So you want to become a Referee?
Golf, for the most part, is played without a Referee being present. However, the Committee in charge of a competition may appoint a Referee and perhaps an Observer to accompany play or it may assign Referees or Committee Members to particular parts of the course to assist with the Rules.
People have various reasons for wishing to participate in a Rules Course, the most common one being to make themselves more familiar with the Rules, and how to apply them during a round.
A National Rules Network has been established between the Rules Associations of each of the Districts throughout New Zealand. In each of the Districts the course participants will complete a series of written assignments or attend regular seminars, which are designed to help them find their way around the Rule Book. Seminars will also be held to encourage discussion about the Rules, and finally participants can sit the National Examination which tests your knowledge and understanding of the Rules. This takes the form of an open book test, with the 50 questions having a range of styles such as multiple choice, true or false and diagram situations.
The following scores are required to achieve specific pass marks:
90% - 100% - Honours Pass
80% - 89% - A Pass
70% - 79% - B Pass
As from 2003 a new structure was adopted to ensure those people who wish to be an active Rules Official are suitably trained in the delivery of rulings.
By following a prescribed Rules Course and achieving a score of 70% or more in the National Examination a candidate is deemed to have gained a satisfactory knowledge of the Rules to allow them to referee at Club level (Level 1).
Those who scored 80% or more in the examination may advance directly into the practical training programme which may lead to them being capable of officiating at provincial events (Level 2). This training programme will involve practical demonstrations on how to deliver rulings, seminars on the Duties of a Referee and officiating at tournaments in a buddy situation.
Candidates who achieve a B pass in the examination may be given conditional entry to Level 2 but must resit the examination and achieve a score of 80% or more before they can reach Level 2 status.
New Zealand Golf have introduced a subsequent training school for those who wish to be considered as a Referee at major national events (Level 3). It is intended that the R&A will be involved in the delivery of this training, with candidates required to be of Level 2 calibre to be accepted for the training.
The opportunity may subsequently arise for officials of this standard to be invited to the New Zealand Open Championship and/or PGA championship. The Association has also had a member invited to the Australian Open.
To find out more about becoming a Referee, contact Bruce Hayhow at BruceLH@xtra.co.nz