The Rules of Golf define the Committee as “the Committee in charge of the competition” and Rule 33-1 states that, “the Committee must establish the conditions under which a competition is to be played”.
However, first and foremost, a Committee must be appointed that will be in charge of all aspects of running the competition. In addition, members of the Committee must be clear as regards their authority to give decisions on matters such as Rules disputes, suspensions of play, etc. Without a pre-determined Committee it is difficult to run a well-organised event.
At Club level there may be different Committees within a Club. The Committee that runs the golf competition must be identified and only the members of that Committee should have the authority to make decisions in relation to competitions. Often the Committee will pass duties of running the competition to the Club professional or starter. These individuals are not automatically members of the Committee, therefore it is advisable to clarify the role of the professional and starter and stipulate if they have the authorisation to make decisions on behalf of the Committee, e.g. approve a change in start time, suspend play, etc.
The Conditions of Competition are the foundations on which a competition is built as, among other things, they specify who is eligible to enter, how a player may enter and what format the event will take (see copy of The Open Championship entry form – Appendix A).
It is vital that the conditions are established in advance of the competition so that the Committee can deal with any situations that may arise, such as a tie or a player playing a ball that does not appear on the List of Conforming Golf Balls. It is the responsibility of Committees to interpret the conditions they establish and, therefore, the conditions should be clear and carry precise guidance as to what action should be taken when certain circumstances arise.