AzRC- Chapter 6&7
CHAPTER VI – COMPETITION ADMINISTRATION
PART 1 – THE RULES OF GOLF
All competitions should be conducted in strict conformity with the Rules of Golf. In order to do this, a Committee must be equipped with a supply of current Rules of Golf books and the publication “Decisions on the Rules of Golf”, which contains interpretations of the Rules. Without these essential tools, a Committee cannot hope to run a competition in accordance with the Rules.
Participants in a competition expect to be treated as fairly as possible and the only way this can be achieved is if the Rules are strictly applied to all concerned. There is no more certain a way to damage the reputation of a competition than by poor management. It may be difficult and unpleasant to be consistent and fair in the enforcement of the Rules, but to avoid taking such action can set dangerous precedents and create major difficulties in the long term. However, it must be stressed that authority should only be used to promote fair play under equal conditions.
PART 2 – PROCEDURES
It is advisable for the Committee to set up a registration procedure for players. When players register, they can be given all necessary information concerning the competition and can be advised of any amendments to previously published information.
In addition, the registration procedure will give the Committee an early indication if a player is not going to appear. If a player has failed to register, the likelihood is that he will fail to appear for his starting time and the Committee can make the necessary provisions, e.g. by contacting an alternate player and asking him to be on stand-by.
Committees are advised to appoint one of their members or an official to be available at the course while players are starting, and to empower this person to settle any problems that may arise regarding starting times, provision of markers etc.
The main responsibilities of the starter are to ensure that the players start at the time established by the Committee and, in stroke play, to issue each competitor a score card containing the date and the competitor’s name. However, there are a number of other duties that a starter must perform.
Wear the correct uniform (as determined by the SIC)
Arrive 20-30 minutes prior to the first starting time; pick up radio and see that starter box is complete, time of day is correct on clocks, etc.
While the starting box will be prepared by the staff each day, the starter checks the contents using the checklist to ensure everything is in the box. If the starting box is not already at the starting tent, take it with you to the tent. Starter’s Box should contain:
a. One Atomic Clock b. Rules of Golf Books c. Hard Cards for all Players d. Starting Times and Groupings e. Notices to Players f. Pace of Play Policy g. Hole Location Sheets h. Course Evacuation Procedures i. Official Score Cards and extra Score Cards j. Pencils k. Tees l. Permanent Markers (Black, Blue, Red, Green) m. Two Paper Weights
4. Check-in with the Staff in Charge for special instructions and note any withdrawals with ROIC and to review the “Starter Announcements” as provided by the ROIC.5. Upon arriving at the starting tent, make sure all equipment is setup and ready for use. If anything is missing or not as it should be, notify the SIC.6. Tent area should contain:7. Trash container8. Two chair(s)9. Table with cover10. Cooler with water, if applicable11. Snack tray, when applicable12. The tent should be installed to withstand the weather for the day.13. If play is delayed, while starting times are in progress maintain time records on pairings sheet. In addition, immediately notify the ROIC of any delays.14. When starting is complete, advise those on the radio that the tee is closed and announce the delays. Then review the delays with the ROIC.
PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW FOR STARTING
Review the Notice to Players. If there are any questions, call the Rules Official in Charge or the Staff in Charge prior to starting Players. Be prepared to explain all items on the Notice to players, when asked. Note that the review of the Notice with players should be short (a minute or less identifying only the 1 – 3 most relevant items). This is no time for a Rules seminar. Only discuss items pertinent to play. There should be no other conversations.
The Atomic Clock is the official time. Start each group exactly at the time indicated on the starting sheet. Do not start any group prior to the scheduled time. Begin announcing a group so that the first player will go forward to play his/her ball at the group’s starting time.
Do not delay a group because a player is late in appearing for his/her starting time. All players in a group must be present and ready to play at the time laid down by the Committee. The order of play is irrelevant.
If a player(s) has not arrived at the tee before his/her scheduled starting time, refer to the procedures for Handling a “Late to the Tee Incident”.
In stroke play, introduce yourself and the referee (if applicable). In match play introduce yourself and if a match with an assigned referee, introduce the Referee and the Observer (if applicable) to the players.
