The programme will establish a clear pathway for individuals who are seeking to become qualified golf referees and tournament administrators by combining technical knowledge of the Rules with practical on course experience, as well as providing continuous professional development to ensure officials build on their skills following qualification.
Grant Moir, Director – Rules at The R&A, said, “We believe that individuals aspiring to become referees and tournament administrators will benefit greatly from this enhanced Rules education programme that culminates in an official qualification which will be recognised internationally.
“We will work closely with our affiliated national federations around the world to introduce the new Referee Qualification and together encourage future officials to take advantage of the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the Rules and develop the skills required to apply them in a competition environment.”
Candidates seeking to gain the new qualification will be graded using written examinations and practical assessments at four incremental levels and then certified as an “R&A Qualified Referee” on successful completion of the programme.
The R&A will work in collaboration with national federations to provide the theoretical and practical elements of the new qualification, including provision of educational materials, staging of seminars and supporting assessors in appraising candidates.
This year will see an initial pilot of the programme being run in six countries, including Australia, Chile, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and Sweden, in order to seek feedback and make refinements to the programme ahead of a full roll-out in 2022.
The qualification in refereeing programme will also benefit from the input of former European Tour chief referees John Paramor and Andy McFee, who have accumulated over 80 years’ experience at the highest level of professional golf and have been appointed as ambassadors for the programme.
John Paramor said, “I am extremely honoured to have been asked by The R&A to become an ambassador for its new Qualification. I have been involved in professional tournament golf for a long time and will be delighted to try and help referees gain the necessary tools to be able to step in and officiate at the highest level of golf tournaments.”
Andy McFee added, “I would like to thank The R&A for considering me and am delighted to accept the role as an ambassador as they expand the rules education programme to include the new qualification in refereeing. On course practical experience is a vital part of this and I will be very happy if I can help others to improve their ability to assist the players of our wonderful game by passing on the knowledge I have accumulated through 40 years of working with the Rules in professional golf.”
The programme has also received the full backing of the European Tour, the Ladies’ European Tour and the Asian Tour.