Rules Guy: What do you do when your group is put on the clock, but you’re not the slow player?

Tiger Woods waiting

Waiting is frustrating — especially when your group is already on the clock.

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

During a tournament, the paired pros A and B are “put on the clock.” What actions must be followed as a result? There are times when A is holding up play as a result of being in trouble or just being slow, while B is forced to wait on A. How does this get resolved fairly? — Larry Sands, via email

In this story, the turtle doesn’t get the better of the hare. While pace of play policies can vary between organizations and committees, generally once you’re being timed as a group, you as an individual will have a set time within which you’re allowed to make your stroke.

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If you’re not getting any bad times and playing within your allotted time, you won’t receive any penalties. You might wonder: When does “my time” begin? It is when it’s your turn to play and when you can do so safely and without distraction — if you’re waiting for a ball to be marked on the putting green, your time doesn’t start until then, because you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) play until that ball has been lifted.

How much time Gary Glacier is taking doesn’t really affect you … beyond, if you’re like me, driving you to the depths of despair.

Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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