Guidance on Running an I.P.P.A. Competition
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
The intention of this guidance is to provide a single reference document for Committees running Pitch & Putt competitions under the umbrella of I.P.P.A.
It is a reduced and adapted copy of the R&A publication “Guidance on running a Competition” (available for reference online at www.randa.org)
Golf, thus Pitch & Putt, is essentially a self-regulating game. The players are responsible for knowing the Rules and are expected to apply them correctly. However, at times golf can be a complex game and competitions need to be run
Conditions of Competition and Local Rules must be drafted, the course must be set up carefully and marked accurately and the Rules must be applied without fault or favour to all players.
Reference is made throughout this document to “the Rules of Golf” and to the R&A publication “Decisions on the Rules of Golf”, as, it is assumed that any Committee running a golf competition will have access to the current edition of these essential publications.
CHAPTER 2 – CONDITIONS OF COMPETITION
The Committee must establish the conditions under which the competition is to be played. As they will be in charge of all aspects involved, the members of the Committee must be be clear as regards their authority to give decisions on matters such as Rules disputes, suspensions of play, etc
Often the Committee will pass duties of running the competition to the Club professional or starter. These individuals are not automatically members of the Committee; therefore it is advisable to clarify their role in advance.
The Conditions of Competition are the foundations on which a competition is built as, among other things, they specify who is eligible to enter, how a player may enter and what format the event will take.
It is vital that the conditions are established in advance of the competition and that they are clear and carry precise guidance so that the Committee can deal with any situations that may arise and take the corresponding actions.
Firstly, the Committee must decide who may participate in the competition and if it will have a restricted field in order to decide on a procedure if it receives more entries than it can accept. A “first come first served” policy can be adopted, or alternatively, the Committee may accept the players with the lowest handicaps.
If entry is restricted by age (i.e. junior/senior events) then any condition in this regard should be unambiguous.
For a junior competition it is recommended that entry should be restricted to those persons who have not reached 18 years of age by 1st January in the year that the competition is to take place. With any other age limit, it is recommended that the player must have reached the minimum age by the first day of the competition.
Normally, players will have to complete an entry form that must reach the Committee by a certain date by post or by other methods of communication such as fax or email. This will mean that the entry fee cannot accompany the entry form other than by credit card, which has implications for the administration of entries.
The entry form should include all players’ personal data and the corresponding fee amount.
While many competitions will have a traditional format, the Committee creating a new event must decide on the form of play it wishes to adopt.
(a) Match Play
If the competition is to be played on the basis of match play, it can be singles, threesomes, foursomes or four-ball match play but it will always be played on scratch basis.
The method of determining the field in a match play competition may vary. It may be that the field is restricted to a certain number, so there may be stroke play qualifying preceding the match play stage or the Committee may accept all entries and tailor the draw accordingly.
(b) Stroke Play
If the competition is to be played on the basis of stroke play, it can be singles, foursomes or four-ball stroke play, but it will always be played on scratch basis.
The Committee must decide how many rounds are to be played and whether or not the field is to be reduced at any stage of the competition.
5. Times of Starting and Groups
Under Rule 33-3 of the Rules of Golf, it is the responsibility of the Committee to establish the times of starting and, in stroke play, to arrange the groups in which competitors play.
(a) Starting Times
When there is a ‘cut’, players should be made aware of when starting times and groupings will be made available, where the relevant information will be posted and, if appropriate, the telephone number they should contact for information.
If players are travelling to play in the event it may be helpful to email or fax a draw sheet to the hotels where the players are staying and have this displayed in a prominent place.
Appropriate starting-time intervals are a vital ingredient in helping to produce a satisfactory pace of play. If the intervals between matches or groups are insufficient the players in each group will be forced to wait constantly for the group in front to clear the putting green. This will result in players losing their rhythm and being on the course for unnecessarily long periods of time.
Committees frequently make the mistake of using short intervals in order to get as many players on to the course in as short a space of time as possible and to prevent the last starting time being too late in the day. However, this has the opposite effect with rounds taking an excessive amount of time leading to frustration for players and officials.
