Golf officials from all over the world gathered in St Andrews last week to take part in the annual Tournament Administrators and Referees School (TARS) organised by The R&A.
The Level 3 school at the Fairmont St Andrews resort was attended by around 90 delegates from 45 countries and gave them the opportunity to undertake the Level 3 Rules Exam, the last stage of The R&A’s three-tier qualification process designed to help students achieve the standard of a tournament official or referee.
The four-day school featured practical demonstration sessions, instruction from leading rules officials, including John Paramor, the Chief Referee on the European Tour, and discussions on the changes introduced in the 2016 edition of the Rules of Golf. Delegates also received briefings on pace of play, course marking, starting and recording and took part in role play sessions giving individual rulings on different on-course situations.
Among the delegates for the event was Frank Nobilo, who achieved 15 victories around the world as a Tour professional and is now a golf analyst and commentator on the Golf Channel and CBS, and John Morgan, a Tour professional who is also a summariser for Sky Sports. Nobilo said it was important for broadcasters to develop their knowledge of the Rules to enable them to give accurate and informative commentary on Rules situations which arise in televised championships.
“It is so much more than what I anticipated it to be and has been more than enlightening for me. The majority of people are here to study the Rules and be experts in it and hopefully become, as a lot of them are now, tournament referees,” he said.
“When I came in I didn’t know what to expect but I thought with 40 years involved in the game in one capacity or another my knowledge of the Rules would be better than what it is. I realise I am amongst experts which is a good thing and I certainly welcome that. It is going to make me a better broadcaster.”
David Rickman, Executive Director – Rules and Equipment Standards at The R&A said, “It has been another excellent TARS and we have been delighted to welcome delegates to St Andrews from countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Estonia, Kenya and Vietnam.
“The purpose of the event is to provide a stimulating and challenging programme about the Rules of Golf and to help tournament officials and referees achieve the Level 3 qualification. This is a hugely important part of our Rules education programme and we work closely with our national affiliated organisations to support their officials in achieving this standard.”
For more information about the R&A’s Rules of Golf Education programmes, please click here.