Following various problems over interpretation of the GC laws during the recent world championship, the Golf Croquet Laws Committee have met by tele conference and have formulated the following action plan.
1. Law 12(b) - lawn damage as a non-striking fault
The Committee recognised that, as currently worded, a dent in the lawn caused by ball impact was capable of being characterised as a non-striking fault although this was not the intention of the lawmakers. It was agreed to recommend that a ruling should be issued immediately by the WCF to confirm that the words "except when the striker commits a striking fault" should be interpreted as if they read "except during the period when the striker could commit a striking fault".
2. Law 13(a)(14) - lawn damage as a striking fault
The Committee discussed in detail the policy and purpose of this law. It was agreed that it should be retained in its present form as a deterrent to players with poor jump stroke techniques, especially in relation to short-range jumps near hoops, and those whose style of play resulted in the mallet being dropped onto the surface after playing a stroke. The Committee recognised that damage caused by a ball being driven into the surface could be more severe in soft conditions but observed that such damage was usually associated with longer-range jump shots and was located further from hoops. The Committee recognised that jump strokes were an important tactical weapon and that their competent use should not be deterred.
3. Improved guidance to referees
The Committee recognised that knowledge about the type of lawn damage that could be caused in jump shots by the ball alone was imperfect even among experienced referees and that detailed guidance should be issued in order to reduce the likelihood of faults being awarded in inappropriate circumstances in future. This is in the process of being drafted and will be published as soon as possible. The Committee also discussed the duties of a referee in charge or a referee called to watch a stroke and concluded that their primary duty was to watch the stroke and that a fault under Law 13(a)(14) should not be awarded by such a referee unless they had seen the mallet hit the ground. The Committee also endorsed the use of video footage, including slow motion footage, as a training aid for referees.
4. Law 14
The Committee discussed the situation of either player testing the firmness of a hoop by hand when there was a ball situated very close to the hoop and in a possibly runnable position. It was agreed to recommend that Law 14 (Etiquette) should be extended to state that a player should not handle a hoop if there was a ball in a critical position.
5. Law 15(c)
The Committee considered the meaning of Law 15(c) which deals with the right of appeal. It was agreed that a distinction should be drawn between cases which left static evidence (e.g. lawn damage) and those that did not (e.g. a hammer shot or a potential double tap when an angled hoop is run from close range). The Committee supported a right of appeal to the Tournament Referee by either player when a referee had awarded or refused to award a fault on the basis of static evidence.
6. Need for a new edition of the Laws
The Committee considered the number of rulings that had been issued in respect of the GC Laws and the need for a redraft of the Wrong Ball Law. It concluded that it should recommend to the WCF GC Rules Committee that a new edition might be issued, possibly during 2013. The Committee felt it was important that adequate time should be taken to ensure that all drafting issues were resolved.
7. Need for Referees in Charge
The Committee unanimously preferred that events should be refereed by Referees on Call ("RoCs") rather than Referees in Charge ("RiCs"). It noted that RiCs have not been used in English GC events for over three years and expects that this will remain the case indefinitely. It also noted that RiCs have only been used in World Championships in recent years and will pass on to the WCF its view that the use of RiCs is unnecessary.
Chairman GC Laws Committee