GC Refereeing: What Comes Up Most Often?
A competent GC referee should be able to find the right rule to answer any problem in a reasonable time by using the Index and Contents in the rule booklet - get used to using these.
But inevitably, some rules and situations come up much more often than others in real refereeing - this guides us where to concentrate our efforts. The most common situations are:
- judging the fairness of a short-range clearance (Rules 11.2.4 and 11.2.6)
- judging the fairness of a hoop-stroke from near or actually touching a wire (Rules 11.2.6 and 11.2.7)
Less common but still frequent situations:
- ruling whether a ball has run a hoop or not, or is in a position to do so (Rule 7)
- resolving wrong ball problems (Rule 10)
Least common situations:
- judging the fairness of a hammer stroke or jump stroke (Rules 11.2.4 and 11.2.5)
- judging lawn damage from jump shots (Rule 11.2.10). (Regarding lawn damage arguably caused by the mallet, always check the face of the player's mallet to see if any debris has adhered. If the mallet has hit the lawn, there is usually evidence of dirt and grass adhering to the face.)
- judging boundary balls (Rules 6.5 and 6.6) and offside balls (Rule 8)
It is rare to be called to consider:
- Rules 11.2.1 and 11.2.2 are situations taken from the AC Laws that rarely happen in GC because there is no continuation stroke to be earned - although a referee should check for them in hampered strokes.
- Rules 11.2.8 and 11.2.9 cover situations that do crop up from time to time but a referee is unlikely to be Active when they occur.
Do consider what may be the likely faults when asked to watch a stroke, in order to know where to stand, what to mark and what to watch - but don't then be surprised when a player plays an apparently 'impossible' stroke cleanly. You need to be reasonably confident a fault has been committed before awarding it.
A good referee knows how to explain the tricky parts of the Rules - especially Rules 6 to 13. When a messy multiple wrong ball situation has occurred and the players are in dispute, get the players to focus on exactly what was the final wrong ball, as only that is rectified (Rule 10.2) - don't get side-tracked into debates about earlier history and how they got into this situation, it almost always doesn't matter! However, it is just possible that you might meet the situation covered in Rule 10.5.4, where the previous stroke was played with an opponent ball and neither side noticed until after the last stroke had been played.