Give each player a Hole Location Sheet for the day and the Notice to Players. Notify Players of any new items on an updated Notice to Players.
Remind each player to be able to identify their golf balls and share that information with fellow-competitors or their opponent.
Remind players to count their clubs prior to starting.
Point out to the players that the phone number on the Notice may be used to call whenever there is a question or to contact an official for any reason.
Advise the players of the starting order and about how much time before they start.
Briefly give an overview of the Pace of Play Policy as you hand out the score cards: a. Point out the TimePar for the round, b. When a Checkpoint Policy is being used: c. Point out the checkpoint holes (if applicable), d. Explain the need to be at the checkpoint by the designated time or no later than 14 minutes behind the group in front, e. They may have their group monitored at any time, f. In the case of the last checkpoint, if they are “out of position” they are liable to a one-stroke penalty. (There is no warning) g. The hole completion time is determined by when the flagstick is put into the hole, h. The appeals process will take place in scoring.
In stroke play, the players do not receive their own score card. The second player listed keeps the score for Player #1; Player #3 keeps the score for Player #2 and so on. In match play without referees, give the unofficial score card to Player 1; in match play with an assigned Referee, give the official score card to the Referee. Although a scorecard is not required in Match Play, we prefer to have hole by hole scores for media purposes.
Note: Begin announcing a group at the stipulated time (not earlier). The full name of the player should be used each time, without titles (i.e., Mr. or Ms.).
Past Champions: If a player is a Past Champion from that Championship then he/she should be announced as such for all rounds.
STROKE PLAY SCRIPT:
BEFORE FIRST GROUP OF EACH WAVE:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the (1st or 2nd) round of stroke play of the Tournament Name, conducted by the specific golf association
For the First Group of Each Wave and Following Groups:
“This is the (Time) starting time; please welcome
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_ play away please
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_
MATCH PLAY SCRIPT:
Before First Match of Each Round, Rounds 1-5:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Quarterfinal. Or Semifinal round of match play of the Tournament Name
For the First Match of Each Round and all Following Matches:
“This is the (Time) match; please welcome
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_ (pause) and
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_
“The Referee for this match is (Name of Referee ) .” Note – Only the Referee is to be announced (i.e. the Observer is not announced).
“(First Player name) has the honor. Play away, please.”
Before Final Match:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Championship Match of the Tournament Name, conducted by the specific golf association
Starting with ### players on Fill in which day, after ## holes of Stroke Play, the low 64 players began Match Play. Each player competing in today’s 18 hole Championship Match has won five matches in order to advance to this point.
Please welcome the players.
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_ (pause) and
From (city, state, country), Player Name)_
“The Referee for this match is (Name of Referee) .” The Observer for this match is (Name of Observer).
“(First Player name) has the honor. Play away, please.”
LATE TO THE TEE
The following is the procedure that is to be followed by a starter who is missing a player(s) on the starting tee:
About 3 minutes prior to the group’s starting time, the starter will use the radio to announce, “Group #___, the ______ starting time on hole #___, we have three minutes to go and I’m missing player name.”
About 1 minute prior to the group’s starting time, this message is repeated over the radio. At this point, the starter should also inform the fellow-competitor(s) or opponent that 60 seconds remain.
At the appointed starting time, the starter says to the other players, “player name” is late to the tee. The starter then begins to start players.
When the initial radio transmission is broadcast by the starter, a Rules Rover or the ROIC should proceed to that starting hole to assist in the application of the Rules.
If a player is “found” by another member of the Rules Committee, communicate that fact on the radio. The player must be directed to get to his/her starting tee as soon as possible to avoid a penalty. The player may be transported by anyone and in any type of vehicle.
AFTER A MISSING PLAYER ANNOUNCEMENT:
If a player arrives at the tee prior to the group’s starting time, the starter must communicate that fact on the radio.
If the player arrives at the tee after the group’s starting time, the ROIC – not the starter – will handle the application of the penalty including communicating with the player’s marker. If the group starts late as a result of this issue, the starter must communicate this on the radio to the ROIC, all Rules Rovers and Pace of Play officials.
