AMATEUR STATUS

Reference: www.randa.org

 

 



Golf is different to many sports in that it is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee. It also has a unique handicapping system that allows individuals to play together, irrespective of ability – probably helping to explain why the sport has such a keen sense of amateurism. As amateur golf is essentially self-regulating with regard to Rules and handicapping, it is considered necessary to safeguard the sport so that it can be fully enjoyed by all amateur golfers.

According to the Rules of Amateur Status, an amateur golfer, whether he plays competitively or recreationally is one who plays golf for the challenge it presents, not as a profession and not for financial gain.
The purpose and spirit of the Rules is to:

• Focus on the game's challenges and inherent rewards, rather than financial gain.
• Maintain the distinction between amateur golf and professional golf.
• Keep the amateur game as free as possible from the pressures that may follow from uncontrolled sponsorship and financial incentive.

Amateurism does not mean second class or imperfect. It simply allows players to be categorized into those for whom golf is a profession and those for whom it is not.

Most golfers do not have the time to devote themselves to golf full-time. For most, golf is a recreational sport or hobby, albeit one that can be all-consuming. That is not to say that there are not some elite amateurs who spend significant amounts of time playing and practicing; there are many who do just that and, as a result, they are subject to very particular Rules regarding things like advertising, expenses or scholarships.

The Rules of Amateur Status – one of the game's hidden strengths – have helped preserve the challenge and traditions of the game over many years. They cover matters such as amateurism and professionalism, prizes and prize limits, expenses, bursaries and scholarships, giving instruction in playing golf and advertising.

Principal Changes Introduced into the 2012 Code

Rules of Amateur Status

Definitions

Amateur Golfer

The Definition is amended to establish more clearly that an "amateur golfer", regardless of whether he plays competitively or recreationally, is one who plays golf for the challenge it presents, not as a profession and not for financial gain.

Golf Skill or Reputation

A time limit of five years is introduced for the retention of "golf reputation" after the player's golf skill has diminished.

Prize Vouchers

The Definition is expanded to allow prize vouchers to be used for the purchase of goods or services from a golf club.

Rules

Rule 1-3 (R & A) Amateurism; Purpose of the Rules.
Rule 1-3 is amended to re-state why there is a distinction between amateur and professional golf and why certain limits and restrictions are needed in the amateur game.

Rule 2-1 (R & A) Professionalism; General

The existing Rules on professionalism are consolidated and re-formatted into new Rule 2-1.

Rule 2-2 (R & A) Professionalism; Contracts and Agreements

National Golf Unions or Associations – New Rule 2-2(a) is added to allow an amateur golfer to enter into a contract and/or agreement with his national golf union or association, provided he does not obtain any financial gain, directly or indirectly, while still an amateur golfer.

Professional Agents, Sponsors and Other Third Parties - New Rule 2-2(b) is added to allow an amateur golfer, who is at least 18 years of age, to enter into a contract and/or agreement with a third party solely in relation to the golfer's future as a professional golfer, provided he does not obtain any financial gain, directly or indirectly, while still an amateur golfer.

Rule 3-2b (R & A) Hole-in-One Prizes

New Rule 3-2b excludes from the general prize limit prizes (including cash prizes) awarded for achieving a hole-in-one while playing a round of golf. This exception is specific to prizes for holes-in-one (not longest drive or nearest the hole) and neither separate events nor multiple-entry events qualify.

Rule 4-3 (R & A) Subsistence Expenses

New Rule added to allow an amateur golfer to receive subsistence expenses to assist with general living costs, provided the expenses are approved by and paid through the player's national golf union or association.