An official qualification has launched which will see successful candidates become 'R&A qualified referees'

If you’ve ever watched rules officials going about their business and wondered if you could become a golf tournament referee, a new qualification being launched by the R&A is going to be right up your street.

The governing body’s programme, which has been announced as part of Rules Week by the St Andrews-based organisation, will see those who pass certified as an “R&A qualified referee”.

The official qualification, which has been backed by the European Tour, Ladies European Tour and Asian Tour, is at the vanguard of a new and enhanced Rules education programme that’s being piloted around the world this year.

It will establish a pathway for those looking to become qualified golf referees and tournament administrators, combining technical knowledge of the rules with practical on-course experience.

The programme will also help officials build on their skills following qualification thanks to continuous professional development.

Former European Tour chief referees, John Paramor and Andy McFee, who accumulated more than 80 years’ experience at the highest levels of professional golf before their retirement last year, have been appointed as ambassadors.

Grant Moir, the R&A’s director of rules, 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 looking to gain the new qualification will be assessed using written exams and practical assessments at four incremental levels. Those who successfully come through the scheme will be certified as an R&A Qualified Referee.

The programme will be piloted this year in six countries – Australia, Chile, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and Sweden – to get feedback and make refinements before it is fully rolled out next year.

Paramor said: “I am extremely honoured to have been asked by the R&A to become an ambassador for its new Qualification. I have been involved in professional tournament golf for a long time and will be delighted to try and help referees gain the necessary tools to be able to step in and officiate at the highest level of golf tournaments.”

McFee added: “I would like to thank the R&A for considering me and am delighted to accept the role as an ambassador as they expand the rules education programme to include the new qualification in refereeing.  

“On course practical experience is a vital part of this and I will be very happy if I can help others to improve their ability to assist the players of our wonderful game by passing on the knowledge I have accumulated through 40 years of working with the Rules in professional golf.”

What do you think of the new qualification? Will you be taking part? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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