Tuesday, 19 May 2015

May Miscellany

This week I am covering a few miscellaneous items that I hope may be of interest to readers.

R&A Rules Courses
I know that many subscribers and readers, as well as having a more than usual interest in the Rules of Golf, are also active or aspiring Rules officials. I have never been involved as an official, on-course referee, though I have often been called on to assist with rulings at Club and Inter-Club competitions. I was therefore surprised and delighted to be invited by the R&A to attend their Level 3 Tournament Administrators and Referees School (TARS), which was being held in Ireland for the very first time, in Athlone, 75 miles (120 km) from Dublin. The R&A’s formal Rules Education programme consists of a three-tiered approach;

  • Level 1 Introductory Rules School
  • Level 2 Rules School
  • Level 3 Tournament Administrators and Referees School
More details of these courses can be found on the R&A web site at this link. Please note that Level 1 can now be completed by anyone on-line, at the R&A Rules Academy web site. I am delighted to report that following my participation in this Level 3 course, I have just received my certificate confirming that I passed the 2 ½ hours Level 3 exam with distinction, the highest grade possible. Now I can relax!

Handicapping Systems
Unlike the Rules of Golf, which are unified across the world, handicapping systems vary considerably from country to country. I am aware that there are at least six different handicapping systems in use in the following areas; USA, GB and Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia, South Africa and Argentina. Personally, I have trouble keeping up with the CONGU system that applies to golfers resident in UK and Ireland, which apparently is significantly simpler to understand than some of the other systems. However, this week I learned that the USGA is leading an effort to get the various international handicapping authorities to agree on a unified system, using the USGA’s Course Rating and Slope Rating as the basis for a proposed World Handicap System, and incorporating the best elements from the other systems. I certainly welcome and support this excellent initiative.

Most readers of my weekly blog on the Rules receive it by email (if you don’t, just enter your email address at the top-right of this page). You may be interested to know that these emails are sent to over 7,000 subscribers (through the Google/feedburner service). At this time of year, I have an average of 50 new subscriptions every week (against an average of 7 unsubscribes). Similarly, over 9,000 Rules enthusiasts have subscribed to my ‘Rhodes Rules School’ weekly series. Of course, many of you are subscribed to both of these lists.  After almost 7 years of weekly blogs I now feature in the first few results for any ‘Googled’ questions on the Rules, even though I do not pay anything to them for this premium ranking, which results in approximately 8,000 hits to my blog site every week. My five short, instructional videos on my ‘Rhodes Rules School’ web site, have combined views of around 500 a week and my eDocuments have been sold into over 60 different countries.

Paperback Version of ‘999Q’
Thanks to the wonderful service from an Amazon Group company, CreateSpace, my Book ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf 2012-2015’ is now available as a paperback. Click on this link for details and to purchase. Please note that, as with all eDocuments purchased from my ‘Rhodes Rules School’ web site before the end of this year, I will provide an errata sheet to cover any of the changes to Rules and Decisions that are announced by USGA / R&A for January 2016.

Failure to Hole Out (Rule 3-2)

I was present at an Inter-Club, stroke play qualifier on Saturday when it was brought to my attention that a player, whose chip had resulted in his ball resting against the flagstick, had picked-up his ball and walked to the next teeing ground. He was obviously not aware that a ball resting against the flagstick in this way is not holed. All of the ball has to be at rest below the level of the lip of the hole. The player should carefully move the flagstick and if the ball falls into the hole they are deemed to have holed out with their last stroke.

I also heard about Irish Professional Golfer, Damien McGrane, disqualifying himself from the Open de Espana tournament, held near Barcelona, by picking-up his ball on his 17th hole after missing a relatively easy putt. “I just had enough” he said. He knew that he was on course to miss his fifth European Tour cut in a row. Although he did not hole out he continued to walk with his two fellow competitors, who were also going to miss the cut, until they had completed their rounds. I presume that a European Tour fine will be forthcoming for this unusual and untoward behaviour.

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2015 and may not be copied without permission.


Richard Wakem said...

Well done on level 3 with Distinction
i now your books held myself on level two

Unknown said...

Hi Barry
Could you provide the rulings for this hole in one case ? Will it be HIO or not ?

Barry Rhodes said...

Hung Le,

It is unfortunate, but the ball is not holed, because all of it is not below the lip of the hole. The ball is obviously wedged against the hole liner and will not drop into the hole for a hole-in-one when the flagstick is carefully removed. So, the player must mark and lift their ball, have the hole liner removed or repaired, place the ball on the lip of the hole and take their putt for a score of 2.

P.S. The picture emphasises why it is a very bad practice for greenkeepers to use metal hole liners such as this.