Progressive changes to golf's amateur game

The St Andrews based R&A says proposals to make “significant changes” to the rules around amateur status will make the mechanics easier to understand.
Grant Moir of the R&A. (Photo by : Stanley Chou/Getty Images for R&A)Grant Moir of the R&A. (Photo by : Stanley Chou/Getty Images for R&A)
Grant Moir of the R&A. (Photo by : Stanley Chou/Getty Images for R&A)

Along with the USGA, the governing bodies say there is a clear need to bring the rules up to date to reflect the global amateur game and make sure they are easier to apply.

As part of the modernisation effort, it is proposed the new rules will identify only three acts that will result in a golfer losing their amateur status.

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These are: Accepting a prize in excess of a limit of $750.

Accepting payment for giving instruction.

Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.

Another key proposal is the elimination of current sponsorship restrictions with elite amateur golfers being able to receive payment for deals.

To help achieve this simplified approach, the bodies aim to eliminate the distinction between cash prizes and other prizes.

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They also want to use the prize limit as the only way an amateur can lose amateur status through their play while also removing restrictions surrounding long-drive events, putting and skills competitions.

Grant Moir, director of rules at The R&A, said: “The rules of amateur status play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must continue to evolve.

"This is particularly so in relation to the modern elite amateur game, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential, and the proposed new rules will give much greater scope for this.”

A comprehensive review of the rules of amateur status began in late 2017 and was aimed at ensuring the rules are in the best interests of the game, reflect the modern game and are easily understood and applied.

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The proposed rules, along with explanations to key changes, have been posted on and and the organisations are now inviting feedback from golfers and stakeholders.

Comments will be accepted until Friday, March 26 with the new rules scheduled to be adopted on January 1 2022.

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