USGA, R&A Update Rules of Amateur Status
The USGA and R&A have published updated rules regarding a player’s Amateur Status.
The rules go into effect on January 1, 2022.
“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive players,” said Craig Winter, USGA senior director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “This was emphasized in the feedback we received earlier this year and we believe these updates will help simplify these Rules and ensure the long-term health of the amateur game, not only to those who compete at the highest level of amateur golf, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses.”
The new Rules are accompanied by guidance notes, an overview document and explanations that detail the rationale for why changes have been made and, in some instances, why they have stayed the same.
In short, 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 ($1000/£700) 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 programs).
- 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.