OVGA Level 4 Rules Officials – Dedicated To The Game of Golf

OVGA Officials at Greensmere Mark Sullivan, Jean Stone-Seguin, Gerry Bower & Gayle Faulkner

“I think the general perception of referees in golf is that they are there to speed up play or their sole purpose is to penalize players. This perceived persona is truly the exact opposite of what I’ve observed over the last 10 years. I’ve spent a lot of time in seminars and on the course dealing with referees from across the country and around the world. A lot of referees are past players or are heavily involved at the club level. They are genuinely dedicated to giving back to the game, protecting the field at events and assist players. They are volunteers, at least at provincial and Golf Canada competitions, and do a lot for the game at all levels. This can be validated by the fact that a lot of them give their time back to assist with club championships, regional events, provincial and Golf Canada competitions. Very few have the motivation to strictly work for their respective provincial association or only provide commitment to the national level.” – Adam Helmer, Director of Rules, Competition & Amateur Status, Golf Canada

Mr. Helmer continued when asked about the importance of rules officials to the game of golf at the National level – “Even though the game is self-governing for the most part, we rely on our referees to ensure our national championships are world-class. Simply put, without them our competitions would be almost impossible to run. They are heavily involved with all “inside the ropes” aspects of our competitions including course marking, course set-up, pace of play, assisting players with rulings etc.”

John Lawrence is Golf Ontario’s Director of Rules and Competitions and he commented on rules officials working his events.  “They enjoy contributing to the game. It’s a passion for them. They give up a lot of time. Most of them have been part of rules for a very long time and they take time to constantly update their skills and training with new rules and procedures. They are always looking for ways to improve the player experience. Rules officials are very important. They are the front lines to our tournament operations. They focus on education especially with the younger players. They may take more time to explain the options to a younger player than an elite amateur. They are there to help, not hurt players chances of winning.”

Adam Helmer and John Lawrence speak highly of rules officials working their respective golf competitions. Early in 2018, there were one thousand, nine hundred and seventeen golf rules officials working at all four levels of certification across Canada. Of these, one hundred and seventeen had reached level 4 of Golf Canada’s National Certification Program. In Ontario, twenty officials are rated at the highest level.

As this article is being composed, rules officials world-wide are looking forward to being re-certified under the “new” Rules of Golf coming into play on January 1, 2019.

THE OTTAWA VALLEY GOLF ASSOCIATION TEAM OF RULES OFFICIALS

The Ottawa Valley Golf Association (OVGA) is blessed to have ten level 4 officials working local, provincial, national and international tournaments. They are Lyle Alexander, Gerry Bower, Jim Davidson, Gayle Faulkner, David McClenaghan, Rich McLean, Jean Stone-Seguin, Mark Sullivan, Blake Wimperis and Pat Young. The OVGA Rules Team also includes level 2 and 3 officials Dan Nagy, Hui Peng, Wenqin Shao, Al Smith, David Skinner and Paul Trottier, who are all working their way through Golf Canada’s Certification Process to achieve a higher level of certification.

It should also be mentioned that the OVGA was the starting place for Dean Ryan, who moved up the ladder to become Golf Canada’s head rules official and now in retirement from Canada Post is enjoying his time as a PGA TOUR Champions Official.

The dedicated rules officials with the OVGA have one thing in common and that is they don’t get to play as much golf as they would like. That can also be said for most people involved in the golf industry.

Let’s take a brief look at each of the OVGA Level 4 Officials who dedicate their time to golf competitions. Flagstick Golf Magazine reached out to these officials with a few questions including:

When & Why did you get involved with golf officiating?

How many events would you officiate in any given year?

What does it mean to you to reach the top level (4) of Rules Officiating in Canada?

Do you have a goal in your career as a golf official?

Could you pass along 1 or 2 of your favorite experiences (Funny or not) while officiating?

Much of what is contained in the following mini-biographies are their individual comments as submitted to Flagstick Golf Magazine.

