The National Rules Accreditation & Education Programs Framework consists of six tiers.
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1. Rules & Handicapping General Education Programs
The Rules & Handicapping General Education Programs tier has no proof of competency component, nor is it limited to servicing people possessing any particular level of knowledge or skill. Rather it encompasses a series of tools designed to enable people of various skill or knowledge levels to further develop and improve their capacity to conform with or deliver:
• The Rules of Golf.
• The GA Handicap System. (For Clubs, this will include developing awareness and understanding of Club obligations regarding effective handicap system application and administration.)
• Competition golf procedures (either as a competition committee or as an individual). (For competition committees, this will include developing awareness and understanding of best-practice competition management techniques appropriate to various types and levels of event.)
The Rules & Handicapping General Education Programs tier will include tools for entry-level golfers as well as more advanced tools.
In addition to meeting the above primary objectives, initiatives falling under the Rules & Handicapping General Education Programs banner will where possible:
• Act as a promotional and feeder tool for the Club Level and State Level Rules programs.
• Increase awareness of the services and resources currently provided by State Associations and GA regarding rules, handicapping, competition management, and course set-up (being mindful that as Club personnel change over time, new office holders do not necessarily hold awareness of these services and resources).
• Increase the dialogue between State Associations / GA and Clubs regarding the development of services and resources that will be of genuine benefit to Clubs.
Initiatives that fall under the Rules & Handicapping General Education Programs banner include (note: further initiatives will be added over time):
• Golf Australia’s ‘Tee it Up, A Guide to Club Golf’ booklet.
• Combined GA website Rules & Handicapping resources (this service will continue to be developed and expanded).
• Quarterly electronic ‘Golf Australia Rules Newsletter’ – to be distributed to State Associations, Accredited Referees and additional subscribers.
• GA website interactive resource ‘Check-list for Club Administrators – Handicapping Operational Matters & Preparing for the new GA Handicap System’.
2. The R&A Rules Academy (1st Proof-of-Competency Level)
The R&A Rules Academy is conducted by The R&A online at www.RandA.org/RulesAcademy and is based on the Etiquette Section and the Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf (a short summary of the most commonly occurring Rules).
The course features video, images, and diagrams of Rules situations and includes revision questions after each section (participants must complete these in order to take the exam). It covers the essentials that all golfers should know such as sportsmanship, integrity and respect. It adopts a tee to green approach and tells you what you need to know at each point; from where to tee your ball, to taking relief from various conditions, to holing out and returning the score card.
At the end of the course, people can take a Rules Exam and receive a certificate. Exams consist of 50 questions broken down into 30 multiple choice questions and 20 penalty stroke input questions. Participants must attain a mark of at least 70% to pass.
3. Club Level (2nd Proof-of-Competency Level)
Club Level courses are conducted by State Associations. Participants attend a seminar, and may then sit a multiple choice exam of 50 questions. Some State Associations offer participants the opportunity to sit the exam in person while others offer an online exam only.
Participants must attain a mark of at least 70% to pass (35 correct answers out of 50). A pass of 90% (45 correct answers out of 50) or more achieves a distinction.
The Club Level course is classroom-based.
• To provide a rules education of the key Rules of Golf for Club golfers.
• To provide an education as to how to navigate around the Rule book, and how to locate the rule/s appropriate to a situation.
• To provide a rules validation for course attendees.
• To allow for greater intra-Club spread of rules knowledge.
• To assist with intra-Club administration of Club events.
• To provide for uniformity of the development of skills and application of skills.
Contact your State Association for details of the next Club Level Seminar and Accreditation course.
4. State Level (3rd Proof-of-Competency Level)
State Level Courses are conducted by most State Associations (usually one per year). Participants attend a Seminar followed by a theory test of 60 multiple choice questions and 15 practical situations.
The presentation of the State Level Course comprises indoor classroom-style components, as well as outdoor practical components.
• To better enable attendees to assist with the administration of district, state, and national events.
• To better enable attendees to adopt an intra-Club leadership role within rules & match administration.
• To create and expand the communication channels between a State Association and Clubs from a rules & match perspective.
• To provide an opportunity for the development of a person’s rules & match related skills.
• To provide for uniformity of the development of skills and application of skills.
Contact your State Association for details of the next State Level Seminar and Accreditation course.
5. Advanced State Level Rules & Competitions Course
The Advanced Level Rules & Competitions Course 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 bi-annually; Australian attendance is via invitation (following consideration of recommendations from State Associations). It contains indoor classroom-style components, as well as outdoor practical components.
The first broad objective of the course from an Australian perspective is to provide a mechanism which will serve to advance the capacity of all Australian State and National organisations to deliver elite competitions and administrative-type rules services (eg servicing Clubs and individuals, and delivering rules education programs). The strategy for achieving this is as follows:
• By broadening the options of States in decision making via the provision of an enhanced awareness and understanding of various international procedures.
• By providing an up-skilling opportunity for all attendees (irrespective of their existing experience) which will serve to limit the degree to which States will have to invest time and money in developing their own procedures for developing officials. Some-less experienced officials may attend several years in succession.
• Further up-skill those State personnel who act as trainers and presenters at State Level and Club Level courses.
• To calibrate state and national officials as well as the events they deliver.
The second broad objective is to provide a mechanism which will serve to enhance refereeing skills and improve knowledge of international refereeing practices. This is specifically with a view to achieving the following:
• Allow GA, New Zealand Golf, the PGA, and State Associations to further develop and identify referees with our respective major events in mind.
• Meet the need of continuing to renew the stocks of talented and trained elite referees.
Note i: Not only will this course allow for up-skilling and calibration of group leaders, it will also work to guard against organisations becoming overly reliant on the accumulated knowledge and experience of a too-limited number of select personnel. This will assist with succession planning as well as easing work-load pressures on group leaders.
This group of administrators (both professional and volunteer) are some of the most valuable and difficult-to-replace assets of national and state bodies. GA has resolved to do more to both support and grow this group.
Note ii: The Advanced Level Rules & Competitions Course should not be viewed as a course which provides a qualification or a proof of competency. That it needs to cater for key State officials of all stages of development makes consideration of such an objective problematic. Instead, it should be viewed as a learning opportunity geared to achieve ongoing and undiminished value from repeat attendance.
6. 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.
Golf Australia's National Referees are:
Jason De Araujo