The R&A - Working for Golf

Guidance on Running a Competition

Running a successful golf competition involves many factors including establishing the conditions, marking the course and administering the event. Guidance on Running a Competition provides an essential reference for Committees, when conducting a competition at both elite and club level.

Essential Check List for Committees

There are many aspects to running elite golf competitions.  Some of these aspects are applicable in part, to smaller events at club level as well as major championships.  Regardless of the event’s size and prominence, there are five essential areas that the Committee in charge of the competition must pay particular attention to when preparing for and running a competition.

Committee Checklist

  • Establish Conditions of Competition
  • Mark the golf course
  • Establish Local Rules to suit local conditions
  • Set-up the course and check the course is presented correctly
  • Administer the competition by ensuring that play is in line with the Rules of Golf and organising scoring, results and prize giving

Conditions of Competition

The conditions of the competition are the foundations on which a competition is built.  It is important that the conditions are established in advance of the competition and are made available to the competitors. Among other things, they specify: 

  • Who is eligible 
  • How to enter 
  • The format 
  • The draw (starting times and groups) 
  • Prizes 
  • How ties will be decided 
  • For more information on establishing Conditions of Competition, go to Section 2 in Guidance on Running a Competition.

    Course Marking

    Prior to the competition starting, it is the responsibility of the Committee to ensure that the course has been properly marked.  Marking the margins of water hazard or boundaries correctly will reduce the chances of awkward Rules situations and doubt as to the correct way to proceed when on course.  There are three main areas that the Committee should concentrate on: 

  • Out of bounds 
  • Margins of water hazards and lateral water hazards 
  • Any areas of ground under repair 
  • For more information on course marking, go to Section 4 in Guidance on Running a Competition.

    Local Rules

    The Local Rules are specific to the golf course that the competition is being played on so it is important that the Committee review the course in advance so that they can establish these Local Rules. Aspects to consider but not limited to: 

  • Clarifying the boundaries of the course
  • Highlighting any areas of ground under repair and the relief procedure
  • What constitutes an integral part of the course
  • What to do if temporary immovable obstructions (e.g. grandstand, television platform) are present
  • The status of any roads and paths on the course 
  • For more information and recommendations on appropriate Local Rules, go to Section 3 in Guidance on Running a Competition.

    Course Set-Up

    It is important that the Committee considers how it wishes the course to play during a competition.  Taking into the account the weather forecast, the players involved in the competition and the condition of the course, the Committee must:

  • Set appropriate teeing grounds
  • Plan, set and check hole locations
  • Prepare bunkers and ensure rakes are available
  • For more information and recommendations on appropriate Local Rules, go to Section 5 in Guidance on Running a Competition.

    Competition Administration

    On the day of the competition itself, the Committee need to ensure that the competition is run in line with the Rules of Golf and to provide for the unexpected, such as bad weather. To do this, the Committee need to take charge of: 

  • Registration
  • Issuing score cards, starting and recording of scores
  • Monitoring pace of play in accordance with a pace of play policy
  • Applying the Rules of Golf
  • Handling suspensions of play due to inclement weather
  • For more information and recommendations on appropriate Local Rules, go to Section 6 in Guidance on Running a Competition.