More than 100 delegates from across Africa gathered this autumn to take part in The R&A’s Level 3 Tournament Administrators and Referees Schools (TARS) in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The participants, travelling from a range of countries including Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa itself, shared their experiences of refereeing and developed their skills and knowledge in the Rules of Golf through the Level 3 TARS.
Vincent Wang’ombe, explained that when he first became interested in the Rules he found it difficult to find support in his home country of Kenya. However, after attending an R&A Level 2 Rules School, he now helps administer tournaments at home whilst also refereeing on the Challenge Tour.
“Refereeing at times can be a bit daunting especially when you have to deal with people who are unhappy about the rulings. But somebody has to do it! I enjoy teaching and educating the golfers on the Rules of Golf,” said Vincent.
“Every time I read the Rule book I find something new and even having attended TARS before, I still found that I learned a few new things.”
Toni Quattro, who attended the Cape Town course, said the practical development sessions at TARS were the most valuable to her development as a referee.
“It has been exceptionally enlightening. I enjoyed the role playing sessions the most. Learning from a book and doing things in practice is very different,” said Toni.
“I enjoy being out there with the players enjoying the awesome golf and ensuring that the players play the game fairly. For me, that is the most important thing - that everyone has an equal chance to play the game correctly.”
Karen Olivant, President of Women’s Golf South Africa, echoed that view, saying, “The on-course practical demonstrations are the most useful. I have learnt a huge amount to do with marking and setting up of the course.”
Another element of the TARS which the delegates find particularly useful is the Professionals’ Point of View session which helps the delegates to understand a player’s thought process during a ruling. In Cape Town, former European and Sunshine Tour professional Roger Wessels gave the delegates the benefit of his experiences in dealing with referees on Tour and, in Johannesburg, former Sunshine Tour professional Richard Kaplan spoke on this topic whilst also attending the course as a delegate.
“I’ve learned snippets from each session but I think what has been most interesting for me is to get the professionals’ view on the referee’s role,” explained Craig Fraunstein – a referee from Pretoria. “That was helpful in thinking about how I am going to approach a ruling in the future.”
Claire Hargan, Assistant Director - Rules at The R&A, ran the course alongside David Bonsall, Chairman of The R&A Rules Committee, R&A Rules Panel member, Tony Rocke and Neil Homann, Assistant Executive Director of the South African Golf Association.
“The delegates were very enthusiastic and engaged really well during all the sessions, which is exactly what we were hoping for,” she said.
“We trust that they will come away from TARS more informed and confident and with the necessary tools to guide them to become more successful referees and tournament administrators.”