Getting a National Championship Started
Starting this week at the U.S. Amateur at CommonGround
by Ed Mate , CGA Executive Director
CommonGround Golf Course, the home of the Colorado Golf Association and the Colorado Women's Golf Association served as the companion course to Cherry Hills Country Club for the stroke play portion of the 112th U.S. Amateur Championship which was held Monday and Tuesday, August 13th and 14th. Today, a playoff for the 64th spot in Match Play will be held at Cherry Hills Country Club with matches continuing the rest of the week, concluding with the 36-hole final on Sunday.
As the host association for the championship I was asked to serve as a starter at CommonGround which was a great way to meet the players and get involved in the conduct of the championship. The starter plays a critical role and is sometimes the only point of contact a player will have with a member of the Rules committee. A starter's responsibilities include much more than simply pronouncing player's names and home towns correctly. While that is important, the starter must also perform several additional duties including the following:
- Greet the players
- Distribute hole locations
- Distribute and review notice to competitors
- Distribute scorecards
- Communicate the order of play
- Ensure that each group tees off on time
- Advise the rules committee if a group tees off late
- Answer any rules questions that arise
The most difficult task for a starter is dealing with a player who arrives late to the tee. Rule 6-3 requires all players to be on the tee and ready to play at their appointed tee time. This Rule was ammended this year so that a player who arrives up to 5 minutes after his tee time receives a two-stroke penalty rather than disqualification. While most committees adopted the local rule modifying the penalty to two strokes, the new rule makes this automatic. Fortunately, all of the players arrived on time and ready to play at CommonGround--there is nothing worse than informing a player that they will be hitting their third shot when they arrive late. In fact nearly every player arrived at least 5 minutes prior to the tee time which I greatly apprecited as it allowed me time to complete my work prior to the start of each group.
In casual play I highly doubt that players assess themselves a penalty when they arrive 2 minutes late to the tee, but I am quite sure your local golf professional would appreciate your arriving at least 5 minutes early to the tee. Whether it is the National Amateur or a regular friendly game, teeing off on time is the courteous thing to do!