British Minigolf Association

BMGA Sports Committee vote to introduce new regulations clamping down on slow play PDF Print E-mail

Following feedback and comments at the Players Forum and the AGM, in an unprecedented move, the BMGA Sports Committee (SC) met at the weekend to discuss the issue of slow play on the tour and ways to address this going forward.

Several ideas and possible solutions were discussed and after lengthy debate, the following three major rule changes have been agreed:

1) Practice shots removed from play: Once the official pre-event practice session has finished there will be no further practice shots until the final tournament shots of the day have been played.

2) Maximum shots per lane reduced: At present if a ball has not been holed out after 6 strokes, the player is awarded a 7 at said lane. Not only can this slow down play but it can also be demoralising for any player in this position. The solution is to lower the maximum shots allowed to 4 rather than 6. Under the new rulings, ff a player hasn’t holed out after 4 shots, they automatically card a 5 (the new maximum for any lane) ensuring the speed of play is maintained.

3) Number of Balls allowed for each competitor at any event limited. At present (with the exception of one-ball tournaments) players have an unlimited selection of balls at their disposal when taking part in an event. It was noted that this freedom of choice often results in delays during tournament play with competitors often spending time debating which ball to use, slowing down play in the process. The new rules will see players limited to a maximum of 4 balls for each event. Players will be required to register their ball choices with the tournament director prior to the first round of any event. Failure to register ball choices in time will result in said competitor being allocated a single course specific ball only for the event. A player using an unregistered ball during an event will result in disqualification from the event.

The SC recognise that the new rules are a significant change for players to get used to but all agree that they will help address the issue of slow play ensuring the excitement and spectacle of UK competitive minigolf can be maintained and enhanced as we progress through the years. 

The new rules will be in place for the forthcoming British Masters event, full details of which can be found at

Commenting after the meeting, Sean Homer, BMGA Chairman said “The issue of slow play has always been a matter of concern for players on the tour and for the past couple of seasons we have been looking at ways of addressing this issue. As a result of the efforts of the Sports Committee I am delighted that we have been able to agree these new radical changes to our BMGA competition rules.”

Pressed on the subject of the restriction to the number of balls that players can use at an event, something that is likely to cause contention amongst some Tour Pro’s, Sean was adamant that the changes were positive for all players. “There is always a danger that players will look at changing their ball selections when a shot doesn’t work, or fails to produce the outcome they are hoping for. But the reality is that more often than not, it is the way the shot is played that is the issue, not the ball that is used. These changes will help ensure players focus on the way they play shots and how they influence the outcome which in turn will improve the quality of their play”.

The Sports Committee are hopeful that once the wider minigolf community witness the improvements that these changes bring, we will see the criteria mirrored across the numerous WMF (World Minigolf Sport Federation) events worldwide.

And finally...

Rest assured all minigolfers out there - you do not need to sell off all your 'extra' balls as this article, for those of you that haven't already worked it out given the date it was published, is of course an April Fool!!

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 April 2014 11:47 )

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