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Time for USGA to Rethink Amateur Status Rules

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s past time that the USGA revises and modernizes its Rules of Amateur Status?

After all, just what is the purpose of making someone who is a golf teacher compete as a professional? This might come as a shock to some of you, but if I could play as an amateur again, that would be my preference. Yet, as the Rules of Amateur Status currently read (and probably will be for the rest of my life), anyone who takes compensation for giving lessons must forfeit amateur status…for PLAYING PURPOSES!

post #2 of 54

You aren't banned for life..................... you can always get your AM status reinstated if you quit teaching.  

 

 

A golf pro is just THAT......a PRO. You should not be competing against AMs with regular day jobs.  There are plenty of sectional events for club pro's where you can compete with your peers.  Why don't you play those events?  IMO......you need to stop whining.!  I honestly can't imagine why a club pro would want to compete in AM events.  Why not play for money against other club pro's?

post #3 of 54

I have to agree with Buskeyenut, pros should play against pros. You cannot have someone who teaches golf and is involved in golf on a day to day basis at that high of a level competing against people who work regular day jobs. 

 

    IMO I think the USGA is too lenient on who they let get reinstated. In the past players who have played and won PGA Tour events have been reinstated which I have a hard time grasping. 

post #4 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by gogolfer View Post

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s past time that the USGA revises and modernizes its Rules of Amateur Status?



Yep, I think it's just you. a2_wink.gif

Welcome to the forum though!
post #5 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckeyeNut View Post

A golf pro is just THAT......a PRO. You should not be competing against AMs with regular day jobs.  There are plenty of sectional events for club pro's where you can compete with your peers.  Why don't you play those events?  IMO......you need to stop whining.!  I honestly can't imagine why a club pro would want to compete in AM events.  Why not play for money against other club pro's?

 

Agreed.

post #6 of 54

I'm going to take the opposite tack here.  Just because a person understands the golf swing well enough to teach it doesn't mean that he has the skill to play to a "professional" level, whatever that might be.  I've known quite a few amateur golfers who were as good as or better than any of the pros at my home course.  And the typical club pro probably plays less than the avid amateur because his job (which doesn't involve playing golf) is often a 12 hour day 5 or 6 days a week.  Often enough, the last thing he wants to on his day off is play golf.  Then most have family obligations as well.  The first year I worked as a starter, the head pro didn't get to play a round of golf between April and mid July.  There are quite a few guys on this forum who get to practice and play a lot more than he does.  

 

The closest he got to it was a couple of 5 or 6 hole playing lessons with students.  He didn't hit balls on the range.  His day was open the shop at 5 AM, get the computers turned on, start doing the money book from the previous day while I (starter) started shagging carts out to the staging line.  Usually by 5:15 or so the first golfers start showing up (first tee time is 5:30 in midsummer), so now he's behind the counter as clerk and starter until I get finished with the carts.  He manages that until 6 AM when the scheduled pro shop staffer starts.  Then it's back in the office to complete the books and other paperwork and get ready for lessons, etc.  At around 8 AM he makes a run to the bank.  Lessons usually start about 9.  Between lessons he manages correspondence, mail, email, and telephone.  He takes care of the management of the property as a whole, basically does all of the chores that any business manager must deal with.  Now and then a friend will drop by and he will squeeze in 11 or 12 holes before he has to break away for a lesson, but that doesn't happen often.  Vacations are family involved, not golf.  Despite all of that he is a decent golfer (would be about a 3 or 4 handicap if pros carried a handicap), but there were 3 or 4 guys in our Men's Club who could beat him day in and day out, yet they were amateurs and he was a pro, and as such he was blocked from competing in most local tournaments.

 

Anyway, even though he had to pass a proficiency test in becoming a pro, that doesn't mean that every pro is a hotshot plus handicap.  I think that there should be a differentiation between a teaching pro and a playing pro.  I can understand a scratch amateur being against having teaching pros in the field of a tournament, yet a good many of those scratch golfers spend a lot more time working on their game than the pros they don't want to compete against. 

