Golf Ireland to trial new qualification in refereeing

A referee is seen with a golf guide book (Photo by Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The R&A has announced its plans for an official qualification in refereeing to spearhead a new and enhanced Rules education programme in 2022 which will be piloted in Ireland and in five other countries around the world this year.

The programme establishes a clear pathway for those who are 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.

Mark Wehrly, Director of Championships at Golf Ireland, said: “We’re honoured to help The R&A break new ground by participating in this pilot scheme. Until now, there has never been a uniform refereeing qualification in golf, and we’re very grateful to The R&A for putting its trust in us to be part of its initial rollout.


“Golf Ireland is very fortunate to have a large volunteer force of well-trained and experienced referees, many of whom have refereed at the highest levels internationally and in doing so have represented Ireland with distinction. This new qualification will bring an extra dimension to how we train referees in the future, and will provide candidates with a clear and transparent pathway to becoming a referee, which is very exciting.”

The R&A will work in collaboration with Golf Ireland and other 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.

Grant Moir, Director – Rules at The R&A, said: “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.”

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 qualification in 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.

Further details on the operation of this scheme and Golf Ireland’s wider Rules Education initiatives will be made available in the coming weeks.

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