Golf Unreasonable Delay of Play Penalty

Golf Unreasonable Delay of Play

The unreasonable delay of play penalty in golf exists to help deter golfers from having a slow pace of play. Golfers will be given multiple penalties and warnings for this misconduct before they are disqualified from the competition. There are a few different ways in which a golfer can commit the unreasonable delay of play penalty.


Definition

This penalty refers to when a golfer unreasonably slows the pace of play when either playing a hole or between two holes. Golfers are expected to play at a prompt pace during both match and stroke play. Golfers should prepare for their shots and move to their next one in a reasonable amount of time. In general, golfers should take a maximum of 40 seconds to hit their shot after they have approached the ball. In addition, golfers must move to the next tee box in a reasonable amount of time. When golfers fail to comply with these prompt pace guidelines, they may receive an unreasonable delay of play penalty.

Under this penalty, a golfer may or may not receive a warning before receiving an actual punishment depending on the league of play. If a golfer continues to commit this penalty multiple times during a round, the consequences will become more severe. A second violation will often lead to a golfer losing a hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. The third and fourth violations likely lead to disqualification from a match. This penalty does not apply when unforeseen delays make it impossible for a golfer to conduct their round in a normal fashion. Such circumstances include when a golfer questions a rules official or when a spectator runs out onto the course.

Not many golfers receive this penalty each year. During the 2020 American Junior Golf Association season, only 12 unreasonable delay of play penalties were issued out of 102 total events.

Result

According to the United States Golf Association, golfers will receive one penalty stroke for their first breach of this rule. If a golfer commits another unreasonable delay of play, then they will receive a general penalty. A general penalty is two penalty strokes in stroke play or the loss of a hole in match play. If a golfer commits the same penalty for a third time, they will be disqualified from the round. The Professional Golfers' Association follows the same rules put in place by the United States Golf Association. For the American Junior Golf Association, pace of play checkpoints are used to help identify when golfers have recorded a bad time. When a golfer receives a bad time during a round of play, they will be given a warning. They will be given a one-stroke penalty once they receive a second bad time. After three bad times, a golfer will be given a two-stroke penalty. Finally, a golfer will be disqualified if they received four bad times at this level.

Examples

  • A golfer takes an unreasonable amount of time to walk to their next shot on the golf course.
  • After finishing the previous hole, a golfer takes an unreasonable amount of time to walk to the next tee box.
  • A golfer takes more than 40 seconds to hit a shot once they have approached their ball.
  • At the American Junior Golf Association level, a golfer doesn't meet the pace set out by personnel who run the course.
  • Any delay while playing a round of golf that is in control of the golfer.

Similar Penalties to Unreasonable Delay of Play

  • Picking Up the Ball
  • Illegal Cleaning the Ball
  • Playing Out of Turn

FAQ

What is an unreasonable delay of play penalty in golf?

The unreasonable delay of play penalty in golf exists to help deter golfers from taking too much time out on the golf course. Golfers can receive this penalty for any unreasonable delay when hitting a shot, walking between shots, or walking to the next hole. There is an expectation to play golf at a prompt pace, and this penalty helps address players who are not able to do so.

What are the consequences of unreasonable delay of play in golf?

If a golfer receives their first unreasonable delay of play penalty, they may get a warning or a one-stroke penalty. If a golfer receives a second penalty of the same kind during the round, they may get a general penalty, losing the hole in match play or a two-stroke penalty in stroke penalty. If a golfer receives a third penalty of the same kind during the round, they may be disqualified from the competition.

How much time is allowed for a golf shot?

It is expected for a golfer to have 40 seconds to prepare a shot in most circumstances. The 40 seconds starts once they have addressed their golf ball. Once the golfer approaches their ball, they have 40 seconds to practice their shot and hit their stroke. If golfers consistently take more than 40 seconds to hit a golf shot, they risk receiving an unreasonable delay of play penalty.