 

All that said, I wouldn't expect anything to change, and I don't know how you would mange it anyway.  Just my 2 cents.

post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Anyway, even though he had to pass a proficiency test in becoming a pro, that doesn't mean that every pro is a hotshot plus handicap.

 

No, but they make their living from the game, and in doing so give up the right to compete against amateurs.

 

There are some lousy playing golf pros out there, no doubt.

post #8 of 54

Just because some pros (a low percentage) aren't really good doesn't mean the really good pros should be able to beat up on people who's life isn't related to golf. 

post #9 of 54

I'll give you a scenario that could happen and ruin someone's career:

 

Let's say I work at a summer camp with an athletics program. I am a college student in my early 20s, and need the job to afford everything. I play competitive college golf at the same university that hosts the camp, which requires the players to be amateurs under the rules. I am given the task of leading group lessons for kids aged 5-8, since none of the other counselors know shit about golf and I'm really good. One of the other schools finds out, knowing that I'm a threat to their team, and reports this so that I get declared ineligible, or at least provide a big, stressful distraction that could ruin my career. I can no longer play college golf, so I have to pay a lot of money for a range to practice that a college student doesn't have. I lose my university discount, and can't even play amateur tournaments to practice anymore. I need to join a mini tour just to continue to develop, which costs as much, if not more than my tuition. And of course, I need to either finish school or go straight to pro playing, either of which will put me in tremendous debt. Not to mention I lost my team and coach, possibly scholarships, and went through this whole ordeal, which would rather sour me towards the sport. Even if I regained my status, I could miss tournaments as a result.

 

Now, before you all check the rulebook to try and prove me wrong, I'll admit; there's a rule in the books specifically about summer camps.

 

That said, what's to stop a parent from asking for private lessons because little Matt likes you and really seems interested in the game? You need the money being a college student, I'd be willing to bet the private lesson one hour a week would pay more than the day at the summer camp, and give you 7 hours to practice. What about Matt's brother, trying to make the high school team? How about his dad, who really wants to learn to play better so he can share in his kids' interests? What about your own brother? Surely none of those are bad choices, they'd all help grow the game and have a positive effect on the others. You'd be a mentor, share your competitive experience with a kid who's where you were in high school, and help a dad connect with his kids and learn a game that keeps him healthy and entertained for years. 

 

Just because you're getting paid for lessons doesn't mean you actually know jack about the golf swing, even knowing how to play well enough to pass the PAT doesn't make you qualified. You could give those lessons, as I understand the rules, as long as you took no money for them. How the hell could you do that? As a college student you don't have the time to do stuff like that. I'm not sure if you could accept equipment or a membership or something as compensation. Yet there are rules essentially allowing one to negotiate a sponsorship as an amateur that goes into effect once you go pro. It seems like they're so strict about actual amateurs, but if the player is going to become pro, they don't care. As long as it's done under the table, it's fine.

 

And the most annoying part of all this is that gambling is never taken seriously, even though in some cases one can make more money from it than actually being a professional. It's common, yet completely ignored. 

post #10 of 54

If you are an college athlete and you don't know the rules about getting compensated for your using your athletic skills, you are an idiot. It sounds great that you should be allowed to teach golf. Should the QB also be allowed to teach? I am sure there are a lot of boosters who have kids that really need lessons..... You can be a mentor to those kids. You just can't be paid. If it is a priority in your life you can do it instead of playing xbox.

 

That being said, I would be fine getting rid of the whole idea of amateurism. Right now the best amateurs are the ones that can live the life as close to a pro as possible. When was the last time a 30 +year old won the US amateur? 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciusWooding View Post

I'll give you a scenario that could happen and ruin someone's career:

 

Let's say I work at a summer camp with an athletics program. I am a college student in my early 20s, and need the job to afford everything. I play competitive college golf at the same university that hosts the camp, which requires the players to be amateurs under the rules. I am given the task of leading group lessons for kids aged 5-8, since none of the other counselors know shit about golf and I'm really good. One of the other schools finds out, knowing that I'm a threat to their team, and reports this so that I get declared ineligible, or at least provide a big, stressful distraction that could ruin my career. I can no longer play college golf, so I have to pay a lot of money for a range to practice that a college student doesn't have. I lose my university discount, and can't even play amateur tournaments to practice anymore. I need to join a mini tour just to continue to develop, which costs as much, if not more than my tuition. And of course, I need to either finish school or go straight to pro playing, either of which will put me in tremendous debt. Not to mention I lost my team and coach, possibly scholarships, and went through this whole ordeal, which would rather sour me towards the sport. Even if I regained my status, I could miss tournaments as a result.

