Rules and Rants
Learning the Rules of the game
Golf Canada’s Rules of Golf Online Education System offers user-friendly environment to study the regulations that govern golf
Brent McLaughlin, Director of Rules, Competitions and Amateur Status with Golf Canada
Published on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 10:23AM EST
The intricacies of golf, and more specifically, the finer points of the Rules of Golf, are well documented, so much so that even golf professionals inadvertently violate some of the most basic stipulations once in a while.
For the casual golfer, Rules Education, or the lack thereof, comes at the expense of the time it takes to master other technical aspects of the game tied to, among others, one’s swing or putting stroke.
Golf Canada’s readily accessible ‘Rules Education Program,’ designed for all golfers – recreational, competitive or professional – wishing to improve their level of knowledge of the Rules of Golf, takes steps to alter that trend.
It’s daunting for anybody to learn the Rules of a sport. At the very fundamental level, when golfers go out on the course, they are often intimidated because they don’t know what the process is for common occurrences such as when your ball comes to rest on a cart path or in a water hazard.
Comprised of on-line, in-class seminar and practical components spread out over four distinct levels; the Rules Education Program is designed to break the 34 Rules of Golf into small doses, rather than force-feeding the enormity of the Rules at once.
Level 1 of the program, ideal for juniors, beginners and golfers who have had no previous experience with the Rules, introduces the basic concepts and language of the Rules of Golf entirely online. Users are schooled in basic etiquette and the eight key introductory Rules concepts - Playing the Ball as it Lies, Marking, Lifting, Dropping and Placing, Loose Impediments, Obstructions, Abnormal Ground Conditions, Water Hazards, Ball Lost or Out of Bounds and Provisional Ball, and Ball Unplayable.
Level 2 of the program, also conducted primarily on-line, introduces the key reference manual for officials: the Decisions on the Rules of Golf. This publication is the key to understanding how the Rules of Golf are applied on the course. Level 2 teaches the student how to use the Decisions book effectively when the Rules book alone does not provide the answer.
Level 3, comprised of a three-day seminar conducted by the provincial golf associations, covers the most common Rules of Golf and includes practical sessions that demonstrate how the Rules apply on the golf course, while Level 4, the national level, is more of a referee school, teaching students to be officials and going over what they’d actually encounter on a golf course like how to interact with players, how to give a ruling and how to call for help on a ruling, if needed.
The great thing about the Rules Education system is that it allows users to see themselves progress over time.
Level 1 is for the enjoyment of the game. Level 2, once certified, people can work club and regional events. Level 3, they can work provincial events, PGA of Canada events, CJGA events, and at Level 4, a graduate might one day be able to work at a national or professional championship.
Nearly 2,000 users have registered to use the Rules of Golf Online Education System since 2008.
The system definitely serves a purpose and continues to help us. There are approximately 100 certified Level 4 Rules Officials across Canada. We hope to increase the number of people getting involved, staying involved, and moving up the levels.
To start your Rules Education, click here.