The R&A is launching an official refereeing qualification to spearhead a new and enhanced rules education programme which will be piloted around the world in 2021.
The programme will establish a clear pathway for those seeking to become qualified golf referees and tournament administrators by combining technical knowledge of the rules with practical on-course experience, as well as providing continuous professional development to ensure officials build on their skills following qualification.
Grant Moir, Director – Rules at The R&A, said: “We believe that individuals aspiring to become referees and tournament administrators will benefit greatly from this enhanced rules education programme that culminates in an official qualification which will be recognised internationally.
“We will work closely with our affiliated national federations around the world to introduce the new referee qualification and together encourage future officials to take advantage of the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the Rules and develop the skills required to apply them in a competition environment.”
Candidates seeking to gain the new qualification will be graded using written exams and practical assessments at four incremental levels and then certified as an ‘R&A Qualified Referee’ on successful completion of the programme.
The R&A will work in collaboration with national federations to provide the theoretical and practical elements of the new qualification, including provision of educational materials, staging of seminars and supporting assessors in appraising candidates.
This year will see an initial pilot of the programme being run in six countries, including Australia, Chile, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and Sweden, in order to seek feedback and make refinements to the programme ahead of a full roll-out in 2022.
The refereeing programme will also benefit from the input of former European Tour chief referees John Paramor and Andy McFee, who have accumulated over 80 years’ experience at the highest level of professional golf and have been appointed as ambassadors for the programme.
The programme has also received the full backing of the European Tour, the Ladies’ European Tour and the Asian Tour.