 

Now, before you all check the rulebook to try and prove me wrong, I'll admit; there's a rule in the books specifically about summer camps.

 

That said, what's to stop a parent from asking for private lessons because little Matt likes you and really seems interested in the game? You need the money being a college student, I'd be willing to bet the private lesson one hour a week would pay more than the day at the summer camp, and give you 7 hours to practice. What about Matt's brother, trying to make the high school team? How about his dad, who really wants to learn to play better so he can share in his kids' interests? What about your own brother? Surely none of those are bad choices, they'd all help grow the game and have a positive effect on the others. You'd be a mentor, share your competitive experience with a kid who's where you were in high school, and help a dad connect with his kids and learn a game that keeps him healthy and entertained for years. 

 

Just because you're getting paid for lessons doesn't mean you actually know jack about the golf swing, even knowing how to play well enough to pass the PAT doesn't make you qualified. You could give those lessons, as I understand the rules, as long as you took no money for them. How the hell could you do that? As a college student you don't have the time to do stuff like that. I'm not sure if you could accept equipment or a membership or something as compensation. Yet there are rules essentially allowing one to negotiate a sponsorship as an amateur that goes into effect once you go pro. It seems like they're so strict about actual amateurs, but if the player is going to become pro, they don't care. As long as it's done under the table, it's fine.

 

And the most annoying part of all this is that gambling is never taken seriously, even though in some cases one can make more money from it than actually being a professional. It's common, yet completely ignored. 

post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Anyway, even though he had to pass a proficiency test in becoming a pro, that doesn't mean that every pro is a hotshot plus handicap.

 

No, but they make their living from the game, and in doing so give up the right to compete against amateurs.

 

There are some lousy playing golf pros out there, no doubt.

 

If I work full time in the pro shop on course, I make my living from the game, but that doesn't strip me of my amateur status.  And I probably have a lot more time for practice and play than the pro who is my boss.  In my opinion, a player who plays in a professional tournament with a cash purse should be precluded from amateur status.  A teaching pro who has never played for a cash purse should not.  He is not earning his living playing golf, he is earning by teaching.  

 

You know the old adage, "Those who can, play.  Those who can't, teach." a2_wink.gif

post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciusWooding View Post

That said, what's to stop a parent from asking for private lessons because little Matt likes you and really seems interested in the game? You need the money being a college student, I'd be willing to bet the private lesson one hour a week would pay more than the day at the summer camp, and give you 7 hours to practice. What about Matt's brother, trying to make the high school team?

 

Seriously? Like the other person said, if you're a college golfer and don't know the rules, you're an idiot.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

If I work full time in the pro shop on course, I make my living from the game, but that doesn't strip me of my amateur status.

 

No you don't. Not per the Rules of Amateur status. You're not a golf professional. It's that simple.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

You know the old adage, "Those who can, play.  Those who can't, teach." a2_wink.gif

 

Nice try. I can do both. a1_smile.gif

 

It's very simple: http://www.usga.org/rule-books/rules-of-amateur-status/amateur-status/

 

Quote:

For the purpose of applying these Rules, a professional golfer is one who:

• plays the game as his profession; or

• works as a professional golfer; or

• enters a golf competition as a professional; or

• holds or retains membership of any Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA); or

• holds or retains membership of a Professional Tour limited exclusively to professional golfers.

post #13 of 54

Didn't one of the girls on the 2nd to last Big Break give up her college scholarship for the chance to play on Big Break? 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

Seriously? Like the other person said, if you're a college golfer and don't know the rules, you're an idiot.

post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

Didn't one of the girls on the 2nd to last Big Break give up her college scholarship for the chance to play on Big Break? 

