The success of a competition is to a large extent dependent on a well-organized and knowledgeable committee in charge of the competition (the Committee). Rule 33 describes the duties and responsibilities of the Committee.
For example, have you ever seen a notice for a golf competition and wondered if you were eligible to participate in the competition?
If the Committee has established and published the conditions under which a competition is to be played (see Rule 33-1), you would have the answer to your question. The published conditions should include the method of entry, form of play, eligibility, dates of the competition, number of rounds to be played, any restrictions on the clubs or balls that may be used in the competition, any restrictions on the use of caddies or transportation during the competition, the method to be used to break ties, etc – see Appendix I, Part C. Publication of this information in advance will enable the players to arrive at the competition ready to play.
When you have played in a competition, has your ball ever come to rest near a water hazard and it is not possible to determine if your ball is in the water hazard since the line defining the margin of the hazard is no longer visible in the area?
This type of question will not arise if the Committee has met its responsibilities before the competition to accurately define the course, out of bounds, the margins of water hazards, ground under repair, obstructions and integral parts of the course – see Rule 33-2a.
Have you ever completed your round and returned your scorecard to the Committee only to realize that you have added your hole scores incorrectly? You know that Rule 6-6c states that no alterations may be made to the score card after it has been returned to the Committee, so you are concerned that you may be disqualified.
Your concerns are eliminated when you are informed by the Committee that Rule 33-5 places the responsibility on the Committee for adding the scores on the score card. Therefore, if your individual hole scores are correct, but you added your scores incorrectly, the Committee must correct the addition.
Rule 33-8 authorizes a Committee to establish Local Rules provided such Local Rules do not waive a Rule of Golf. Oftentimes a Committee will adopt the Local Rule for an embedded ball through the green or a Local Rule establishing a Ball Drop for a water hazard. These Local Rules should be described in the Notice to Players given to the players on the first tee or the Local Rules sheet posted in the locker room or golf shop. So the next time your shot fails to cross a large water hazard, check the Local Rules to determine if the Committee has established a Ball Drop that will allow you to negotiate a smaller part of the water hazard with your next stroke.
No discussion of a Committee's responsibilities would be complete without acknowledging the need for the Committee to make rulings. In the absence of a referee, any dispute or doubtful point on the Rules must be referred to the Committee, whose decision is final (see Rule 34-3). The Committee can expect to be called upon to consider claims in match play (see Rule 2-5), judge if a serious breach has occurred in stroke play (see Note 1 to Rule 20-7c), determine which ball is to count if a player has invoked Rule 3-3, and decide when a penalty of disqualification should be waived, modified or imposed (see Rule 33-7).
Committee members should have knowledge of and experience in tournament administration as well as a background in interpreting and applying the Rules of Golf.