Ted Dexter’s Ten Commandments

Added on January 25th, 2010 by
Posted in Slow play

There are many issues in modern golf that

frustrate traditionalists and fine golfers.

How do we protect our fine courses from ball and club developments?

Why can”t we have a more simple set of rules?

The answers are not simple, nor is ‘pace of play’.

FineGolf has invited Ted Dexter,

Lorne Smith, Ted Dexter, sunningdale golf club, finest courses

Lorne and Ted at Sunningdale

who has thought a lot about “speed of play” and organised live trials, to explain what changes he would like to see clubs and golfers make:

Ted’s Ten Commandments

“Thou shalt keep the “Etiquette of Golf” in mind at all times i.e. your responsibility to the golf course and to other golfers.

Thou shalt be prepared to step up and hit your ball immediately it is your turn to play.

Thou shalt not take more than one practise swing.

Thou shalt not allow space to develop between your match and the match ahead.

Thou shalt try to shave 10 seconds off the time it normally takes you to hit a shot. (If all players in an average four-ball were to achieve this, they would cut one hour from their usual round).

Thou shalt pick up your ball at all times when you are “out of the hole”.

Thou shalt carry, from time to time, a light bag with ( if necessary to reduce weight) a lesser number of clubs.

In non-competition “friendly matches”.

Thou shalt agree to leave the pin in the hole at all times – until any player wishes the pin to be removed.

Thou shalt play ‘ready golf ‘. Do not always wait for the player furthest from the hole to play first.

Thou shalt agree to a one stroke penalty only, for a ball lost or out of bounds.
A ball to be dropped in the semi-rough within two club lengths of the point of entry to the area being searched. (Thus there is no need to play a provisional ball or another ball from the tee or to go back under the stroke and distance rule)

Thou shalt agree that only the player shall need to look for his ball – 3 minutes maximum search time”.

Lorne comments:

Ted has been a major force at the MCC behind the promulgation of the “Spirit of Cricket” initiative around the world that has had a positive effect on the education of cricketers from the highest professional level to cricket in schools.

What do you think of his ideas?    Is it time for a similar golfers education initiative from the golf “powers that be”  or should it be left to local clubs and individuals?

We welcome your comments below.

Reader Comments

On February 12th, 2010 Robin Smith said:

I support Ted Dexter’s views, and consider his proposals for friendly matches to be particulary sensible.

On February 12th, 2010 Brian Thomson said:

I agree that Ted’s ideas are very sensible although the first four should not have to be told to any proper golfer.

Personally I would add another :

Before teeing off thou shalt visit the Pro Shop to have a locked explosive belt fitted which you must return within 3.5 hours to have safely removed.

I think this could be very successful in speeding up play.

Keep up the good work Lorne – see you at Dornoch in August.

On February 12th, 2010 Mike Burks said:

I’m disappointed to see that the first rule is to “honor the etiquette of the game”. While much of the honor of golf, particularly the honesty that is the hallmark of the game, should be cherished, wouldn’t it be better, if all agree, to have the first person at the tee step up and hit without delay? I mean really, after your ball caroms off of that out of bounds tree back into play and you clabber together a par to win the hole, do you feel that being ‘honored’ on the next tee is important to your enjoyment of the game? And why not have the first person who is ready to putt do so, instead of everyone standing and waiting.
These are commonly accepted practices at Crooked Stick where we enjoy the great pleasure of a brisk pace.

On February 12th, 2010 colin marriott said:

picking up the point of lighter carry bags players should also think of where they leave their bag in relation to the best exit route from the green to the next tee when they first go on to the green to putt.

On February 12th, 2010 Ross Logan said:

Get back to 2-ball only golf. Trying to explain other formats and how to speed them up is too complicated for most modern golfers who have not grown up appreciating the benefits of 2-ball golf.

Lorne adds:-
Ted’s 10 commandments, I am assured, are particularly appropriate to 4-ball golf, a format that he enjoys.
However much one might feel that scratch foursomes is the apex of the game, it clearly does not fit in with many golfers wishes, in this age.

On February 15th, 2010 christopher sandham said:

Other considerations that may need spelling out are:
Time lost by average golfers pacing out distances from sprinklers etc.
Not leaving clubs/trollys in front of green.
Taking undue time to read putts that don’t matter.
Being more aware of following golfers and making up time by walking briskly. Those behind will be more relaxed if they see the game ahead getting on with it.
Chris Sandham

On February 18th, 2010 Richard Heath said:

Another thought is to let people determine their own pace but to strictly adhere to allowing faster groups to play through.

On May 14th, 2010 dan colbourne said:

I feel some golfers get far too uptight about protocol. Let’s be honest, most people that play the game at the better quality clubs have respect for the game anyway and, in my experience, it is unfortunately those self-appointed ‘custodians’ that can ruin it for anyone who is out to simply enjoy a day’s golf.
I am a 14 handicapper and have played plenty of courses. The best welcome and the least unstuffy approach has always been on Scottish courses.
My feeling is that there is really no need for the mutterers and the moaners just because someone does not know EVERY damn bit of protocol and etiquette. Life’s too short!

On September 24th, 2011 eva lipman said:

Ready golf should be played in friendly matches i.e. play when ready both on the tee and through the green, except when it would be dangerous and of course not when others are actually taking a shot.

On September 25th, 2011 Anthony Poolman said:

Ted’s suggestions are a nonsense – they ask people to play other than under the Rules of Golf. Speed up play? Play less holes; do what (some) Americans do – score what you think you would like to have had rather than what you did have; give yourself 15 foot putts etc etc.

Speeding up play is a state of mind – be ready to play/putt when it is your turn; as Eva says – “ready golf”.

Ted Dexter’s brief reply: “There are already many variations played which are not strictly within the “Rules”. Some courses with dangerous animals in the rough already play the “lateral” rule. Professionals play the “line of sight” penalty free option. Interestingly, many players have commented that they already play some of the Dexter ”nonsense” at their home clubs. eg: leaving the flag in and not walking beyond the ball. We have played the “Dexter Challenge” three years running at Sunningdale and it is a popular feature of the season.”

On October 10th, 2011 Tony Pearce-Smith said:

All Ted’s commandments make sense; but as long as you obey no. 4 – ensure no gap develops ahead (also that you don’t keep those behind waiting) the others don’t matter so much

On January 22nd, 2012 tom seabrook said:

Lorne, The MCC Golf Society adopted the ”Dexter ”Rules for its Match Managers Day at The Berkshire last November.
Speedier winter Golf had the added advantage of an earlier and fine Luncheon with no adverse comments.
Tom Seabrook

On October 22nd, 2012 Glenn Moore said:

Forget keeping up with group ahead. BUT, never, ever get caught up to.

On January 6th, 2020 robbie armour said:

Isn’t it extraordinary how many of Ted’s Commandments for competitions and friendly matches are now part of the Rule Book? The R & A must have dropped by here a couple of years ago. Well done Ted, for your incredible prescience.

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