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Headline: MGA Rules Official Don't Let Cold & Rainy Condition Get in the Way of an Important Education Seminar at Franklin CC
For Immediate Release: April 24, 2017
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|More than 60 MGA volunteers took part in a season kick-off rules seminar at Franklin CC.|
Franklin, MA — Tuesday’s cold and rainy weather may have questioned even the most avid golfer’s dedication to the game.
However, for the more than 60 in attendance at Franklin Country Club the day's dreary conditions served as the perfect opportunity to refresh up on the golf rules handbook ahead of the MGA Championship season, which begins next week with the association’s first MGA Member Day of the season.
With an array of topics covered, the annual MGA Rules Official and Official-in-Charge Seminar was a perfect opportunity to bring together all of the MGA volunteers - who serve in multiple roles and are crucial to the success of the MGA’s function in amateur golf – to improve rules knowledge and help the players play the game.
Additionally, Tuesday’s platform provided the opportunity for the many in attendance to ask questions, cover individual’s various interpretations of said rules, and most importantly, introduce one another to their fellow volunteers, who they will be working with throughout the season in events that include MGA Championships and Qualifiers, MGA Member Days and USGA Local and Sectional Qualifiers.
“Today was a great day to reacquaint with many of our MGA family members ahead of the season” said Kevin Eldridge, the MGA's Director of Rules & Competition. “As one of the most active associations in the country, there are very few opportunities to bring together so many of the people who are ultimately responsible for the success of our events. We are grateful for the tremendous turnout we received and for our host, Franklin Country Club, who helped us prepare to serve the thousands of golfers we will interact with over the next six months.”
Using both the first and second floors of Franklin CC as their work space, the group of volunteers were divided into four using a rotation method to ensure all volunteers reviewed all four areas that the seminar covered. The areas of focus for the seminar – bunkers, unplayable situations, water hazard/lateral water hazard, and obstruction– all provided real-life scenarios that the MGA rules officials will undoubtedly encounter throughout the season.
This year’s MGA season will feature 31 days of championship competition, 43 qualifiers, 16 USGA qualifiers and 19 Member Days at 92 different clubs.
“Year after year, we continuously see a trend of where our competitors have questions,” explained Eldridge. “By hosting an event like this and recreating the scenarios that our officials are most like to experience out on the course, we are best preparing our officials to do the best job they can.”
Forced indoors due to the heavy rain and the far from favorable temperatures that the Bay State experienced on Tuesday, MGA staff created models of the various areas of the course using different colored tape that required a little bit of imagination, but still got the point across vividly to all in attendance.
In the six-hour seminar, attendees also heard the MGA Tournament Administration update provided by Eldridge and MGA Assistant Director of Rules and Competition Shawn Bennett. Among the updates that the staff provided, volunteers learned about increase in age for the MGA Junior Amateur Championship, which will also effect the age limit on the junior division of the Father Son Championship. Additionally, the introduction of the senior division to the Senior Four Ball Championship was also announced.
The implementation of the new Local Rule that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green was covered, and officials will see that addition to their “hard card” for the 2017 season, a document that outlines notable rules changes and that each official will receive for the season.
Tuesday’s rules seminar also marked the first official gathering of rules officials and OIC’s from both the MGA and WGAM since their announced merger at the beginning of April. In 2017, ahead of the set merger which will take place on January 1, 2018, officials from both associations will be working together at both MGA and WGAM events to become better acquainted with each other and the formats of each association’s championships, which will fall under one umbrella at the start of the new year.
To close out the day, all in attendance received their official MGA rules officials merchandise so that they will be easily identifiable during all MGA events as well the updated USGA Rules of Golf books that they will be able to reference throughout the year.