"How to Play Ready Golf"
Written by Pat Barry/Jill Hammergren
FROM THE TEE BOX
Men generally hit from the white or middle tees. Because their tee boxes are behind the women's tees (red or forward tees), they generally tee off first. However, ready golf means that the first person with golf club, tee and ball in hand should tee off first. This is on all holes, regardless of who won the previous hole. This speeds up play on the course. If you believe your tee shot landed out of bounds (behind white stakes), you should tee up and hit a Provisional Ball. If you cannot find or cannot play your ball where it lies, you must play the Provisional Ball under a penalty of one stroke. On your second shot, you will be lying 3.
FROM THE FAIRWAY
This same rule pertains to a shot hit from the fairway out of bounds. Hit a Provisional Ball from the original position and then determine which ball is playable. Don't forget, any time you play the Provisional Ball, you incur a one stroke penalty in addition to the shot you are playing.
Another opportunity to keep pace is for a player with a ball in the middle of the fairway to hit ahead of another player, who is searching for a ball either in the woods or tall grass.
Players lined up similar distances from the green should always make their club selections then proceed directly to their balls. This helps players get ready to hit when their turns arrive.
Players on the fringe of the green may hit onto the green while a player analyzes how to hit out of the sand or some other obstacle. Again, this keeps play moving as long as you are safely out of the other player's way.
When a player hits toward the green but the ball goes beyond the green, another player may hit up to the green to get her ball onto the putting surface. The first player will then have time to get to her ball and prepare to hit again.
SAND BUNKER (FAIRWAY OR GREENSIDE)
When entering a sand bunker, always enter from the low side, so as not to break down the integrity of the design. Take a rake with you and put it near your ball location. That way, it will be available for grooming immediately after you hit your ball.
ON THE PUTTING GREEN
In a situation when all players but one are on the green and that person is on the fringe but closer to the hole than the player on the green, who hits first? Per USGA rules, the person farthest away on the putting surface hits first. However, in ready golf, the player on the fringe may prefer to have the flagstick left in the hole. So, the player on the fringe may go first and then have the flagstick removed from the hole. Alternatively, the player farthest away may hit first while another player tends the flag. The flag should be pulled immediately after farthest player on the green putts. Then replace the flag for the player on the fringe, if requested. Again in ready golf, if the player farthest from the hole is not ready, another player may putt first to keep the pace moving.
TENDING THE FLAG
Stand out of all players' lines of putt and be aware of your shadow. Do not allow it to cover the hole or the line of the player who is putting. Also, hold the flag itself so it does not blow in the wind. Flagsticks must be out of the hole whenever a ball is putted from the green.
MARKING YOUR BALL
Each player should mark their ball when it reaches the green without waiting to be asked to do so. Be aware of the other player's lines. Do not walk on them. The proper place for the marker is directly behind the ball. If another player prefers you to move your mark out of their line, then ask them which direction. First mark it where it lies and then move it one putter foot length in the direction requested. When replacing your ball, again use the putter foot length to put the ball back where it originally stopped.
If a player hits a long putt and the ball stops within four feet of the hole or closer, that player could choose to finish putting out. It is faster to do this than to mark the ball and wait for another player to get ready to putt. This is only a choice, as some putts may require more analysis or may put a player in another player's line.
RECORD YOUR SCORE ON THE NEXT TEE
After you finish the hole, leave the green immediately. Write the score when you reach the next tee box.