The annual St Andrews Level 3 Tournament Administrators and Referees School (TARS) took place this week, bringing together a record number of representatives from golf organisations around the world.
The School, held at the Fairmont Hotel St Andrews, was attended by 96 delegates from more than 40 different countries spanning Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom.
The event began with practical demonstration sessions that used specially constructed indoor golf settings, allowing participants to discuss different Rules scenarios with the instructors.
On the second day, participants sat the Level Three Rules Exam, a component of the R&A’s three-tiered Rules Education programme that guides people from a basic knowledge of the Rules to the standard of a tournament official or referee.
Delegates also worked through sessions and presentations on subjects including pace of play, course marking, starting and recording, and took part in a role play session giving individual rulings on different on-course situations.
Former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart was on hand to speak to attendees about the Rules from a player’s point of view and European Tour Chief Referee Andy McFee gave a presentation about refereeing at the professional level.
David Rickman, Executive Director – Rules and Equipment Standards at The R&A, said, “It is fantastic to see such a high level of interest in the Rules and the diverse range of countries represented this year. The School is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together from all over the world to gain a broader understanding of the Rules and the many different aspects of refereeing and administering tournaments.”
Vincent Wang’ombe of the Kenya Golf Union believes the knowledge he gained during the TARS will be beneficial for golf in Kenya, where several new golf courses are under development.
“It’s a growing economy in Kenya and more and more golfers are picking up the game so it’s a very good time to be learning about the Rules and encouraging people to get interested in golf.
“It’s been an exceptional experience for me to meet so many people from around the world who know so much about the Rules and who want to learn more. I’m hoping that I will be able to improve the knowledge of the Rules in Kenya through what I’ve learnt here.”
The event culminated with a reception and dinner at The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse on the final evening, giving delegates a chance to see inside the historic building.
“Coming to St Andrews and stepping inside the clubhouse has been a dream,” said Agathe Seron of France, who represented the Alps Tour at the TARS.
“It has been wonderful to see the tradition of golf here in Scotland and how it is so old, but also so modern at the same time. This is the first time we have had representatives from the Alps Tour here and we feel it is important to show our members that we are learning as much as we can about the Rules and the correct way to run a tournament so we can continue to deliver a high standard on our circuit,” she said.For more information about the R&A’s Rules of Golf Education programmes, please visit Rules Education.