ISSUING SCORE CARDS AND RECORDING SCORES
In stroke play, it is the Committee’s responsibility to issue for each competitor a score card containing the date and the competitor’s name, or in foursome or four-ball stroke play, the competitors’ names. The Committee’s duties in respect of addition of scores, applications of handicaps, etc. in the various forms of stroke play are clearly outlined in Rule 33-5 (for a breakdown of the responsibilities of the Committee, marker and competitor in relation to the score card, see below).
It is important that the task of recording scores is given to a responsible person or group of persons as any errors that occur during the returning of score cards can have serious consequences and can undermine all the good work that has been put into a competition. Score Cards are usually handed-out by the starter, ensuring that each player is a marker for another player.
The method of receiving score cards may vary depending on the nature of the competition. It is common for Golf Clubs to utilize a “ballot box” where completed cards are returned, although in most organized amateur and professional events there is a scorer’s office or tent. When a ballot box is in use, the Committee may consider the card returned when it is dropped into the box.
Irrespective of method used, it is essential that the Committee make it clear when a competitor is considered to have “returned his card”, after which point no alterations may be made to the card. This should be established in the conditions of the competition in case a dispute arises. For example in Championships, the following condition is recommended:
“Returning of Score Card” A player’s score card is deemed officially returned to the Committee when he has left the scoring area.”
Alternatively the Committee may consider the scorecard returned
When the player’s score is posted on the official scoreboard;
When the final results are announced;
When the scorecard is returned to the golf shop (with the physical golf shop area considered the ‘scoring area’.
SCORING RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES
It is the responsibility of this assignment to ensure that all official score cards are properly handled and any Rules questions or disputes of any kind are settled prior to a player leaving the scoring tent.
Order should be maintained in the scoring tent. ONLY the players and tournament staff and officials are allowed in the scoring area.
Conversations with players should be kept to a minimum and focused on the job at hand. When answering Rules disputes call the Committee to assist when conversations are long or require a ruling.
DUTIES OF OFFICIALS IN SCORING AREA – STROKE PLAY
Supplies: Watch/Clock, Decisions Book, Radio, Pencil Cup, Rubber bands, Starters List, Raguzzi, Waste Basket
Arrive 15 minutes before first finishing group. Check for supplies, 5 chairs & table, demarcation line or rope to define area. Two officials should be present.
Record finish time and interval for each group Groupings and Starters List
Suggest to all players that they remain until all cards for the group have been checked; a player’s card is “official” and may not be returned to a player after leaving the scoring area.
Note: At some tournaments (such as with shotgun starts), the Notice to Players specifies varying definitions for when a score card is deemed returned. That information is generally printed on the “Notice to Players”. Always check with the SIC when unsure.
Ask players if any have played a second ball or have a rules issue. Call a Rover to resolve.
Do not accept a card for review without two signatures and 18 hole scores evident.
Note: Players are responsible for the accuracy of any hole score. If a score must be changed, the marker should make the change. Erasures are preferred – no initialing is required.
Verify that the scores on the card are for the player named on the card, and that they are in proper order (#1 or #10 start).
Check addition – correct any errors. You are responsible for addition, not the player.
Both officials should check and initial each card (see sample following).
Thank the players for participating.
Immediately after checking all cards, send to the computer for input and verification.
Keep scorecards in time-order for a first round, score order with earliest first in subsequent rounds.
When the final group has completed play, notify the OIC and return supplies to HQ.
Return the score card to the scoreboard for computer input and posting.
The Committee should have a number of representatives on the course to observe play, be available to give rulings and otherwise assist players. Everyone assigned to the course as a Rules Official should be knowledgeable about the Rules and understand their role and authority.
There will only be roving or stationary Rules Officials covering areas of the course who will monitor pace of play and give rulings when called upon to do so.
It is advisable for a meeting involving all Rules Officials to be held prior to the competition. At such a meeting the Rules Official in Charge may cover the Local Rules, Conditions of Competition, etc. and answer any questions that may arise. Such a meeting will assist in ensuring that any abnormal conditions on the course are handled consistently and that any specific policies are clearly understood.
In Club competitions, it is rare to have any Rules Officials positioned on the course during play. However, a player is entitled to a ruling, even if this means proceeding under Rule 3-3 in stroke play and seeking a decision once the round is completed. Therefore, the Committee should appoint someone who is knowledgeable in the Rules to be present during the competition to resolve Rules problems. No Committee member or official should give a decision on a Rules matter unless he has been authorized by the Committee to give final decisions in its name.