The Committee may wish to operate a two-tee start. Such a method of starting is useful when there is a large field as it allows more players onto the course more quickly but it totally depends on the course.
The Committee determines the groupings in stroke play, which will usually be in twos or possibly threes. Playing in fours is not recommended as it could have a detrimental effect on the pace of play.
Normally the groups on the first two rounds are the same with a group having one earlier and one later starting time. In the third round it is customary for the groups to be based on the competitor’s scores after 36 holes. If there is an even number of competitors, those with the highest and next to highest aggregate tee off first, and so on, with the competitors in first and second place teeing off last.
In determining the order of the draw for players with the same aggregate scores, normally the player with the lowest previous round score will play later. If players have the same aggregate score and the same previous round score, usually the first player to return the previous round score will go out last.
In competitions of 36 holes played in one day, the Committee should try to allow players sufficient time to rest and take refreshment between rounds and determine the time they expect groups to complete a round and add one hour on to that time to give the duration between the two starting times. This means that there will still be sufficient time between rounds even if play falls behind the pace scheduled.
In match play competitions, players may be required to play two matches in one day. If an early match requires extra holes to determine a result this may mean that the winning player has little time before his next match. Such a situation is not uncommon and the Committee should decide in advance if it is prepared to give players a minimum period of time between matches in such cases. For example, the Committee may provide that a player is entitled to 15 minutes from reporting his match score until he is required to tee off again. Obviously, this may require the alteration of starting times and the order of the draw, but it would seem unreasonable for a player to be disadvantaged due to having played extra holes in his first match of the day.
Failure to start on time is covered by Rule 6-3a, which provides that “the player must start at the time established by the Committee.” It is important to note that all players in a group must be present and ready to play at the time established by the Committee, and that the order of play is not relevant.
It is necessary to have an appointed starter who will be in a position to register lateness on the tee and take the appropriate action if he is a member of the Committee or to report to any of them, who will handle the communication of a penalty to a player – not the starter –.
We highly recommend a thorough reading of this Rule, specially the changes in the 2012-2015 years edition.
The Rules of Golf do not legislate for the allocation and adjustment of handicaps and The R&A does not administer any handicapping scheme. Such matters are within the jurisdiction of the National Union, Federation or Association of the country where the competition is being played and any queries concerning handicapping should be directed accordingly.
I.P.P.A. has not yet established a handicap system to cover all associated countries specific requirements, thus, until a proper and unanimous assent is reached; all competitions must be played on scratch basis.
7. Decision of Ties
“The Committee must announce the manner, day and time for the decision of a halved match or of a tie” Rule 33.6
It is essential that such decisions are taken in advance of the competition and established in the conditions, being a hole-by-hole sudden death play-off, the most recommended to determine the winner and runner up.
Play offs must be played under the Rules of the same format the Competition has been played (i.e. “A halved match must not be decided by stroke play. A tie in stroke play must not be decided by a match”)
Subsequent tied positions will classify “ex aequo” and as I.P.P.A. no Handicap System yet, if these positions are to be awarded a prize, the following formula will apply:
Should the tie persist, it will decided by a draw.
The last holes above paragraphs refer to will always be the last holes from the course, no matter which hole the players have teed off.
The Committee should announce in advance the prizes that are to be awarded in the
Competition and be aware of the regulations concerning prizes that an Amateur player may accept without breaching their Amateur Status.
Rule 7-1 provides that a player may practice on the competition course before a round on any day of a match play competition, but a competitor in stroke play must not practice before a round or play-off on any day of a stroke play competition or test the surface of any putting green on the course by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface. However, the Note to Rule 7-1 states: “The Committee may, in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1), prohibit practice on the competition course on any day of a match play competition or permit practice on the competition course or part of the course (Rule 33-2c) on any day of or between rounds of a stroke play competition.”
In match play competitions with large fields playing over consecutive days it may be desirable to prohibit practice on any day of the competition in order to allow the green staff sufficient time to prepare the course without interruption.
If a Club has no practice facilities it may be necessary to allow competitors in a stroke play competition to use a part of the course for practising and, therefore, such a condition must be introduced.
