April 17, 2012
Setting the Pace: Role of a Rules Official
A common occurrence that leads to misconceptions is that when a group is put on red card, they then have a rules official that follows them. The misconception is that the rules official is there to pressure them and is hindering them, making it harder to get a green card. In reality, this rules official is there specifically to help them regain their position and get off red card.
Oftentimes examples of things that lead to red cards are: lost balls, waiting on a ruling, long searches for golf balls, and slow play. Of those examples, only slow play cannot be significantly reduced with the presence of a rules official. When a rules official is around after a red card is issued it is not to hinder the group but help in the following ways:
· Spot for golf balls: This will significantly help locating lost golf balls; cut down on the amount of time searching for golf balls; and enable the other competitors to keep playing if a search for a golf ball is necessary.
· Assist with rulings: Though the players might know the rules and can take care of it by themselves, if a rules official is present it will expedite the process. Also, again, it allows the other competitors to keep playing and let the rules official help the player with the ruling.
Rules officials also have to do their due diligence and gain all information available once a group has been given red card. For this reason that rules official will also be timing the group; both as a whole and individually for every shot. This is to help us identify if there is a slow player in the group and hopefully identify if there are other players in the group who do NOT deserve the penalty (if the situation arises). Without this concrete information, there would be no evidence for the AJGA to separate an individual player from the entire group.
When a red card is issued, a rules official WILL be around, but to assist the group, not harass them. Our goal is to help that group improve their position, so that a penalty situation never arises.
For more information on the AJGA's 'Setting the Pace' educational series, or the AJGA Pace of Play Policy, please contact Tournament Coordinator Samantha Hirshberg at email@example.com.