FORECADDIES AND MARSHALS
The Committee may position forecaddies (AKA Spotters) in areas where there is a possibility of balls being lost, or course marshals may be asked to fulfil this role. Such a policy can assist with pace of play if balls can be found quickly or if players can be made aware that a ball has not been found and, therefore, are encouraged to play a provisional ball.
However, if the use of forecaddies is to be successful, there must be a clear and efficient signaling policy so that the status of the ball is clear to the player concerned. It is even more vital that the system is understandable when the forecaddie is signaling with reference to whether a ball is in or out of bounds.
The worst-case scenario is that a player puts a second ball into play and it subsequently transpires that his original ball was in bounds. In this type of situation, it is advisable that the player plays a provisional ball even if the signal is indicating that his original ball is out of bounds. The forecaddie is not authorized to decide if a ball is in bounds or out of bounds.
PACE OF PLAY
It is understandable that Clubs, public courses, resorts and competition organizers may have differing views on what constitutes acceptable pace of play. However, it is a fact that slow play detracts from the enjoyment of the game for many golfers, and few golfers are heard to complain about play being too quick.
Rule 6-7 governs in the event of slow play. It provides that “The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines that the Committee may establish”. The penalty for a breach of Rule 6-7 is loss of hole in match play and two strokes in stroke play, and for a repeated offence, disqualification. However, Note 2 under Rule 6-7 states:
“For the purpose of preventing slow, play, the Committee may, in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1), establish pace of play guidelines including maximum periods of time allowed to complete a stipulated round, a hole or strokes.
In stroke play only, the Committee may modify the penalty for a breach of this Rule as follows:
First offense – One stroke;
Second offense – Two strokes.
For subsequent offense – Disqualification”
It is a matter for the Committee in charge of a competition to formulate its own pace of play guidelines, although in practice the nature of such a condition will be dependent on the number of Committee members available to implement it.
INCLEMENT WEATHER AND SUSPENSIONS OF PLAY
A Committee must be prepared for inclement weather and players and those involved in running the competition must be able to recognize the signal that means that the Committee has suspended play. The situation where players do not know whether play has been suspended or not, or some players know and others don’t, must be avoided.
A competition should not be suspended simply on account of rain, unless the rain is so heavy that it would be unfair to require players to continue. Generally, play should not be suspended unless the course has become unplayable or there is danger to the players.
Although a Committee should not suspend play unless absolutely necessary, it is the responsibility of the Committee to do everything possible to protect players from bad weather and lightning and, therefore, no chances should be taken in this respect. Although Rule 6-8b governs when play is suspended by the Committee, there is a Note to this Rule that states:
“The Committee may provide in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1), that in potentially dangerous situations, play must be discontinued immediately following a suspension of play by the Committee. If a player fails to discontinue play immediately, he is disqualified unless circumstances warrant waiving the penalty as provided in Rule 33-7.”
If the Committee introduces the condition for potentially dangerous situations, it overrides the provisions of Rule 6-8b in terms of discontinuance of play. This condition is in effect at all AzRC Championships (see Appendix I, Part B in the Rules of Golf).
Adverse conditions, including the poor condition of the course or the existence of mud, are sometimes so general that the Committee may decide to grant relief by temporary Local Rule either to protect the course or to promote fair and pleasant play. The Local Rule for “Preferred Lies” and “Winter Rules” should be used judiciously and withdrawn as soon as the conditions warrant. The recommended wording for such a Local Rule is contained in Appendix I, Part B of the Rules of Golf. It is not sufficient to simply say “preferred lies/winter rules” apply.
PART 3 – PERFORMING THE RULES OFFICIAL ROLE
Golf, for the most part, is played without a Rules Official being present. However, the Committee in charge of a competition may appoint a referee and perhaps an observer, to accompany play or it may assign Committee members to particular parts of the course to assist players with the Rules (Rules Officials). A Rules Official must have a good knowledge of the Rules, patience, a helping persona and the desire to provide great service to players. A Rules Official may spend all day on the course without being called upon to make a ruling. However, he must remain alert and be wary against becoming a “spectator” as a question may arise when least expected.
Another important general aspect of refereeing or making rulings is the manner in which the Official performs his duties. When golf is played at a level where Referees or Rules Officials are present, the players concerned may be under considerable pressure. A brusque, rude or unsympathetic approach may be unhelpful and could have a detrimental effect on a player by disturbing his concentration. Therefore, a referee should attempt to perform duties with understanding and tact. It is important to sense when to talk to a player and when to be silent. All tournament workers and especially Rules Officials and referees should never engage in conversation that isn’t relevant to the task at hand.
A Rules Official should never make a ruling when he is not certain. He should call a Rover or another Official for an opinion. Therefore, a Rules Official requires not only a good knowledge of the Rules, but also an awareness of his duties and responsibilities to get the ruling right and an appreciation of how best to handle various rules situations.
A referee is defined in the Rules of Golf as one who is appointed by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. A referee must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him. This also applies to a Rules Official.
At certain times, it may be appropriate to restrict a referee’s ability to give a decision on a certain aspect of the Rules. For example, declaring areas of ground under repair. Often the authority to declare ground under repair is reserved for a Rover or the Rules Official in Charge in order to ensure consistency over the type of conditions relief is granted for. Equally, it may be the policy of the Committee that only designated referees are permitted to time players in order to ensure the pace of play policy is enforced uniformly over the entire field.
It is not sufficient for a referee merely to give a correct decision when appealed to; he must also at all times be sufficiently alert to observe accurately and to interpret correctly all the events that may occur during a round. Within the scope of these duties, he is assigned to a match to help ensure that it will be played fairly under sporting conditions.
This raises the question of the referee’s ethical position when he sees a player about to break the Rules. The referee is not responsible for a player’s willful breach of the Rules, but he certainly does have an obligation to advise players about the Rules. It would be contrary to the spirit of fair play if a referee failed to inform a player of his rights and obligations under the Rules and then penalized him for a breach that he could have prevented. The referee who tries to help players to avoid breaches of the Rules cannot be accused of favoring one player against the other, since he would act in the same manner towards any player and is, therefore performing his duties impartially.
The following are examples of actions that a referee may take in order to prevent a breach of the Rules:
If a player is about to play another ball because the original ball may be lost or out of bounds, ask the player whether it is a provisional ball.
If a player at any time plays a provisional ball or puts a second ball into play, ensure that the player can identify both balls.
If a player tees his ball ahead of the markers, draw his attention to it before he drives.
If a player is about to lift a loose impediment in a bunker or water hazard, remind him that his ball is in a hazard.
If a player is about to adopt or adopts a wrong dropping procedure, call his attention to it and point out the correct procedure.
Another important general aspect of refereeing is the manner in which a referee performs his duties. When golf is played at a level where referees are present, the players concerned may be under considerable pressure. A heavy-handed or unsympathetic approach may be detrimental. A referee should attempt to perform duties with understanding and tact. Beginning with the first tee, the following comments offer guidelines on how a referee should act in certain situations:
At the First Tee:
If the players in a group or match are not experienced being accompanied by a referee, remind them that the role of the referee is to be of assistance to the players should a doubtful situation arise, but also to prevent rules violations when possible and otherwise to point them out when they do occur. A referee does not have the ability to ignore a violation. The Referee should personally instruct the players as to his/her role in applying the rules and what considerations the players should observe, such as clearly indicating concessions, observing the honor and pace of play requirements.
On the Tee:
The referee should be in position to determine that a player is playing from the teeing ground, preventing an error when possible.
Between Tee and Green:
If there may be doubt which players should be first to play, the referee should arrive in the area ahead of the players to decide the order of play and indicate so to the players as they arrive to avoid confusion.
The referee should observe each player’s strokes from a reasonable distance so as not to interfere in any way or make a player feel uncomfortable, but close enough to prevent a rules violation.
Being in position to see each stroke played will permit the referee to determine questions of fact, such as whether the ball has moved at address. This will also allow the referee to observe a player in a position where 13-2 may come into play, such as taking a stance where bushes may be bent or the area of swing affected. The referee can guide the player in his actions to ensure there is no violation of the Rule.
On the Putting Green:
The referee should be in position to observe the lifting and replacing of balls, such as when a ball marker is moved to accommodate another’s line of putt in addition to determining which player is away, especially in match play where the ball farthest from the hole must be played first. This position will also permit the referee to hear when concessions are made to avoid later disputes.
In any situation where a player may wish to take relief, the referee should advise the player not to touch his ball until he has decided upon his best course of action (which the referee should never influence other than to provide information on the rules when requested). The referee should never leave a player until the ball is again in play properly, and to ensure that a ball in play is not again lifted through a misunderstanding of the application of the Rule.
At times awkward situations will arise. The referee should be firm and positive, taking plenty of time to explain the Rule, offer a second opinion when appropriate, but tactfully insisting on proper application of the Rules. When confronted with a difficult situation, it can be helpful to determine the player’s intention. This can clarify the situation prior to an inappropriate action as well as offering the player an opportunity to compose himself. Should the referee not be able to determine an appropriate decision, in stroke play he may suggest a second ball be played and the decision reached at scoring. In Match Play no such opportunity exists – the player must make a decision while the opponent may wish to make a claim. In all such cases, the referee should strive to avoid such a confrontation.
One final note: often a player may unintentionally be careless in his observance of a rule. When a violation has not occurred, the referee should as soon as appropriate following the incident point it out to the player to avoid future situations where a penalty may be applied.
In match play, when a group completes a hole, the referee should always announce the players’ scores and state of the match to ensure the players are in agreement before beginning a subsequent hole or leaving the final green.
ON-COURSE OFFICIALS DURING MATCH PLAY
During match play, a Rules Official not assigned to a match as a referee has limited authority. He may answer Rules questions when asked and he may intervene when he observes or it is reported to him that a match has agreed to waive a Rule (Rule 1-3), a match is unduly delaying play (Rule 6-7, and any Pace of Play Policy), or there is a reason to intervene under Rule 33-7. Otherwise, a Rules Official may not intervene, even if a breach of another Rule is observed or reported.
An observer is defined in the Rules of Golf as one who is appointed by the Committee to assist a referee to decide questions of fact and to report to him any breach of a Rule. Before play, it is important for a referee to reach an understanding with his observer as to their respective duties. Usually it is best for the observer to work ahead of the match as much as possible. The referee should stay close to the players at all times and be readily available to answer questions.
REFEREEING AN AREA OR ZONE ON COURSE (STATIONARY OFFICIAL)
When a referee is watching play either by chance or through having been assigned to a particular place on the course, their duties are different from those of a referee who is appointed to accompany a group or match.
In match play, unless a referee is assigned to accompany the players throughout a match, he has no authority to intervene in a match other than in relation to Rule 1-3, 6-7 or 33-7. It is a matter for the opponent to decide if he wishes to make a claim (see Rule 2-5). The referee’s presence on the course is solely to assist players in the event of a claim.
In stroke play, the situation is different. Every competitor has a direct interest in the play of all other competitors. Every referee, therefore, has a duty to represent the interest of every competitor in the field. Thus, a referee assigned to a particular area or zone on the course must act on any probable breach of the Rules that he may observe. This may be done by immediately questioning the competitor about his procedure. Also, the Official will be called upon to make decisions on the course. However, stationary Rules Officials usually have limited authority to make final decisions. They should clarify their authority with the SIC or the ROIC.
The Rover is the overseer of play on the course, the interpreter of decisions, and the force of the Rules during play.
The first job of the Rover is to review course markings and use of local rules ahead of play to ensure all considerations are adequately described, that the players may have a fair opportunity to display their skills.
Situating other rules personnel and volunteers on the course, changing positions where needed, and overseeing the pace of play are the principle responsibilities during play.It is not so much the Rover’s job to govern play as to govern those who do, from starting to scoring, while touring hole by hole during play.
Officials may require second opinions for players, and the Rover should recognize that such a request will likely entail an initially negative response from the player. Although the rules must be applied correctly, a Rover must also ensure that the facts as presented to him in a ‘second opinion’ case are identical to the first opinion.