2018 Officials at Cataraqui
Gerry Bower, Gayle Faulkner, Pat Young, David McClenaghan, Jean Stone-Seguin, Blake Wimperis, Wenquin Shao & Jim Davidson

LYLE ALEXANDER

Lyle is quite a proficient golfer and he has a record of winning club championships in the past six decades. He was quoted in a personal profile in Flagstick Golf Magazine in August 2013, “Knowing the rules has made me a better player.”

“Having played in golf tournaments for several decades I thought that I knew the rules of golf quite well, that is, until I actually began studying them to become certified, when I realized that my actual knowledge was quite ordinary.  In 2007, I studied for, wrote and passed the online, Level 2 exam. A good result encouraged me to work towards achieving Level 3 status, which I did in 2008.  This gave me the opportunity to begin officiating OVGA tournaments and a few Golf Quebec ones, including the Alexander of Tunis. I re-certified for Level 3 in 2012 and then worked incredibly hard during the winter of 2012/13 and passed the national certification, Level 4, in the spring of 2013. This was probably the hardest I have very worked at anything, except my golf game, of course, so achieving a very high mark on this exam was exceptionally satisfying.  I re-certified at Level 4 in 2016.

Over the course of all those years I officiated between 5 and 13 tournaments a year.  I would have likely worked more tournaments; however, because I also play in 15 to 20 tournaments per season, I have worked fewer events than most of the other Level 4’s in the Ottawa area.

When I started the rules certification journey, I had two goals. One was to gain a better knowledge of the rules and the second was to simply volunteer to help officiate local tournaments.  Over the years, others, by their volunteering, enabled me to play in tournaments so I felt this was an opportunity for me to give back.  I do not have any ambition to “move up the ladder” of rules officiating.

It’s been said that there are two kinds of rules officials, those who have made mistakes and those who will.  In the Golf Quebec Alexander of Tunis tournament years ago, I made my first mistake, where a player lost a ball, played a wrong ball, hit and then picked up his provisional ball, which I was unaware of at that time. I ended up giving him a score of 9 for the hole, when in fact, he should have had an 11. At least, my mistake did not hurt him.  Once an error like this is made, we tend not to make the same mistake again.

I work my limited officiating schedule around my own tournament one so helping out does not really interfere with my play, which is normally around 100 games per season.”

GERRY BOWER

“I got involved about 11 years ago when I was Club Captain at Greensmere and getting asked by members for a ruling that they thought was wrong while playing in club events. So I started looking at the Rules to see who was correct and it just took off from there. I had also been helping the OVGA as a spotter at some tournaments and didn’t like the way some players were being treated by the officials at the time. They seemed to always want to penalize the players and not help the players.

I will put in at least 30 officiating days in Canada with OVGA, Golf Ontario, Golf Quebec, Flagstick & Golf Canada and will do 6 or 7 three-day tournaments while south during the winter and a couple of three-day events in Palm Springs in the summer for the NWGA Tour. They are all on volunteer time which I enjoy.

On reaching the top-level (4) of Rules Officiating in Canada, it just confirmed to me that I know the Rules of Golf pretty good as it’s not that easy to get to Level 4 and it required a lot of studying for me. I’m quite happy doing the odd Golf Canada event and officiating at a lot of Provincial events and being the Senior Rules Official a couple of times a year.

One funny incident that I actually got wrong was at the Alexander of Tunis many years ago at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club when a player called me over and said that his ball in the fairway was moving. After examining it, I first said it wasn’t moving and then it started moving a bit.  It ended up being some beetles under the ball trying to move it. Another cute one was this winter officiating the CJGA World Challenge at Innisbrook when I was near the scoring tent and two 10-year-old girls came into the tent and sat down and first thing they asked was to see a Rules Official as they had played two ball under Rule 3-3 and wanted to make sure they did it correctly.  Having this from these young competitors was the neatest thing knowing that at their age they understood some of the rules.

I also thoroughly enjoy teaching players and new officials about the Rules. I could probably write a book on things that have happened at tournaments.”

