USGA Revises Rules of Amateur Status

Are you a scratch player who could kick butt in amateur competitions but you and your family don’t have the funds?

USGA LogoThe USGA recently revised their rules of amateur status. Starting January 1, 2006, amateur golfers of all ages will be able to accept reimbursement for tournament expenses from sources outside of their family. Tournament expenses include transportation (airfare, rental car, extremely over-priced gasoline), hotel, meals, the entry fee, and caddie fees. This is a major change from the current section of the USGA’s Rules of Amateur Status that only allows junior golfers to accept help from outside sources for tournament expenditures.

One main key point in the revision is that all reimbursement must be made through the amateur player’s state or regional golf association. This is made in order to ensure that the player is paid for the exact amount spent for the competition and that the new Rule is not abused by giving the player additional money.

Under this provision, juniors will be able to use outside sources to fund any type of competition out of the junior level that they are able to enter. The compensation will be made through the state or regional golf association for non-junior competition but can be paid directly to the player for junior competition expenses. This provision does not apply to amateurs over the age of 18.

Also effective January 1, 2006, amateurs competing in sponsored handicap events may accept expenses to play in its various stages, only if played on a net basis and sponsored by the USGA.

Under certain circumstances, amateurs can also receive compensation for giving instruction. While the circumstances seem to be controlled very strictly, it is possible for amateurs to give instruction where there may not be enough PGA Professionals to help with golf programs. In this case, the USGA and the PGA of America will be in close contact.

Together, The USGA and The R&A, St. Andrews, Scotland, have been working hard revising their respective Rules of Amateur Status for nearly two years. They have correlated more than 20 different codes.

Another key revision being made to the rules regards the value/prize won for a hole-in-one. The prior code limited an amateur to a prize worth no more that $750 for making a hole-in-on. With the new rule, there is no limit to what an amateur can win for a hole-in-one but there is a catch. The hole-in-one must be made “while playing golf,” meaning it has to be incidental to a round or a partial round of golf. If an amateur is allowed more than one opportunity on a hole to win a prize, then the $750 prize limit stays in effect. Also if the contest is conducted at a venue other than a golf course (driving range, simulator, your garage, etc.) or the contest is a simple putting contest, then the $750 limit will still stay in effect. Also, this provision does not apply to closest to the pin competitions.

The R&A chose to not match The USGA on the code regarding hole-in-one prizes, still limiting prizes under their control to £500 or about $750.

Finally, the timeframes for golfers hoping to regain their amateur status have been updated. There is a one-year wait for reinstatement if the player has been a profession for less than five years but a two-year wait if the player has been a professional for more than five years.

5 thoughts on “USGA Revises Rules of Amateur Status”

  1. “… If an amateur is allowed more than one opportunity on a hole to win a prize, then the $750 prize limit stays in effect…” that’s a killer. Most of the outing I’m playing have one “main” prize (a car) and 2 or 3 “minor” prizes (trip for 2, motorcycle, set of clubs, etc). If one gets the “minor” prize – it’s fine, most of the time they’re under $750, but what if you were to get the car and the other hole-in-one prizes were offered?

  2. “…If an amateur is allowed more than one opportunity on a hole to win a prize, then the $750 prize limit stays in effect…” reading it again I’m confused. Does it describe scenario I listed above or does it eliminate the “old” amateur rule if i.e. you get 3 shots at THE SAME hole-in-one prize?

  3. I have a question….not all golfers are Amateurs…we just play golf with a group of ladies or men. The $750 rule, which applies to those that have that designed status…not us regular golfers with all sorts of HPC’s who play in an occassional tournament put on by our Country Club Association….gives prizes for Low Net and Low Gross, plus other small prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive, and a hole in won sponsored by a sponsor (with big prizes on all par 3’s)! My question is….what is the difference between…CASH, GIFT CERTIFICATE, GIFT CARD given as a prize for winning in these types of tournaments….we are living in the 21st century and if golfers are not competiting in Amateur USGA Tournamens…can Cash be given as a prize vs gift certificate or gift card if under $750 for them to spend on whatever they want to buy since these prize dollars are from the proceeds of the entry fee for the entire event. The prizes are not sponsored by individuals, groups etc.

    Thank you for your response to this most important question!
    Sincerely, KMAC

  4. I was introduced to the game about a year and a half ago and since then my clubs have not rested. I practice almost every day at home , on the course and at the driving range even though i have tight working schedules. I have taken part in some locally organised compettions and have emerged very successfull in all.
    I desire to carry my game on further to the top.

  5. i just watched the movie the greatest game ever played !! great movie by disney !! but anyways im not a golfer but just wondered if you could be a amateur in the usga and a professional in the pga or opposite…….???????????????????

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