As other rules persons are located on a course, the Rover should review with them the opportunities for rulings in that area, reviewing the likely Rules and Local Rules that may come into play, and the unusual situations that could arise, such as ground under repair requests from secondary playing areas.
CHAPTER VII – MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS
In most events, participants will be required to complete an entry form. The Committee should ensure that the entry form is unambiguous on matters such as eligibility, competition format, dates and practice dates, any conditions applying to the competition and the closing date for entries.
In addition, it is advisable for the Committee to include caveats reserving the right to arrange and/or alter the conditions, to accept or refuse any entry at any time without giving reason for its decision and stating that the decision of the Committee is final on all matters.
If the Committee wishes to introduce dress restrictions (e.g. prohibiting the wearing of shorts, denim etc.) during a competition, these restrictions should be made clear to the players involved. In addition, it is important to state whether the dress code also applies to caddies. Players and caddies must be made aware of any restrictions well in advance of the competition.
The Committee may place restrictions on the commercial identification on clothing or equipment. If so, these prohibitions should be outlined in the event’s entry form.
Depending on the nature of the competition, the Committee may wish to provide a scoreboard giving round scores in stroke play or round by round winners in match play. If at all possible, the scoreboard should be located near the 18th green, but not in a place where it will come directly into play or where it will distract players before they enter the recorder’s office.
In some events, there may be on-course leaderboards with hole-by-hole scoring. If this is the case, players should be made aware that either they or their caddies will be asked to provide information on their scores to scoreboard personnel. In some events, there may be a requirement to report scores electronically or to scoring personnel stationed at specific holes. If this is the case, players should be made aware if either they are asked to provide information on their scores to scoring personnel.
ACCOMMODATION OF EARLY AND LATE STARTER
S In order to accommodate early starters, the Committee should ensure that practice range, golf shops and catering facilities are opened at least one hour before the first starting time. Similarly, players at the end of the field should have the opportunity to use such facilities for up to an hour after they leave the last green.
For handicap competitions in which handicap strokes are used on specific holes during the course of play, the Committee should determine the order of holes at which any handicap strokes awarded should be taken for each course being played (Rule 33-4). This is referred to as stroke allocations and should be printed on the score card.
In match play formats, a handicap stroke should be an equalizer rather than a winning stroke and should be available on a hole where it most likely will be needed by the higher-handicapped player to obtain a half. Difficulty in making par on a hole is not an effective indicator of the need for a stroke.
In stroke play formats (four-ball stroke play and Stableford), the Committee may want to develop a separate allocation table based on difficulty relative to par.
For more information about handicapping and establishing stroke allocations, see the USGA Handicapping Manual available at http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-manual.html.
The term “course record” is not defined in the Rules of Golf. However, it is generally accepted that a record score should be recognized as the official “course record” only if made in an individual stroke play competition (excluding bogey, par or Stableford competitions) with the holes and tee-markers in their proper medal or championship positions.
It is recommended that a record score should not be recognized as the official “course record” if a Local Rule permitting preferred lies is in operation.
POSITIONING OF RAKES
On balance, it is felt that rakes should be placed outside bunkers parallel to the line of play as noted previously. However, the superintendent’s preferences should be honored whenever possible. The placing of rakes inside bunkers is appropriate in some situations. Rakes left in bunkers should be placed in the flat part of the bunker, avoiding slopes.
SERIOUS BREACHES OF ETIQUETTE
The Etiquette Section in the Rules of Golf and Rule 33-7 allow for disqualification of a player who commits a serious breach of etiquette. For guidance on what constitutes a serious breach of etiquette, see Decision 33-7/8 in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf.
A MODIFICATION OF THE RULES OF GOLF FOR GOLFERS WITH DISABILITIES
This publication contains permissible modifications to the Rules of Golf for use by disabled golfers and is available from The USGA website (http://usga.org/rules/disabilities/Rules-for-golfers-with-disabilities/). The publication is not intended to provide a revision of the Rules of Golf as they apply to able-bodied players, but rather it is an attempt to adapt the Rules of Golf for groups of disabled golfers so that they can play equitably with an able-bodied golfer or a golfer with another type of disability.
It is important to stress that the Rules modifications only apply if the Committee in charge of a competition has included them. They do not apply automatically to a competition involving disabled golfers.