JIM DAVIDSON

“I was inspired to pursue the Rules of Golf during a chance meeting with Jim Halliday at the Royal and Ancient in 2006. Our threesome got paired up with Jim, who is a great ambassador of the game, and he told us some amazing stories as a Rules Official on the tour. To top it off, he then informed us he was a member and invited us into the R&A for a beer. Amongst all of the history there, I knew that I just have to get involved. I then contacted my friend and neighbour Adam Helmer who got me started in Golf Canada officiating as a starter/scorer with Barb Allan. After finishing my shifts, I would drive around with the likes of Ian Giles and Jacques Nols who introduced me to be an on-course Rules official. I met up with Gerry Bower while working a Mid-Am at Royal Ottawa the next year and joined the OVGA Rules team.

I’m still a working stiff, so I have been averaging only around 22 days officiating in a given year, between OVGA, CJGA, GO, GQ and GC events. However, there are countless hours spent attending meetings, doing pre-tournament tours, course setup, training, etc. I believe the effort that we put in is appreciated by the players, which makes the experience very rewarding, not to mention meeting some pretty cool people along the way.

Achieving Level 4 is really a point that indicates you are serious and committed to putting in the hours it takes to be the best you can be and working as a team to produce a consistently excellent product. Attending the seminars and passing the exams is one thing, but there is much more to the job than that, including course setup, how to conduct yourself and manage several elements including weather, pace-of-play, conditions, spectators, etc.

Last year I had the opportunity to be the heads Rules official at the 100th Quebec Amateur at Eagle Creek, work an International CJGA event in Florida and help out with the LPGA event at the Ottawa Hunt Club. I could say that I’ve attained any goals that I had set for myself, but I’m finding there are always new things to achieve as the job evolves. My next focus will be on Junior Golf Development with the OVGA Board of Directors and improving my French language skills as a member of the Golf Quebec Rules Committee. It would be really cool to get invited to a Rules seminar at the R&A however.

There are many hours spent in the clubhouse or over dinner between rounds, and the stories we tell are one of the most memorable aspects of the job. It is truly amazing the things that you witness on course that you would never image could happen (Rules related or otherwise). One that stands out for me was a few years back when Brooke lost her golf ball in a puddle during a Canadian Women’s Tour event at Smiths Falls. We searched but couldn’t find it (free drop). I went back and found it later but missed the chance for a souvenir when she pocketed the ball after identifying it. Ask me about Tom Cochrane and the Backstreet Boys. The stories keep getting better with time!

Tournaments take up nearly all of my spare time and vacation days. I typically get in maybe 12 rounds a year. My game has deteriorated significantly. Hopefully after I retire (planned for this year), I will rectify this situation.”

GAYLE FAULKNER

“My golf life, as I call it, started in 1992, with a need to fill in some time due to empty nest syndrome. This was when I joined as a club member and within a few years was involved with Ladies Committee’s starting with treasurer, to Club Captain, to President. In 1997 I was asked, by the CLGA Ottawa District Prize Chair, to help as her assistant. I was then parachuted to Treasurer, Director, and later Rules Chair. I watched and participated as the CLGA Ottawa District became the RCGA Ottawa Women’s District, to what is now the amalgamated OVGA.

I became interested in Rules from a different avenue. As I participated in many outside and club tournaments I was quickly made aware of the Rules when they were broken and sometimes when they were not broken, and penalties were assessed anyway. As I have always been a person who hates to see injustice and things not fair (call me a fair freak) I knew that if I wanted to play golf I would have to know the Rules. My journey began with attending Clinics that the presiding Rules Chair at the time, Linda Beresford, gave to anyone interested. Maureen McGahey, a friend of mine also attended these sessions and in 1999 we decided we would take a CLGA National Rules Seminar in Montreal. The role play session was performed by Jacque Nols and Larry Boyle. When Larry played the part of an aggressive, belligerent Pro demanding that my ruling was wrong, I was able to calmly explain to him what the rule was and that he had to continue play. It continued for a while, but I stood my ground and received thumbs up from Larry in the end. For a person who hates confrontation, I’m surprised I did not pack my bags and head back to Ottawa that night. The next day I scored a 93 on the exam and the journey began.

What a great journey it has been. From serving on the Golf Quebec Rules Committee, Golf Canada Rules Committee and OVGA Board as Rules Chair, the friends and people I have met have made it a wonderful experience. Dean Ryan and Barbara Allen are two names that come to mind that are always willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

Taking the seminars and writing the exams are both challenging and rewarding, and I like to take one at least every two years as I feel it is important to hone your skills. I have written at this point about 12 exams both from Golf Canada and the USGA as it is good to see the different teaching perspectives and methods; although the Rules of Golf are the same throughout the world. I volunteer in Canada for different organizations, Golf Canada, Golf Quebec, Golf Ontario, Flagstick and Clubs that wish to have an Official on hand for Club Championships. In the winter I volunteer in the United States for the NWGA Egglands Best Ladies Professional Golf Tour. This would typically be 40-50 days in the summer and 36 days in the winter.

I love teaching the Rules especially to new and young golfers and doing clinics are always a highlight of my year. Working on the course can be anywhere from challenging, rewarding to boring, but I’m always encouraged when I can help even one player get their ball back in play as painlessly as possible or be at the right place at the right time to stop someone from breaching a rule. On the other side it is heartbreaking to have to disqualify a player because they didn’t realize they couldn’t practice on the course before the round, had to rectify playing a wrong ball before teeing off from the next tee or some other situation that means disqualification. Like a young junior golfer whose drive had landed in the trees, picked his ball up and dropped it about 30 yards in the fairway. When his fellow competitors told me what had happened they were already on the next hole and when I spoke to the young golfer (his first tournament) to ask what had happened and he stated that’s how he played with his Dad, I told him what the rule was, that he had played from a wrong place and had gained a significant advantage. He started to cry and as I reached for Kleenex for both him and me, he asked if he could keep playing the last three holes. As he continued, I told him I’d keep close by so if he needed my help I was there. There are other difficult situations we have to deal with as Officials like taking players back to play under the stroke and distance rule, it is usually a very quiet ride back in the cart or telling players they are out of position and have to pick up the pace. This is usually not well received, but necessary as slow play destroys this wonderful game for everybody.

I hear people say the Rules are stupid, my response, only if you don’t know them. Or they aren’t fair, my response, they are the same for everyone and that makes them equitable/fair for everyone. There will be a lot of changes coming in 2019, this will definitely be a new challenge for me and I will embrace it.

I love what I do, and God willing, will continue as long as possible.”

DAVID MCCLENAGHAN

“I got involved 6 years ago when I completed the online Level’s 1 and 2. I did online sessions with Gerry, Golf Ontario and Golf Canada also.  I enjoy giving back to the game I enjoy, and I enjoy helping players solve situations that arise on the golf course. Giving all the options available to the player is rewarding.

I work about 10 -12 tournaments each year and even though I have my level 4, I continue to learn all the Decisions as there is so much to understand, and now the new set of rules for 2019.  Never stop learning.

My goal as an official is to enjoy all my experiences and have fun doing tournaments.  Working with a great group of people in the OVGA, Golf Quebec and Golf Ontario rules makes this happen.

I thoroughly enjoy the experience of being on a golf course early in the morning (on a nice day) watching nature, the peace and quiet, interacting with players, family, spectators and other volunteers and I always enjoy having a laugh.”

2013 Tunis Officials
Rai King, Lyle Alexander, Les Toll, Gerry Bower, Jim Davidson, Gayle Faulkner, Nachita King, Rich McLean & Blake Wimperis

RICH MCLEAN

“Prior to 2010, I was the de facto Head Rules Official for the National Capital Golf Tour/Ottawa Golf Tour. It’s a fun/competitive local Stableford tour. My first formal certification with Golf Canada (by way of the OVGA) was in 2010 when I got my Level 2 online. I actually failed my first attempt at Level 3 by two marks in 2011, so I had to wait until the next year to try again. I was first certified at Level 4 in 2014 and recertified in 2017.

The progression to golf officiating was a pretty natural one for me. I’ve been playing since an early age, and I was also a baseball umpire in my teens and early 20’s, as well as a hockey referee for over 10 years. I guess you could say that officiating is in my blood.

I work about 4-5 events each year. My officiating schedule is limited to weekends for the vast majority of events I work because I still have a full-time job. With the exception of maybe one other Level 4 in this area, all the rest of my peers are retired, so they would pick up the lion’s share of assignments mainly because most of the competitive rounds are scheduled on weekdays. It won’t be too much longer before I can fill my calendar though.

It’s definitely an honour to be a level 4 rules official, but it’s also more than that. For me, it’s the teamwork aspect. Whether you work an event alongside one other official, or as part of a larger group, it’s comforting to know that we’re all on the same page and doing our best to represent the game we love at all times. All you have to do is look at the list of officials that I’ve had a chance to work with in this region to know that these people are true pros, and care deeply about the game. I’ve learned from all of them and consider them all mentors. I’m really grateful that I have such a large volume of collective knowledge to draw from.

My immediate goal as a golf official, as well as every other official’s in the world, is to get ready to certify for the new rules code coming in January 2019. We’re all going to be really busy over the next while getting ready for that.

I would love to have the opportunity to work professionally at some point. We’ll see. As I mentioned earlier, I’m still working a full-time job, so once retirement hits I’ll take a longer look at my options. I’ve been fortunate to work a couple of national championships so far and look forward to more national level involvement in the years to come.

As a Head Rules Official, you get to rove around a bit more than usual, so you get a chance to see more than you would if you’re responsible for a particular zone. Two situations that stick out for me are from an event we both know very well, The Flagstick Open at eQuinelle.

The first one was initially witnessed by a fellow Level 4, Gerry Bower. He was stationed in an area near the 12th and 16th tees, both par 3’s, and a competitor had hit his tee shot into a stand of trees to the right of the 13th green. He and his caddy went in to search for the ball, and then about 30 seconds later they both came running out of the trees yelling and waving their arms wildly. Apparently, the caddie had overturned a large log, and in doing so had disturbed a large wasp nest. Needless to say, both player and caddie were stung multiple times, and we had to halt play for a bit, so we could ensure that neither of them was having any adverse reactions to the stings, and to see if they wanted to continue on, or withdraw. Gerry also mentioned that the caddie tried to go back in to the trees to attempt to retrieve the ball, and we got a chuckle out of that one later. Both player and caddie were fine, and we decided to cordon off the treed area and give free relief to subsequent groups for the rest of the tournament. At the time, it was a very stressful and scary situation.

The next one happened on the 1st tee. I was on another part of the course when I received a radio call from the starter (our buddy Scott MacLeod). I make my way over to the 1st tee and the first thing I hear from Scott’s mouth is, “I’m not 100% sure, but I think I saw a player tee up a ball in the Drop Zone.” This was definitely a new one for me, and it took a few of us putting our heads together a while to figure that one out. It was good for a lot of laughs that weekend, and still is years later.

As I’m still working too, I don’t have a lot of time to play golf. When I do it’s almost exclusively on weekends. That being said, I still manage to get in around 30 rounds a season. I love the game too much to not find some way to get out there as much as possible.”

JEAN STONE-SEGUIN

“The reason I got involved with the Rules of Golf…started golfing and foolishly entered a tournament, knowing absolutely nothing!  Many fellow competitors were very kind and understanding, however, there is always one that can voice an opinion on a rule with such force and seemingly strong knowledge.  Often this means that you defer to the more experienced only to discover that the decision wasn’t exactly correct.  Like many referees, I decided that it was time to engage in serious study regarding the Rules of Golf.

As a nationally certified referee, I do my best to commit to assisting at Golf Canada, Golf Quebec, Golf Ontario and OVGA tournaments.  Golf Canada’s national championships take precedence as I am a member of Golf Canada’s Rules Committee.  Last year was particularly busy as many of the national events were held in Ontario.  National or international tournaments tend to run for a week, whereas provincial or local events only require a one or two-day commitment.  If a referee is requested to be the Head Rules Official for the event, more time is required in order to mark the course and set pin placements for the actual tournament.  I worked about 60 days last summer for various events.

Being a nationally certified referee is work; however, it provides so many wonderful opportunities for learning, travel and meeting new people.  Too many highlights to mention all but having the opportunity to work the US Women’s Open the last two years was definitely memorable.

One of my primary goals as a referee is to make as few mistakes as possible…everyone is going to rule incorrectly at some point and it is stressful when this happens, but, you and the competitor learn lifelong lessons when such things happen!  Never any fun when this occurs but you can bet your bottom dollar that all referees will experience mistakes.  All referees in this area help one another out by participating in continuing education over the winter to remain up-to-date and current.  Through “GoToMeetings” we all help one another by reviewing situations and doing quizzes to hone our skills!

There are so many comical and not so comical situations that arise in a competition…I will share one.  I was the Head Rules Official at a National Junior event and one of the Rules Officials was asked a question regarding whether she (competitor) would receive relief for line of play for an immovable obstruction (an irrigation box).  As the Rules clearly state, there is only relief for an immovable obstruction for ball, stance or area of intended swing…not line of sight!  The official tried to explain but the competitor presumably did not understand English and requested that I provide an explanation in French.  Unfortunately, I was at another location on the course so had to put the gas on to get over to her as quickly as possible.  As you know, pace of play is important, and the competitor had to meet her allotted time at the next pace of play station.  Well, both she and I made it in time.  Only later did I hear that she became completely bilingual after 9 holes.  Oh well, guess it was an opportunity for the player to receive a second opinion as she certainly didn’t like the first unfavourable ruling in English despite the fact that the ruling en francais was the same!

Despite the commitments for ruling, I love the game of golf and play out of a fantastic course, Camelot!  The best year I had enabled me to play 100 games.  Last year was 35!  No complaints…love the role and the opportunities it provides!”

MARK SULLIVAN

“I think it was in 2010 or 2011 that I got involved with golf officiating. It was when I dislocated my elbow and was not able to golf for a couple of months. So still wanting to be around the golf course and already having an interest in the Rules of Golf, I contacted Gerry to start the process of becoming an official. Also, I had participated in OVGA Field Days and events at that point for almost 20 years, so I thought that would be a way to give back to the game.

I try to officiate 5 events each year, since I still work full-time, and also try to golf as often as possible.

I’ve never really given it much thought, as to what it means to me to reach the top-level (4) of Rules Officiating in Canada, but when you hear the small number of top-level officials that there are in Canada, and that Ottawa has such a large number, I guess it makes me a little proud to achieve the top-level.

I don’t really have any goals as an official, at the moment I’m just happy doing the local OVGA events and giving back to the local golf community.

As for a memorable incident, at the 2016 OVGA Tournament of Club Champions, Bonnie Wolff, a competitor, saw me and tried to get me to give her a ride to her starting hole. However, as an official we are not supposed to give competitors a ride on our carts. As we were getting ready to sound the horn for the shotgun start some competitors were still having troubles finding their holes, so all officials were told on their radios to help get the players to their holes. Just my luck the lassie I picked up on my cart was starting on the same hole as Bonnie. Needless to say, I’m still getting grief from her about this.”

BLAKE WIMPERIS

“I got involved with golf officiating in 2012. I retired in 2005 and played in plenty of OVGA B Class and Senior tournaments and Senior Intersectionals. I tried being a marshal at The Canadian but did not enjoy herding cats. However, I liked being on the golf course helping people get out of trouble.

I had an old copy of the Decisions book that I enjoyed reading and thought it might be fun to become a rules official not knowing how much work would be involved. I have been working 20-25 tournament days per season at OVGA, Golf Ontario, Golf Quebec, Flagstick and CJGA tournaments.

Tournament Days can be from 7 to 12 hours in length. My wife Susan works on Golf Ontario tournaments as a scorer and we have travelled to Mississauga, Listowel, Huntsville and Sudbury and many others places to work on Golf Ontario Provincial tournaments.  The 3-4 day out-of-town tournaments are like a working vacation.

On reaching the top-level of Rules Officiating in Canada, it means I was able to absorb a lot of weird info and pass a tough exam.  Now it means that I am able to officiate local, provincial and national tournaments. It also means I have to keep up to date in order re-certify every 4 years.

