Scottish Golf's bid to speed up play in amateur events

Featuring a new nine-hole national final, Scottish Golf's 2018 schedule will see 'ready golf' adopted at every event in a bid to improve pace of play across the board at amateur level.

Vikki Laing is on course to secure full Ladies European Tour cards for next season. Picture: Tristan Jones/LET

Already introduced by the R&A this year, “ready golf” is an initiative that encourages players to play when they are ready to do so, rather than adhering to the traditional ‘farthest from the hole plays first’ stipulation in the Rules of Golf.

“We are committed to speeding up the game and making competitive golf more enjoyable for everyone,” said Fraser Munro, Scottish Golf’s head of events. “We acknowledge slow play continues to be a problem but believe adopting ‘ready golf’ is a proactive step towards addressing this issue.”

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The governing body is also doing its bit to encourage clubs to adopt shorter formats of the game by introducing a new national nine-hole final to decide Scotland’s four pairings in the R&A’s Nine-Hole Championship.

It was launched at Troon in 2016 and, as was the case then, the event will be staged in the build-up to the Open Championship at Carnoustie next July.

“Nine-hole golf has long been part of the game’s fabric in Scotland but we need to do more to promote it to a wider audience and this fantastic event gives us a higher profile platform to achieve this,” added Munro.

“The incentive of playing at Carnoustie in the build-up to the Open is a dream come true and we would encourage as many clubs as possible to sign up and give their members a chance of taking part.”

In 2018, Scottish Golf’s flagship Women’s and Men’s Amateur Championships will be staged at Elie (5-9 June) and Blairgowrie (31 July-5 August) respectively.

In the professional ranks, Vikki Laing, pictured, and Laura Murray are both on course to secure full Ladies European Tour cards for next season heading into the final round of the circuit’s Lalla Aicha Tour School in Morroco. Needing to finish in the top 35 in the 90-hole scramble in Marrakech, Laing is sitting joint 16th on five-under after a 70 in the fourth round while Murray leapt 33 spots to joint 34th on the back of a five-under-par 67 for a two-under total.

As American Casey Danielson retained top spot on 12-under, the third Scot among 106 hopefuls, Heather Stirling, missed the cut by six shots on six-over.