THE Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) are stepping up their efforts to help ease into place the new Rules of Golf that come into effect on Jan 1, 2019 and are making some headway with specially designed programmes to assist in the general running of golf clubs and their related operations.
Sadly though, there appears to be no way forward in their bid to revive the Malaysian Open championship.
MGA vice-president and chairman of the rules committee C.C. Boo told TeeUp that they were continuing with the visits to golf clubs and towns nationwide updating players and officials, and elaborating on the new rules agreed to by the R&A, the world governing body for all territories outside the US and Mexico, which are administered by the United States Golf Association (USGA).
“Malaysia had a delegation at the R&A’s rules briefing in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this year,” said Boo. “And subsequent to that we have held seminars for our referees and rules officials as we intensified our efforts to spread the word about the new rules.
“Since then we have been updating players, golf club officials and other stakeholders in the industry from around the country on the amendments and what they would mean when they come into effect at the beginning of January,” added Boo.
Among the new rules will be the:Dropping procedure: When taking relief (from an abnormal course condition or penalty area, for example), golfers will now drop from knee height. This will ensure consistency and simplicity in the dropping process while also preserving the randomness of the drop. Measuring in taking relief: The golfer’s relief area will be measured by using the longest club in his/her bag (other than a putter) to measure one club-length or two club-lengths, depending on the situation, providing a consistent process for golfers to establish his/her relief area. Removing the penalty for a double hit: The penalty stroke for accidentally striking the ball more than once in the course of a stroke has been removed. Golfers will simply count the one stroke they made to strike the ball. Balls lost or out of bounds – Alternative to stroke and distance: A new local rule will now be available in Jan 2019, permitting committees to allow golfers the option to drop the ball in the vicinity of where the ball is lost or out of bounds (including the nearest fairway area), under a two-stroke penalty. It addresses concerns raised at club level about the negative impact on pace of play when a player is required to go back under stroke and distance. The local rule is not intended for higher levels of play, such as professional or elite level competitions.
The MGA’s bid to help strengthen and consolidate the operations of golf clubs was highlighted by the recent success of the turf grass management seminar hosted by Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club in Johor.
MGA Education sub-committee chairman Mohd Rom Muslim said: “We had more than 20 club employees attend the seminar and we are happy with the turnout.
“Among the speakers were turf grass expert Normas Yakin, Kelab Golf Negara Subang (KGNS) general manager Mohammed Ishak, Amphibia Digital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Gary Tay and the Sports Ministry’s Mohd Anazem Ibrahim.
“They were very well received and we are really pleased with that,” added Mohd Rom, who also lectures at University Utara Malaysia.
Mohd Rom himself and Normas spoke on how golf clubhouse staff should communicate when dealing with the public and serving as the front liners of their businesses, including those undertaking duties of marshals, starters and receptions.
Normas, who is popularly referred to as a pakar rumput in Malaysia, said it was important that the front-liners should communicate effiecently with their members and guests to get their information across accurately and politely.
Ishak dealt with the new trends and challenges faced by the golf industry and how to manage them.
Tay, for his part, presented a rundown on how golf clubs could use social media to promote and market their golf and non-golf facilities.
Mohd Anazem briefed the delegates on the certification programmes available for golf club employees at the ministry .
“The programme offered something for everyone in the golf industry, especially the front liners and managers,” said Mohd Rom.
A field day was held in conjunction with the turf grass management seminar.
The Malaysian Open, featured on the European Tour’s schedule, was last played in 2015 and the national association is still strugging to find a sponsot for the event. Thus, it remains absent from the annual calendar with no end in sight – at least until they make a breakthrough of some sorts.