Here is just a little taster of the preparation for last week’s tournament at Brokenhurst Manor. It will be a similar story for every elite tournament and goes unseen to most golfers.
It may start weeks or months (or even years as the R&A might do with Open venues) before the competition with a course visit to identify where all the trouble areas might be – often a hole by hole guide will be produced identifying all Abnormal Course Conditions, Penalty Areas, Safety Issues, and anything else of interest. A draft set of local rules will be written – elite competitions are normally played with a”Hard Card” of standard local rules. For amateurs in England this is most often the Hard Card produced by England Golf – for the Rose Series we were using the Ladies European Tour version. Additional Local Rules are then produced specifically for the local course conditions – they are likely to include some of the club’s “back of the score card” rules but there will almost certainly be differences which can catch the local members out. (Wait for a future post about one of the changes made at Brokenhurst which could have impacted the result).
The hole by hole guide will be used shortly before the day to check course marking and with a review of the course condition finalise the additional local rules for the day.
The team of referees will also meet to discuss potential issues and problem areas to make sure that, where there might be an area of interpretation (e.g. where does the ground break down to define the edge of a penalty area) consistent decisions will be given by all the referees.
I’ll be posting details of a few of the decisions that arose on the day, as well as more detail on the kit I would normally take with me to a competition. But for now, here is a little video I took before play started.