This week I had the honour of meeting the new Lady Captains courtesy of an invitation by the chairman of Kenya Ladies Golf Union.
I also look forward to meeting the new Nairobi District Captains at their first meeting at the Muthaiga Golf Club next week. Then the week after next, all the new Men Captains, Lady Captains and golf administrators of all the clubs in Kenya meet in Nairobi for the annual training.
At the beginning of their terms, Golf Captains, just like our political leaders, will be heard saying that they were asked by “their people” to offer their services. However, unlike our members of parliament, Captains don’t get paid for their services.
Over and above the time they spend, some even end up spending their hard earned money in the service of their clubs. They receive a myriad of demands from the members. At the end of their term, the members will expect Captains to host a lavish Captain’s Prize.
In the midst of all these, Captains may start majoring in the minors. They lose focus on what is important in administering the game of golf. They never take time to question why certain things are done in a certain way or why they are done at all. When they think that a task is beneath them, they lump it on the duties of the golf administrator or the golf professional at their club.
This laissez-faire attitude by captains and abdication of responsibility to golf administrators has over the years led to the death of essential committees.
The golf administrator has now taken the responsibility of the handicap and competition committees, which are not only pivotal in running the golf section, but are also mandatory.
If the Golf Captain will go through their term without learning the Rules of Golf, how will the new golfer ever learn? Is it any wonder that we are seeing rules being flouted?
If some of the following things happen at your club, and you have accepted them as normal, then you need to not only request that your captain attend a rules school, but demand to see their certificate as proof that they attended:
You have had no competition committee and in the event of a query on the rules during a competition, you ask your golf professional or one of the low handicapped golfers (who may be very well versed with mythical rules).
The starting time indicated on the draw is merely a suggestion and you are free to tee off at any time. The interval given for a fourball is eight minutes and it can be reduced to seven if there are more entries than the eight minutes will allow.
Golfers have been disqualified for putting the wrong stableford points, failing to add up their hole by hole scores, failing to write their home club or membership number on their score card.
You still have call holes.
Your club has never had a handicap review and there are golfers, with “valid” handicaps on your handicap list that have not returned a single card for a competition for the last two years. The last time you heard of a handicap committee was before CONGU was introduced.
The only format played is individual strokeplay (either stableford or medal rounds). If the only times you’ve played a match play format have been during the league matches, then you fall in this category.
Dear Captain, you are steward of this ship in as far as golf matters are concerned. Do your people a favour and learn the Rules of Golf.
The author is a Kenya Golf Union Executive [email protected]