New Rules of Amateur Status published by The R&A

Golf’s new Rules of Amateur Status have been published by The R&A and the USGA ahead of coming into effect on January 1, 2022.

The work is the latest step by the governing bodies to make the Rules simpler and follows the modernisation process of the Rules of Golf in 2019.  The new Rules were informed by golfer and golf industry feedback, to ensure they continue to reflect how the modern game is played by millions of golfers around the world.

The new set of Rules removes many of the restrictions that previously applied to amateur golfers, while ensuring the integrity of the game is protected by limiting the form and value of the prizes an amateur golfer can accept.

As part of the modernisation effort, 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 (£700/$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 key 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.

On the changes to the Rules, 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.”

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