29 July 2014 – The South African Golf Association (SAGA) has joined the R&A Working for Golf campaign by introducing Level One of the R&A Three-tiered Rules Education Programme at its 14 unions across the country.
“Coaching clinics, junior golf equipment, capital to help build and develop golf facilities and financial assistance with international events are just some of the ways in which the R&A endeavour to grow the game globally through their Working for Golf campaign,” said SAGA president Andre Pieterse.
“When the R&A launched the Three-tiered Rules Education Programme in March, we welcomed the opportunity to get involved. We are constantly looking at ways in which we can bring more people to golf, and this initiative from the R&A is a great vehicle to grow the game.”
The first R&A Level One course was hosted by the Eastern Province Golf Union and was presented by SAGA Assistant Executive Director Neil Homann at the Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
EPGU Director of Golf, Greg de Doncker, handled all the logistics and administration while Port Elizabeth Golf Club general manager, Marinus Weiss, assisted as a facilitator on the day.
Homann explained that the Level One course is an Introductory Rules School.
“The course focusses on the basic principles behind the Rules of Golf, etiquette and the most frequently occurring situations that arise on the golf course,” Homann explained.
“In addition to the theory, demonstrations, such as taking relief for an unplayable ball or from a water hazard, forms part of the Level One course.
“The three-tier approach will allow someone to progress from learning the basics to refereeing at the highest level. The Level One course is appropriate for people who want to know more about the basics of the Rules of Golf, which can definitely save you a stroke or two during a round.”
Homann said the first course was well attended and the feedback was very positive.
“Following the theoretical and practical sessions, the attendees wrote an exam on the material covered,” Homann said. “We were very pleased almost all the attendees achieved more than 70 percent in the exam.”
Former Womens Golf South Africa president, Caroline Kettlewell, was among the 44 attendees at Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
“I really enjoyed the informal, friendly presentation,” said Kettlewell, a Level Two graduate.
“This course is a great introduction to the Rules of Golf for beginners. The way Neil presented the course, encouraged participation and no one felt intimidated. He made the rules fun, especially for the beginners that could otherwise have felt intimidated.
“I think golfers can benefit from this course, because the better you understand the rules, the more fun you can have on the golf course.”
Local golfers Philip Dowdle and Justine Botten agreed.
“The course was well worth attending,” said Botten. “I learned a lot and expanded my knowledge about the rules of golf.”
“Worthwhile, relaxed and well-presented,” Dowdle said. “Thank you for the hard work, good food and inspiration to attempt Level Two.”
Homann confirmed that further courses will be held this year.
“The Ekurhuleni Golf Union will host the next R&A Level One course in August, and we expect the other unions to confirm that dates in due course.”