Yes, she did. She gave up her amateur status to play on Big Break Atlantis. She was also eliminated on the very first show.
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

It's very simple: http://www.usga.org/rule-books/rules-of-amateur-status/amateur-status/

 

Quote:

For the purpose of applying these Rules, a professional golfer is one who:

• plays the game as his profession; or

• works as a professional golfer; or

• enters a golf competition as a professional; or

• holds or retains membership of any Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA); or

• holds or retains membership of a Professional Tour limited exclusively to professional golfers.

 

The whole point of this discussion is to suggest that maybe those rules are wrong, or could stand modification.  I understand the rules of amateur status as they stand now.  You can quote them all you want, but that doesn't make them right or perfect.  All I'm saying is that I can see where the OP is coming from.  I think that it's an interesting discussion, and with the advent of professional golfers in the Olympics, seems to be a timely topic.  I feel that permitting true competing professional athletes into the Olympics to be far more deplorable than what the OP has suggested.  

post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

The whole point of this discussion is to suggest that maybe those rules are wrong, or could stand modification.  I understand the rules of amateur status as they stand now.

 

Then speak to that. You didn't.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

You can quote them all you want, but that doesn't make them right or perfect.  All I'm saying is that I can see where the OP is coming from.

 

Then talk about it. Cuz I think they're fine. If you play tournaments and earn money, give lessons, or are otherwise a professional within some fairly well defined boundaries, you're a golf pro and you compete against golf pros.

 

It's not like it's PGA Tour or bust. The local sections of the PGA have section events. And pros who aren't in the PGA can find games (they're not earning a living doing this, but if the goal was to earn a living from their play, they really made a stupid choice) with members who like to gamble a little. Or both.

 

You can caddie and remain an amateur. You can be an equipment rep and remain an amateur. You can invent AimPoint and remain an amateur. You can own a golf course and remain an amateur. You can do all kinds of things in golf and remain an amateur.

 

What can't you do? Declare yourself to be a pro, get paid for giving golf lessons, play for or accept money larger than a small sum, or be a golf professional.

 

How exactly do you propose to allow a golf pro to play as an amateur? Should he have to prove that he sufficiently sucks? And what proof or evidence do you have that pros want to compete as amateurs?

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

I think that it's an interesting discussion, and with the advent of professional golfers in the Olympics, seems to be a timely topic.  I feel that permitting true competing professional athletes into the Olympics to be far more deplorable than what the OP has suggested.

 

That ship sailed decades ago, and the U.S. was one of the last holdouts. And the Olympics are an entirely different discussion.

 

So speak to the topic, and have a discussion. Don't say "I know what the rules are, I just don't know that they're right." That doesn't further the conversation. Share your reasoning. Why is THIS rule wrong, and how would you write the rules so that they're clear (large grey areas aren't cool) and fair.

 

No golf pros were tricked into this. They know they can't enter tournaments or play as amateurs. They made a choice.

 

Good luck.

post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by x129 View Post

If you are an college athlete and you don't know the rules about getting compensated for your using your athletic skills, you are an idiot. It sounds great that you should be allowed to teach golf. Should the QB also be allowed to teach? I am sure there are a lot of boosters who have kids that really need lessons..... You can be a mentor to those kids. You just can't be paid. If it is a priority in your life you can do it instead of playing xbox.

 

That being said, I would be fine getting rid of the whole idea of amateurism. Right now the best amateurs are the ones that can live the life as close to a pro as possible. When was the last time a 30 +year old won the US amateur? 

     That is why they have a mid-amateur. I think of the U.S. amateur as a showcase for the best college golfers that will most likely be on the pga tour in the next few years. 

post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

How exactly do you propose to allow a golf pro to play as an amateur? Should he have to prove that he sufficiently sucks? And what proof or evidence do you have that pros want to compete as amateurs?

I think that's the biggest thing... how do you determine which pros get to play as amateurs and which don't. I can kind of see the OPs argument, I just don't see where you draw the line.

 

I think the rules are fine where they are.

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