R&A Rules School in Cape Town a huge success

The comments varied from tough and tricky to entertaining and fun, but all the delegates who attended the R&A Level 3 Tournament Administrators and Referees Schools (TARS) this past week agreed that the three-day event at Steenburg Golf Club was well-constructed and highly informative.

“We were pleased to welcome 53 delegates to the first TARS in South Africa and we were delighted with the positive feedback about experience,” said Claire Hargan, R & A Assistant Director – Rules.

“We broke the ice with a practical demonstration on the first day to get everyone in the right frame of mind and followed with theoretical sessions around tournament committees and administration in the afternoon.

“Since we always like to get the Referee’s Exam out of the way early, the delegates sat the exam on the second morning. After the exam we continued with theoretical and practical sessions around pace of play, starting and recording, and suspension of play.”

Hargan was assisted by Chairman of the R&A Rules Committee David Bonsall, Neil Homann from the South African Golf Association (SAGA) and R&A referee Tony Rocke during the practical sessions.

“Neil also arranged for former European and Sunshine Tour campaigner Roger Wessels to talk to the delegates from the professional players’ point of view,” Hargan explained.

“It is very important that delegates understand that the golf course is the players’ office. When you enter their office, you have to take the right attitude and approach on the course. A player might be having a horrific day and a referee should never take anything personally.

“Roger did an outstanding job communicating the player’s point of view and also shared some fantastic rules incidents from his years on tour. He also assisted in the practical demonstration where the delegates were given an opportunity to give rulings during the role play session.

“We found the delegates very enthusiastic and they engaged really well during all the sessions, which is exactly what we were hoping for. We trust that they will come away from the TARS more informed and confident, and with the necessary tools to guide them to become successful rules officials and administrators.

“The course was very productive and enjoyable and we look forward to more of the same when we conduct the second TARS at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington next week.”

SAGA Acting Senior Vice President Naadir Agherdien found the exam tough, but said the TARS was an excellent experience.

“The exam was really tough, but the three days of information shared by the R&A representatives was extremely beneficial,” Agherdien said. “I was also delighted with the turnout. The interest in certified rules proficiency is overwhelmingly encouraging and it augers well for the future of competition golf in South Africa.”
Barbara Pestana from the Women’s PGA of South Africa also applauded Hargan and her team.

“I must admit, I was very relieved when the exam was out of the way,” said Pestana. “I found the exam quite tricky. You were presented with situations, but then they throw a few things in there that causes you to doubt your decision. Not to mention having to do it all on the clock.

“That said, though, the course overall was very well presented, informative and educational and I enjoyed the practical sessions immensely. It’s always great to see theory applied in practice.”

Womens Golf South Africa (WGSA) president Karen Olivant agreed.

“I qualified back in 2010 when the R&A conducted the Level 3 Examination at Steenburg Golf Club,” Olivant said. “However, it is always such a privilege to have the R&A in South Africa and I could not pass up the opportunity to attend the TARS again.

“One can always expand your knowledge base of the rules and once again, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was fantastic to see so many women in attendance this year. It bodes well for the development of the women’s game in South Africa.”

Sunshine Tour operations manager Dirk Cloete, another qualified Level 3 Rules Official, also retook the exam.

“At first I wasn’t going to sit the exam, but I changed my mind, because it is such a good experience,” Cloete said. “The TARS also represented a great networking opportunity to meet the R&A representatives and the delegates.

“I found the course highly informative and enjoyed talking to David Bonsall about the R&A’s long term vision to simplify the rules to encourage more people to study the rules. It was also a good opportunity to engage with the delegates and inform them of the routes available here at home, should they want to end up working for the Tour. Overall, a very entertaining and informative experience.”

Guy Reynolds and Sarah Braude, the respective presidents of Western Province Golf Union and Womens Golf Western Province, enjoyed the positive feedback from the delegates.

“It was very pleasing to see delegates from the Western Province and other parts of the country making full use of this significant opportunity to attend the TARS school and sit the Level 3 exam,” said Braude.

“The feedback from the delegates was very positive. The practical demonstrations and ‘referee role-playing’ enhanced their knowledge and experience; it was also great to watch the delegates grow in their understanding of the rules throughout the course.”

Reynolds said: “On behalf of all the delegates and Western Province golf we extend our heartfelt appreciation to David, Claire, Tony and Neil for organising and running an exceptional school. We also thank the SAGA and WGSA for facilitating the R&A’s visit to South Africa. We look forward to delegates that will provide a high level of refereeing at the Western Province tournaments.”

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