the group is following the AJGA Pace of Play Guidelines.

1.) Realize your group is “on the clock” as soon as you play from the teeing ground on your first hole.

2.) Play ready golf throughout your entire round.


  • MUST – The first player to finish playing a hole MUST immediately grab their bag and start making their way to the next tee.
  • MUST – The player MUST also be the first person to play from the next teeing ground.
  • MAY – This player MAY tee off if they want to.

4.) When spotters, officials or parents are available to help search for a potentially lost ball, the AJGA recommends that the other players go forward to play his next shot or shots and HOLD THE GROUP'S POSITION ON THE GOLF COURSE.

5.) WALK WITH A PURPOSE between shots!

The green card and red card

The green card
A green card will be issued when a group is in position AND/OR within overall time par through that checkpoint.

The red card
A single red card will be issued when a group is out of position AND behind overall time par through that checkpoint. When a group receives a single red card, each member of the group will receive a red card (left) containing information filled out by the Rules Official.

Pace of play penalties

There are two types of penalties that may be assessed after a group receives a double red card:

  • Group penalty: A one-stroke penalty may be assessed to each member in the group if the group receives a double red card. Only an AJGA Rules Official will assess penalties.

  • Individual penalties: After a double red card, a one-stroke penalty may be assessed to a player(s) who has recorded bad times, who is not playing ready golf and/or is lacking effort to make up time.

Throughout the round, Rules Officials will collect data on players including slow-playing habits and bad times. A bad time is defined as taking more than 45 seconds to play a shot without distractions.

*A penalty stroke is added to the hole where the first red card was issued. Penalties will be confirmed with the group by an AJGA Rules Official and verified in the scoring area.

How to avoid a pace of play penalty (double red card)

To avoid a penalty situation following a single red card, a group must fulfill one of the following at its next checkpoint:

  • Regain position (gap time) with the group immediately ahead through next checkpoint (green card).
  • Make up enough time to be on or below overall time par through next checkpoint (green card).
  • Gain one minute on overall time par from single red card checkpoint to the following checkpoint (extending the single red card).

* If a group receives a red card at a checkpoint which is immediately preceding their final hole, and the final hole is played at or under overall time par, no penalty will be enforced. 

Undue Delay

If a player records five (5) bad times during the round, they may receive a one-stroke penalty for undue delay. Players will be warned after receiving three (3) and four (4) bad times. A player may receive another penalty stroke if they record two (2) or more additional bad times.

*A penalty for undue delay can be issued whether or not a group has received a red card.

Benefits of the AJGA Pace of Play Policy

  • AJGA Pace of Play currently averages under 4 hours and 25 minutes
  • Each group plays the course in similar amount of time
  • Players are off the golf course and out of the heat quicker
  • Volunteer work time is reduced
  • Ensures completion of rounds and ability to make cuts
  • Allows maintenance more time to prepare for subsequent rounds
  • Course returned for member-play sooner
  • Rules Officials can be Rules Officials and do not have to be timers

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