Guidance on Running a Competition

Rules Officials

If it is feasible, the Committee should have a number of representatives on the course to observe play, be available to give rulings and otherwise assist players. Obviously, anyone assigned to the course as a Rules official should be knowledgeable about the Rules.

At The Open Championship there is a walking referee assigned to each group and there are several roving referees assigned to each nine who assist the referees in cases of doubt and carry out timing procedures should a group be out of position and behind the pace of play time schedule.

Comp Admin Rules Official

However, even in professional events, this level of Rules staffing is the exception rather than the norm. Commonly, there will only be roving referees covering areas of the course who will monitor pace of play and give rulings when called upon to do so.

Prior to the competition, it is advisable for a meeting involving all Rules officials to be held. At such a meeting the chief referee may run through the Local Rules, Conditions of Competition, etc. and answer any queries 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 authorised by the Committee to give final decisions in its name.