Rules on amateur status will give players support to develop potential
St Andrews-based The R&A says that changes soon to come into effect regarding amateur status will remove restrictions on players while also preserving the integrity of golf.
Golf’s new rules on amateur status have already been published by The R&A, and fellow governing body the USGA, but will come into effect in a few days time on January 1.
The work to update them was carried out to make the rules easier to understand and follows on from a modernisation process started in 2019.
It has been informed by golfer and industry feedback as part of a comprehensive review to ensure they reflect how the modern game is played by millions of golfers around the world.
The result is a set of rules that removes many of the restrictions that previously applied to amateur golfers, while ensuring that the integrity of the game is protected by limiting the form and value of the prizes an amateur golfer can accept.
The new rules identify only the following acts that will result in a golfer losing their amateur status:
• Accepting a prize with a value exceeding the prize limit of £700, or, $1000 or accepting prize money in a handicap competition.
• Playing as a professional.
• Accepting payment for giving instruction, although all current exceptions still apply, such as coaching at educational institutions and assisting with approved programmes.
• Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.
To achieve this simplified approach, the following changes have been introduced:
• Distinguishing between scratch and handicap competitions in terms of the prizes that may be accepted.
• The prize rule applies only to tee-to-hole competitions played on a golf course or a
simulator but no longer apply to long-drive, putting and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition.
• Eliminating all advertising, expense-related and sponsorship restrictions.
The new opportunities provided by lifting sponsorship restrictions and the ability to accept prize money up to the increased limit of £700 or $1000 in scratch-only competitions will be of significant benefit to elite amateur golfers looking for ways to fund golf-related expenses.
Grant Moir, director of rules at The R&A, said: “We are delighted to be rolling out the modernised rules of amateur status.
"These rules play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must evolve to meet the needs of the modern game.
"This is particularly important for modern elite amateur golf, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential.
"The new rules give them this opportunity and will help to make the game even more inclusive.”
The new rules are accompanied by guidance notes, an overview document and explanations. These materials can be found at www.RandA.org and www.usga.org.