Golf’s new Rules of Amateur Status, set to be implemented on 1 January 2022, have been published by The R&A and the USGA.
The review is the latest step by the governing bodies to make the Rules easier to understand and apply, following the modernisation process of the Rules of Golf in 2019.
The new Rules were guided by golfer and golf industry feedback as part of a comprehensive review, to ensure they continue to reflect how the modern game is played by millions of golfers around the world.
The review reaffirmed amateur golf's important position in the game and the value in maintaining amateur status Rules.
The new Rules remove 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.
Under the new Rules, only the following acts will result in a golfer losing their amateur status:
Accepting a prize with a value exceeding the prize limit (£700/$1000) or accepting prize money in a handicap competition.
Playing as a professional.
Accepting payment for giving instruction (with some exceptions).
Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.
To achieve this simplified approach, the following key changes have been introduced:
- Amateur golfers may accept prize money (up to £700/$1000) in scratch competitions, but not in handicap competitions.
- The prize limit only applies 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.
- All advertising, expense-related and sponsorship restrictions have been removed.
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 may benefit elite amateur players in funding 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 today. 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, accompanied by a number of documents that explain why changes have been made and, in some instances, why they have stayed the same, can be can be found at www.RandA.org and www.usga.org.
Cover photo: © The R&A