Blog: Grant Moir, Director - Rules of Golf

I write this from the departure lounge at Melbourne Airport heading back to Scotland after a nine-day stint in Melbourne that concluded with IFQ - Australasia at Kingston Heath Golf Club.

Having left a snow-covered Old Course for temperatures of 41 degrees Celsius, my first visit to Melbourne began sedately with 18 holes at the highly rated Kingston Heath, one of the city's famous sandbelt courses. The sandbelt is also home to the likes of Royal Melbourne, Victoria, Metropolitan and Commonwealth, and is regarded as one of the best concentration of courses in the world.

The following day I went to the Victorian Open, a professional event run by the Victorian Golf Association and the PGA Tour of Australasia. I met with the Victoria State Rules Officials at the end of the day's play and then gave a dinner speech in the evening at Commonwealth Golf Club at which I spoke about the role of The R&A and what it does for the game of golf around the world. As one would expect from an enthusiastic Aussie audience, they were not slow in telling me what The R&A should be doing!

Then the real business began. On the request of Golf Australia (GA), The R&A had been asked to assist in developing a national education system on Rules and Tournament Administration. With the additional assistance of the various states, GA has established a process that sees people attend club level and state level seminars, but my principal involvement had been to assist Simon Magdulski, Manager of Rules and Handicapping at GA, with the Advanced State Level Rules and Tournament Administration Course.

Particular emphasis was placed on the role of a rules official. We were fortunate to have Andrew Langford-Jones of the PGA Tour of Australasia as one of the speakers, and Langers' was able to give the attendees the benefit of over 20 years experience in refereeing at tournaments all over the world - although he was at pains to advise that The Open is his favourite championship!

We always try to emphasise that a rules official is there to assist a player if at all possible. It seems that many of those who come to the Rules and Referees Schools run by The R&A assume that we'll have a very rigid approach to officiating and expect us to encourage stern and unsympathetic application of the Rules. They are often surprised when we favour a more polite and helpful approach.

As is almost always the case, the role play sessions, where the attendees give rulings to instructors acting as demanding' players, proved the most daunting but the most popular part of the course. Delivering a ruling in front of your peers and then being subjected to an appraisal of the ruling is great preparation for the pressure of delivering a ruling in a high profile tournament situation.

The course concluded on Wednesday, with the three instructors from The R&A, GA and the PGA very pleased with how the first staging had gone, and the attendees very positive in terms of the benefits they felt they had derived from it.

It was then on to International Final Qualifying…