Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship Blog

Claire Hargan, Rules Manager writes about her experiences as a referee at the 2013 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at the Nanshan International Golf Club in China.

The 2013 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) was only the fifth staging of the event, but with the success of previous winners such as Hideki Matsuyama (2010 and 2011 Champion) and Guan Tianlang (2012 Champion), the event is already one of the highest profile amateur events. This year 118 golfers from 34 countries competed for the title along with a place in the 2014 Masters Tournament and International Final Qualifying for the 2014 Open Championship.

My colleague Ed Johnson (Manager, Amateur Championships) and I were fortunate to be invited to assist the chief referee Greg Fitzhardinge, from Australia, with the course marking, course set-up and refereeing during the Championship.

During our first look around the course on the Sunday afternoon it was immediately obvious that this was no ordinary amateur event. The Championship would have the largest TV audience of any amateur golf event in the world. From a Rules point of view that meant that many of the challenges of professional tour events would also have to be faced here, with TV towers, leaderboards, TV cables, advertising boards, hospitality tents and so on, all to cater for in the Local Rules.

Greg, Ed and I spent most of Monday and Tuesday finishing off the course marking (there were numerous water hazards and lateral water hazards to stake and line), writing the Local Rules and trying to communicate with the greenkeeping staff regarding what we needed. The number of English speakers in this part of China is limited and our Chinese even more limited, but fortunately several of the other referees spoke the language and were able to act as interpreters for us once they arrived on site.

On the Wednesday evening there was a players’ meeting, and it was decided to take this opportunity to give a short pace of play presentation. The presentation included showing a film clip to help to explain the pace of play condition which would be in place for the event (View here).

Two previous winners of the AAC were penalised at Major Championships in 2013 and it was felt that it was important to implement a strict pace of play policy at this year’s Championship and to educate the players accordingly. The policy proved a great success during the Championship