Here are some things that you need to get right out on the course.

1. Tee off on time

For competitions and golf clubs to work golfers need to stick to tee times. A player must tee off at (and not before) their starting time unless there are extenuating circumstances such as extreme weather or the group in front still being in range.

The penalty for breaching Rule 5.3a is disqualification from the competition. But there are three exceptions that may see you escape being thrown out.

a) If you arrive, ready to play, no more than five minutes later then you will receive a general penalty which is two strokes to your first hole in strokeplay and a loss of hole in matchplay.
b) The same applies if you start no more than five minutes early which is a part of the ruling that few golfers might know.
c) If there are exceptional circumstances then the committee may be able to let you off and no penalty applied.

2. Ready golf

There is no need to rush your round but Ready Golf is a great way to not impact your game but also make it quicker. It was brought in to encourage golfers to play when it is safe to do so as opposed to the Rule 6.4b that many of us have grown up with the furthest player from the hole to always play first.

This only works in strokeplay as matchplay offers a different strategy but it can work well when a shorter hitter  can tee off first when the group ahead are not in range or if one player has a difficult decision to make and needs more time or, simply, that one player is ready to play on a tee. We all know who are the quicker players in our fourballs and this is a great way for those to take the lead and get the group into the right rhythm.

Another overlooked and easy way to keep the course moving is to wave through a quicker group behind rather than slow everyone down.

3. Look after the course

By doing the very simple things well it will make a big difference to your course playing a lot better. Nobody wants to arrive on a green with lots of pitchmarks. A well-repaired pitchmark will recover in half the time if done properly.

Insert the pitchfork repairer tool just outside the back of the pitchmark, lever the turf towards the centre of the pitchmark, repeat this motion from all sides and then tap everything down. You want to leave the green in a better shape than how you found it so, while your playing partners are putting, take a few moments to make some additional repairs.

The same with bunkers. Take some care when leaving the sand to make it as smooth for the players behind you rather than any unsightly footprints. Likewise divots – we all want to enjoy our golf as much as possible and these are some very easy wins.

4. Keep quiet

We don't want golf to be played in silence but we do like to have some quiet over our shots. We're all different in this regard, and things are certainly changing in certain areas of the professional game, but we should certainly respect our playing partners and save the chat for when we've all teed off. And we should definitely have some awareness of who's playing their shot and let them do it in peace.

When you're starting out in the game watch what an experienced golfer is doing while others are playing and take your lead from them.

Also, get into the habit of shouting 'fore' if a ball is heading towards another group. There is nothing awkward about doing this and you should give those in danger as early a warning as possible to take precautions.

5. Play a provisional

We might not enjoy the process of hitting a provisional as it's generally followed a poor shot but it's a habit that we should all get into. It's a lot quicker (and easier for your mental game) than facing that dreaded walk back to the tee after not finding it. And also state that you're playing a provisional - if you fail to make it clear that you intend to play a provisional ball and play another ball, that ball is not a provisional ball and is in play. So you might find the first one but it won't count.

The ruling for a lost ball these days is three minutes. So, if you're playing in a competition, be aware that your playing partner may well point out that your time is up.

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