Golf Australia

Rules Accreditation & Education Programs

Rules & Handicapping – General Resources

Golf Australia makes available resources for competition committees, experienced club golfers and entry-level golfers alike. 

For example:

• Competition golf procedures.  For competition committees, these resources will develop awareness and understanding of best-practice competition management techniques appropriate to various types and levels of event.  Go to the following page of the GA website for a wide variety of resources that will be very helpful to club administrators –

• Publications.  Go to  These include GA’s popular ‘Tee it Up, A Guide to Club Golf’ booklet; and also the quarterly electronic ‘GA Rules Newsletter’.

• The GA Handicap System.  (For clubs, the available resources will develop awareness and understanding of club obligations regarding effective handicap system application and administration.)  Go to

• The Rules of Golf.  Go to the following GA webpage –

Rules Education Pathway

The international governing body for the Rules of Golf is the R&A.  GA and Member Associations work closely with the R&A to service Australian clubs and individuals.

GA has adopted the R&A’s three-tier Rules Education Pathway. These resources provide for official Rules education in Australia to deliver to clubs and golfers:

• International best practice.

• International consistency.

• Direct access to the significant investment capacity and expertise of the R&A.

GA’s Rules Education Pathway enables people of various skill or knowledge levels to further develop and improve their capacity to conform with or deliver the Rules of Golf and competition management.

GA’s Rules Education Pathway aims to cater for those who simply want a better understanding of the most common rules scenarios right through to those who wish to referee in an official capacity at the highest level.

1. Level 1

Level 1 courses are conducted by Member Associations. Participants attend either a 90-minute or 3-hour interactive seminar (length of course is determined by the preference of the club, and can be tailored by the presenters to meet specific time requirements).

Summary of course content and aims:

• Focus on the principal abbreviated Definitions and the Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf.

• Level 1 is designed by the R&A for golfers with a limited or low understanding of the Rules.

• The R&A has no expectation that golfers be Rules experts and Level 1 doesn’t seek to make an expert of them.  It is for golfers who either desire to become better informed about the Rules for their personal golfing benefit, or who want a starting point to enable progression to other tiers of the R&A’s international Rules education structure.

Level of knowledge: no knowledge of the Rules or a basic understanding.

Objective: successful participants at Level 1 would be regarded as reasonably well-informed golfers who would be able to proceed correctly in the majority of common situations encountered on the golf course.

Following attendance of the Level 1 course, attendees will be given the option to sit the R&A Level 1 online exam (this is not compulsory).

The Level 1 exam lasts 1 hour and is open book, i.e. the Quick Guide and the Rule book may be used. Participants must attain a mark of at least 60% to pass. There is no limit to the number of times an individual may attempt the online exam.

To find out where your nearest Level 1 course is available, contact your Member Association (

2. Level 2

Level 2 Courses are organised in each State/Territory by Member Associations.  They are conducted over two consecutive days by a National Panel of presenters.

Summary of course content and aims:

• The Level 2 course is designed to provide an upskilling opportunity for key club officials in order to enable them to better perform their club duties – for example golf shop staff, club captains, match committee chairmen.  These are people who do not necessarily wish to referee, but wish to improve their knowledge of the Rules of Golf and competition management capacity.

• The Level 2 course is also intended to cater for those people who wish to continue their progression on the elite referee pathway.

Level of knowledge: ideally attendees would have successfully completed a Level 1 School (either an actual Level 1 School or the online Rules Academy equivalent) and, in any case, attendees would be expected to know the basics of the Rules as covered in the Quick Guide.

A key part of the Level 2 school is the on-course ‘Practical Demonstration / Role Play’ sessions.  During the Role Play’ sessions, attendees can either watch and/or ask questions, or they may choose to deliver role play rulings in front of the group to the presenter.

Objective: successful participants would be able to give decisions on the Rules to interested golfers, give clubhouse decisions as part of a committee running a competition and resolve Rules disputes, ie perform the role of a club manager/competition secretary.

As part of the Level 2 course, attendees will have the option to sit the Level 2 written examination (this is not compulsory). The Level 2 exam consists of both a closed book and an open book section and must be completed within two hours (there is no practical element to this examination).

To find out where your nearest Level 2 course is available, contact your Member Association (

3. Level 3 – Australasian Referees & Competitions School

The Level 3 – Australasian Referees & Competitions School is a joint initiative of GA, New Zealand Golf, and The R&A and is presented by senior officials from The R&A, GA, New Zealand Golf, and the PGA of Australia.  It is conducted over three consecutive days and is held every two years.  Australian attendance is via invitation (following consideration of recommendations from Member Associations).

Summary of course content and aims:

• The target attendees for this school are those State/Territory/National personnel who are integrally involved in rules administration and the delivery of elite competitions (either as staff or as a committee member).

• Whilst attendees will be benefited by having a strong working knowledge of the Rules of Golf, GA caters for any attendees who are less experienced (GA is mindful that some Member Associations, by necessity, will wish to fast-track the development of an official who is less experienced).

• The course contains an equal mix of indoor classroom-style sessions, as well as outdoor practical sessions.

• Course sessions cover a wide variety of competition management subject matter, and also elite referee best practice training.

Culminating the Level 3 – Australasian Referees and Competitions School is the Level 3 examination (exam attendance is encouraged but not compulsory). This is GA’s and the R&A’s highest level examination which, held over three hours, consists of both a closed book section on the Rules of Golf and an open book section on both the Rules of Golf and Decisions Book. Participants must attain a mark of at least 60% to pass.

A desire to attend the Level 3 course can be expressed via contacting your Member Association (

4. National Level

National Level Accreditation is granted only to those referees who are invited to serve on the Rules Committee for either the Men’s Australian Open or the Women’s Australian Open. By granting someone National Level Accreditation, GA is making a statement to any Australian or international entity that the individual is a member of Australia’s elite group of referees.  

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