The Rules of Golf do not place any restriction on who may serve as a caddie, but the Committee may prohibit or restrict caddies in the conditions of competition (see Note to
Rule 6-4), especially in junior competitions
For I.P.P.A Tournaments, we suggest to make this restriction due to the special conditions of pitch & putt courses.
11. Advice in Team Competitions
The Committee may, in the conditions of a team competition (Rule 33-1), permit each team to appoint one person who may give advice (including pointing out a line for putting) to members of that team, but he/she must be identified to the Committee beforehand.
It should be noted that if the person so nominated is a playing member of the team, advice may not be given while he is actually playing a stipulated round (except to his partner).
He may give advice to other team members before playing or after his own round has been completed (Decision 8/2).
Restrictions can also be applied to the appointment of the team captain and on his conduct and specify if he/she is part of the match or the competitor’s side, i.e. he is not an outside agency.
CHAPTER 3 – LOCAL RULES
Generally, Local Rules are introduced to clarify the course marking (e.g. clarifying the boundaries of the course, ground under repair, etc.) or to provide relief from local abnormal conditions that are not covered by the Rules themselves. Appendix I to the Rules of Golf suggest specific matters for which Local Rules may be advisable.
It is the duty of Committees to interpret their own Local Rules and, if a doubt arises about the applicability or interpretation of a Local Rule, it is the responsibility of the Committee to give a decision.
It is important to note that Local Rules may not be introduced or altered after a stroke play round has started. All competitors in a given round must play under uniform Rules. However, it is permissible to alter the Local Rules for different rounds in an event consisting of more than one round, although this should be avoided if at all possible.
I.P.P.A. Competition Committee highly recommends appointing a referee for all Tournaments in order to assist the Committee in such duty.
CHAPTER 4 – MARKING THE COURSE
Prior to a competition, and once the assessment of the course has been made by an I.P.P.A. authorized person, it is the responsibility of the Committee to ensure that it has been properly and completely marked.
If the Committee takes the time to accurately define the boundaries of the course and the margins of water hazards and clearly marks any areas which are to be treated as ground under repair, it reduces the possibility of awkward Rules situations arising and helps all golfers adhere to the Rules.
I.P.P.A. Competition Committee highly recommends appointing a referee for all Tournaments in order to assist the Committee in such duty.
CHAPTER 5 – COURSE SET-UP
It is important that, prior to a competition, the Committee has a clear idea of how it wishes the course to play. Each hole should be evaluated in terms of distance, tee position and hole location in an attempt to provide a good test of sport.
Establishing the correct course set-up will involve visits to the course months in advance of the competition to ensure that desired green speeds, rough heights and fairway widths are agreed upon and understood well in advance of the competition.
It should be the aim of the green staff and the Committee to have the condition of the course virtually identical from the first practice day to the last day of the event. Significant changes in course conditions between practice and the event itself, particularly in relation to the putting greens, are undesirable.
CHAPTER 6 – COMPETITION ADMINISTRATION
1. The Rules of Golf
Participants in a competition expect to be treated as fairly as possible and the only way this can be achieved is if the Rules are strictly applied to all concerned. There is no more certain a way to damage the reputation of a competition than by poor management. It may be difficult and unpleasant to be punctilious in the enforcement of the Rules, but to avoid taking such action can set dangerous precedents and create major difficulties in the long term.
However, it must be stressed that authority should only be used for the purpose of promoting fair play under equal conditions.
It is advisable for the Committee to set up a registration procedure for players and give them all necessary information concerning the competition or advice them of any amendments to previously published information.
In addition, the registration procedure will give the Committee an early indication if a player is not going to appear. If a player has failed to register, the likelihood is that he will fail to appear for his starting time and the Committee can make the necessary provisions.
While a player cannot be penalized under the Rules of Golf for failing to register, a Committee may introduce a Condition of Entry in this respect.
Committees are advised to appoint one of their members or an official to be available at the course while players are starting, and to empower this person to settle any problems that may arise regarding starting times, provision of markers etc.
The main responsibilities of the starter are to ensure that the players start at the time established by the Committee and, in stroke play, to issue each competitor with their score card containing the date and the competitor’s name.
