Here’s the European Tour’s four-point plan to tackle slow play

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 9, 2019 08:03

The European Tour has come up with an action plan that focuses on regulation, education, innovation and field size reduction where appropriate, to tackle the issue of slow play.

  1. Regulation

When players are out of position and either being monitored or timed, a one-shot penalty will be incurred after two bad times – currently a player would be ‘monitored’ and if he breaches the time allowance (50 seconds for first to play, 40 seconds for second or third to play) he will then be ‘officially timed’ and would then have to breach twice more before being given a one shot penalty. Players will, however, have the option to request one time extension per round, giving an additional 40 seconds to hit a shot on this request.

In position timing, introduced at the same time as monitoring, has been strengthened. The time allowed to play a shot when being monitored in position (currently double the out of position times above), will be reduced by 15 per cent, from 100 and 80 seconds down to 85 and 70 seconds respectively for first and second / third to play.  Referees are now mandated to be proactive in targeting known slow players for in position timing.

Fines for consistently slow players who are regularly officially timed during the season will increase significantly. For example, a player who is timed 15 times in the 2020 season will have to pay £26,000 in fines as opposed to £9,000 this season.

  1. Education

All new members will be assigned a dedicated referee to help educate them on pace of play at the start of their European Tour career.

As part of retaining their membership, every member will be required to pass an interactive online rules test with this being implemented for existing members towards the end of the 2019 season and all new members early in the 2020 season. This will be repeated every three years for existing members.

Regular educational videos will be produced by the European Tour’s social media team on key rules and ‘Pace of Play’ policies and shared with the players throughout the season in an effort to avoid unnecessary rulings and ensure they better understand the pace of play policy.

  1. Innovation

A trial pace of play system was conducted at the BMW PGA Championship in September 2019. This provided referees with the times for every group through every hole to make sure that no gaps were missed.

As part of this system, and in a ground-breaking development, on-tee displays on a minimum of three holes provided groups with their position in relation to the group in front.

  1. Field sizes

Field sizes at fully sanctioned events will be reduced from 156 to a minimum of 144 so long as all entered players in Category 18 (the final 111-125 on the previous season’s Race to Dubai) and above make it into the event. This will create space for referees to push groups over the Thursday and Friday rounds.

Larger starting intervals will be built into play on Saturdays and Sundays to create a better flow between groups.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 9, 2019 08:03
Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment


Join Our Mailing List

Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: