PURPOSE OF THIS PROTOCOL
The purpose of this protocol is to provide all those involved in the organisation and running of an event with clear guidance on the procedure to be followed if circumstances require play to be discontinued and an event in progress to be cancelled.
The key principles will be included in the Terms and Conditions to which all participants are committed when entering the event.
Cancellation of an event which has already started will only occur as a final resort. Temporary suspensions of play may be initiated throughout the competition but, whenever possible, play will be resumed as soon as circumstances allow. A decision to finally cancel a competition will be taken by the organiser on the day, acting as the representative of the Committee responsible for the event
REASONS FOR CANCELLING THE EVENT
- Rule 5-7 of the R & A Rules of Golf cover issues of Discontinuance of Play (see also Appendix 1)
- There are a variety of circumstances with the potential to require play to be discontinued. In many cases a temporary suspension of play may be all that is required, which may after a period of time, be continued. There is no restriction on the number of temporary suspensions which may be required during the course of a competition.
- By far the most likely reason for cancelling an event in progress is the effects of severe weather conditions – particularly lightning storms – in these circumstances players’ safety is the utmost priority.
- However, the rules do provide Committees with a degree of latitude in regard to reasons for discontinuing play, stating:“If the Committee or its authorised representative considers that for any reason the course is not in a playable condition or that there are circumstances that render the proper playing of the game impossible, it may .... order a temporary suspension of play or ... declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question ....
However see Paragraph 5. FURTHER ACTION (below) which explains the further conditions which will determine whether or not the event is abandoned or cancelled viz. the percentage of participants having completed their round prior to the decision that play should cease.
DANGEROUS WEATHER SITUATIONS
The procedure for Suspension of Play is displayed on the Club’s Notice Boards. This covers both dangerous situations (lightning, fog etc), and non-dangerous situations that may render the course unplayable.
Lightning: The golfing authorities encourage players to take care of their own safety, and Rule 5.7a(ii) permits a player to discontinue play if he/she thinks there is a danger from lightning, even though the Committee may not have authorised it by sounding the siren.
At Eaton we use a lightning detector as an aid to decision-making but this is an indication rather than an absolute authority. This calculates the proximity of the storm, in bands extending up to 40 miles, and helps us to decide if it is moving towards, away from, or parallel to our location. Our policy is to sound the siren to suspend play whenever lightning is within, or approaching 8 miles as shown on the detector. We signal a resumption of play when the storm has passed beyond 8 miles as shown by the detector, or more than 30 minutes in the absence of any indication from the detector. The latest radar weather apps available to download free on mobile phones and tablets (eg. The Met Office app) are a useful supplement to predicting the path of rain storms.
The signal for an immediate suspension of play is 3 blasts of the siren. During the day, until the Pro shop closes, the golf professional is responsible for the decision to suspend and for the resumption of play. After closure of the Pro shop the Bar Staff will be responsible for the decision making in the event of a potential threat of electrical activity in the vicinity. On hearing the siren, players should suspend play immediately (marking and lifting their balls if appropriate) and are advised to return to the Clubhouse. If the clubhouse is closed you should return to your own vehicle.
- Rescheduling of the event (as suggested by the R & A) is considered to be logistically impractical given the number of pre-planned events in the golf club’s calendar.
- The Committee has therefore decided that, if circumstances dictate that play should be abandoned, the decision to cancel the event will be determined by the number of participants who have completed their round. If fewer than 50%* of those entered have failed to complete their round, then the event may be cancelled. However, if 50%* or more players have completed their round then the event will be regarded as a valid competition for which prizes will be awarded, as appropriate.
- Those players who have not completed their round when the decision is made to abandon the event will be offered a voucher for a free round of golf at a time to suit themselves, within a period of six months from the date of the Open event.
- Note: If the event is cancelled (see above) this offer will be extended to those players who have completed their round, as cancellation of the eventwill mean that no prizes will be awarded for any performances on the day.
- *The percentage calculation will be rounded up and applied to the number of entrants registering for the event.