"#RulesSchool is Now in Session" is a series where you’ll get an opportunity to check out some of the things going on here at the AJGA as our Operations staff prepares for the PGA/USGA Workshop on the Rules of Golf and the USGA Rules Exam. In addition to a “behind the scenes” look at our preparations, you will also have the opportunity to reach out to us via social media to ask your own questions about the Rules of Golf.
Below is a guest blog post from Rob Ockenfuss, Manager, Rules Inquiries for the United States Golf Association. Rob discusses the measures the USGA and PGA takes to prepare for the workshops held around the country, including the one in Braselton in two weeks.
"While the Atlanta metro area has previously hosted numerous PGA/USGA workshops on the Rules of Golf, including one I attended in 2009 while working for the American Junior Golf Association, this year marks the first time Braselton, Ga. hosts such a seminar. Château Élan will host over 100 people for four days in February, including several members of the AJGA staff.
"The USGA, in conjunction with the PGA of America, has been conducting workshops on the Rules of Golf since 1975. This partnership continues in 2013 with 22 workshops taking place at 18 locations across the country. In addition to workshops focused on the Rules of Golf, an Officiating and Tournament Administration workshop will be conducted in March at the site of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. These workshops are attended by Rules officials employed by professional golf tours, volunteers who offer their time and expertise to the USGA and state and regional golf associations to help run competitions and PGA professionals who work at golf courses across the country. In addition, amateur and professional golfers who play the game competitively, as well as average golfers who are interested in knowing more about the Rules so they can increase their enjoyment and appreciation of the game attend our workshops.
"Quite a bit of preparation and scheduling is required to ensure a successful workshop season. Planning begins a year in advance. David Staebler; USGA Director, Rules Education, is primarily responsible for making sure all aspects of the workshops are carried out effectively. Planning the workshop season includes selecting host sites, arranging the instructors and coordinators, and developing and refining the presentation materials.
"Each workshop has two instructors, one representing the USGA and the other the PGA of America, as well as a coordinator from one of the organizations. The workshop in Braselton will be taught by Thomas Pagel; USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf & Amateur Status and Jesse Barge; PGA Master Professional at Kokopelli Golf Club in Illinois. The coordinator is Greg Sanfilippo, a former AJGA staff member, who is now the Director of the U.S. Junior Amateur and USGA Senior Amateur Championships for the USGA.
"The three-and-a-half-day program in Braselton is one of 17 of its kind; covering all 34 Rules of Golf in an in-depth review of the code which governs the game. In order to provide a practical and constructive experience for attendees, the content is arranged into a comprehensive presentation. Once finalized, it is distributed and reviewed by the 50+ speakers and coordinators.
"At the end of each workshop, students are given the option of taking either the 100-question Exam or an 80-question Test. Each of these tests is also revised each year. Many attendees take the 100-question Exam to be considered for officiating eligibility. While no official Rules of Golf certification exists, various golf organizations and associations use the score on this Exam, at least in part, when assigning volunteers for their competitions. Since so many state and regional associations, as well as the USGA, depend on volunteers to successfully operate their championships, Rules education is a vital part of the mission of the USGA.
"This year marks my sixth as either a student or instructor. In my current role at the USGA, I work very closely with the Rules of Golf and these workshops. Recently, I coordinated a workshop at Golf House in Far Hills, NJ, the home of the USGA’s headquarters, and will be serving as an instructor for a two-day program in February."