My first goal will be to re-certify in 2019 under the revised Rules.  After that my goal is to keep re-certifying as long as my mind and health will allow. I would also like to work a Golf Canada tournament as a Rules Official. I like to help as many golfers and non-golfers as possible understand the rules, which should be an interesting challenge going into 2019.

I would not call it a favorite experience, but at a Golf Ontario Junior Boys in Sudbury, we had been warned about a sink hole next to the fourth green.  One morning I was out checking the holes in my zone and decided to take a short cut after checking out the bunkers on 4 to get back to number 3 and drove into the sink hole.  I was pretty embarrassed to radio Dean Ryan about the incident.  I was not hurt nor was my cart.  Everyone had a good laugh and Gerry Bower got a picture.

I have experienced a few incidents involving wildlife. We have had bears on the course at a few tournaments (The Rock and Sudbury).  At Sand Point a skunk came out for a walk during a junior tournament. There are always wild turkeys at Loch March, Hylands and Camelot and deer at many courses.  We have also seen large flocks of geese that interfere with play at others including the Marshes and eQuinelle.

We almost went on strike at the Golf Ontario Senior Ladies last year when a rookie tournament director was going to allow a player who was late for her tee time play at a later tee time without penalty. She did not get to play.

I have had balls land under my cart and once saw a ball land on the roof of Jean Stone Seguin’s cart. Never say it can never happen.

With all the work you do with the OVGA, do you have time to play the game and if so, how many games would you play each year?

I still manage to play 40-50 games a year.”

PAT YOUNG

“I got involved in officiating in 2012.  I knew a couple of people who were involved, and it sounded like an interesting pastime since I was retired.  I had been interested in the rules of golf for many years since when I was a Ladies Club Captain and felt the need to gain more knowledge to be effective in the position.

I was put in touch with Gerry Bower, who was the Director of Rules for the OVGA.  Gerry enthusiastically welcomed me into the group of ‘rulees’ and I began attending his meetings and conference calls as well as doing ride alongs at tournaments with him and/or some of the other knowledgeable members of the team.  Everyone was very encouraging and willing to share their knowledge and experiences.  I guess the enthusiasm of the rules team was infectious and I found it a fun challenge to learn as much as I could.  Working with the rules officials and other tournament organizers was very enjoyable and I felt that I was contributing to the growth of amateur golf in Ottawa.  I generally work between 10 and 14 tournaments per year (OVGA, GO, GQ and recently a couple in Florida).

Achieving my Level 4 was a source of pride for me.  It was not an easy task and likely wouldn’t have been possible without the ongoing help of Gerry and the other very knowledgeable Level 4 officials in the Ottawa area and Golf Ontario. I intend to continue working as a rules official, and certify under the upcoming rule changes, to support the local and provincial organizations and hopefully be invited to participate in some of the National events where there is a need.

Although officiating takes up some of my time, I still manage to play between 50 and 60 rounds a year including some of the local OVGA and club events.”

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So there you have it from the mouths of a dedicated team of golf officials. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that they are a great group and they dedicate endless hours of their time to the game they love.

Imagine you are participating in a golf tournament; do you really know what happened prior to the time you arrive at the registration table?

Apart from another team of volunteers who take the time to organize events, many rules officials are in attendance at first light on tournament days and many don’t leave until long after the prizes have been distributed. It’s not a glamorous job being a rules official, but it is very rewarding to them.

If you are interested in the Rules of Golf or maybe you are interested in becoming a rules official check out Golf Canada’s website at www.golfcanada.ca.

If rules aren’t your cup of tea but what you have read in this article appeals to you and you have the time, take note that all golf organizations are always on the lookout for volunteers in many capacities. Just ask; someone will point you in the right direction and believe me, you will find volunteering a rewarding experience.

1 Comment on OVGA Level 4 Rules Officials – Dedicated To The Game of Golf

  1. Great article! I have worked with most of the OVGA’s RO at Golf Quebec or Golf Canada events, and they are a great bunch, very dedicated and professional. We always learn from each others. Hope to see you soon!

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