However, there are a number of other duties that a starter must perform which should be issued to him by way of a simple instruction sheet:
They should also make the recording policy clear to the players, i.e. in stroke play, the competitors must return their cards to the recorder as soon as possible on completion of the round and, in match play, inform the players of who is responsible for reporting the result of the match to the recorders (usually the responsibility is given to the winner of the match).
In case of inclement weather, it is desirable for a covered area to be installed on or near the first tee (or tees if a two tee start is in operation) for the starter, and each starter should be furnished with the following, if possible:
4. Issuing Score Cards and Recording Scores
In stroke play, it is the Committee’s responsibility to issue for each competitor a score card containing the date and the competitor’s name, or in foursome or four-ball stroke play, the
It is important that the task of recording scores is given to a responsible person or group of
persons as any errors that occur during the returning of score cards can have serious consequences and can undermine all the good work which has been put into a competition.
The method of receiving score cards may vary depending on the nature of the competition.
It is common for Golf Clubs to use a “ballot box” where completed cards are returned, whereas in most events there is a recorder’s office or tent. Where a ballot box is in use, the Committee may consider the card returned when it is dropped into the box.
Irrespective of method used, it is essential that the Committee make it clear when a competitor is considered to have “returned his card”, after which point no alterations may be made to it. (E.g. A player’s score card is deemed officially returned to the Committee when he has left the recording office/area.”)
The routine for a recorder should be as follows:
In addition to their recording duties, recorders should make a note of, but not comment on, any verbal complaints from the players. In due course, this information should be relayed to the Committee. The recorders should also note the time of finish for each group on a draw sheet.
Although the necessity for setting up a detailed recording system is not as essential in match play competitions as it is for stroke play, it is important that players know where they should report the result of a match and with which player this responsibility lies, e.g. the winner of the match.
Depending on the nature of the competition, the Committee may wish to provide a scoreboard giving round scores in stroke play or round by round winners in match play.
If at all possible, the scoreboard should be located near the 18th green, or near the Tournament office to be easily and properly seen by all players.
6. Rules Officials
If it is feasible, the Committee should have a number of representatives on the course to observe play, be available to give rulings and otherwise assist players. Obviously, anyone assigned to the course as a Rules official should be knowledgeable about the Rules.
Prior to the competition, it is advisable for a meeting involving all Rules officials to be held. At such a meeting the chief referee may run through the Local Rules, Conditions of Competition, etc. and answer any queries that may arise. Such a meeting will assist in ensuring that any abnormal conditions on the course are handled consistently and that any specific policies are clearly understood.
However, if it cannot be the case, a player is entitled to a ruling, even if this means proceeding under Rule 3-3 in stroke play and seeking a decision once the round is completed. Therefore, the Committee should appoint someone who is knowledgeable in the Rules to be present during the competition to resolve Rules problems. No Committee member or official should give a decision on a Rules matter unless he has been authorized by the Committee to give final decisions in its name.
7. Inclement Weather and Suspensions of Play
A Committee must be prepared for inclement weather and players and those involved in
running the competition must be able to recognise the signal that means that the Committee has suspended play.
A competition need not be suspended simply on account of rain, unless the rain is so heavy that it would be unfair to require players to continue. Generally, play should not be suspended unless the course has become unplayable, for example, balls are moving frequently on the putting greens due to wind or holes are surrounded by casual water. Although a Committee should not suspend play unless absolutely necessary, it is the responsibility of the Committee to do everything possible to protect players from bad weather and lightning and, therefore, no chances should be taken in this respect.
The Committee has the option of suspending play and resuming from where play was discontinued or cancelling the round and replaying it entirely.
When the course becomes unplayable and play is discontinued, the Committee should keep open as many options as possible to maximise the chances of completing the competition on schedule.
Generally, when more than half of the field have completed their rounds, it would be unusual to cancel the round if the opportunity is available to suspend play and continue the following day.
Where it is feasible to reschedule the competition, the Committee should endeavour to do so. However, the Committee does not have the authority under the Rules to reduce the number of holes of a stipulated round once play has commenced on that round (e.g. from 18 to 9 holes). Consequently, if it is not feasible to reschedule the competition, the competition must be cancelled.