R&A: New interpretation of Rules of Amateur Status is on the way by January 2022

The R&A and USGA are continuing their review of the Rules of Golf with a review of the Rules of Amateur Status to make them as easy to understand as possible
After a review involving elite amateurs and other bodies within the amateur and professional game, a new Rules of Amateur Status should be ready by January 2022 says the R&A and USGA. The current prize limit for amateurs is £500 in any one event

THE R&A and the USGA are conducting a review of the Rules of Amateur Status to make them easier to understand and apply.

The comprehensive evaluation is part of the continued joint effort to modernise the Rules of Golf by reducing complexity and ensuring they effectively guide how the game is played today.

Amateur golfers are currently restricted in winning prizes of more than £500 in any one competition, and can only play in professional golf events providing they wave their rights to prize money, before the competition begins.

More and more amateurs are testing the waters by playing in developments tours like the PGA EuroPro, the MENA, Alps Pro Golf and Gecko Tours to gain experience before taking the plunge and turning pro.

As part of a review process that began earlier this year, the governing bodies will seek the perspectives of different groups in the game as an integral component of the review process.

That will include elite amateur golfers, golf event organisers, national and professional golf associations, and other industry partners, including equipment manufacturers.

That will include the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) in the UK and Ireland, and the United States Professional Golfers’ Association, in the USA.

The aim is to provide the golf community with a modernised set of amateur status rules in late 2021, with the goal of an effective date of January 1, 2022.

R&A Rules director Grant Moir said: “We will be looking at the Rules of Amateur Status carefully and considering ways in which we can modernise them and bring them more into line with the way the modern sport is played.

“The code remains a fundamental framework for amateur golf and we will be listening to the views of players, officials and associations to give us a fully rounded view of how we can improve them.”

Thomas Pagel, senior managing director of governance at the USGA, said: “One of golf’s greatest benefits is that it can be played by all ages and played for a lifetime.

“It is our goal to ensure the fundamental concept of what it means to be an amateur golfer is clear and retained to promote fair competition and enjoyment for everyone, while still addressing many issues that seek to protect the game.

“This is a forward-thinking approach and engaging golfers is a key component of doing what’s best for golf.”

Hole-in-one rule to change in 2020

IN a separate move, with effect from January 1, 2020, The R&A and the USGA will introduce one change to Rule 3-2b of the Rules of Amateur Status, which regulates hole-in-one prizes.

The Rules will no longer limit the prize an amateur golfer may win when making a hole-in-one outside a round of golf, including “stand-alone” and “multiple-entry” hole-in-one events.

It is hoped the change will help to promote the game and cater to new audiences as well as eliminate unnecessary restrictions for event organisers, said a spokesman for The R&A.

According to The R&A, the purpose of the Rules of Amateur Status is to maintain the “distinction between amateur and professional golf and to ensure that amateur golf, which is largely self-regulating with regard to the Rules of Golf and handicapping, is free from the pressures that may follow from uncontrolled sponsorship and financial incentives.”

New Rule 3-2b will read as:–

“An amateur golfer may accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during a round of golf on a golf course.
“An amateur golfer may also accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during contests held outside a round of golf, including multiple-entry contests and contests conducted other than on a golf course (e.g., on a driving range, golf simulator, or putting green) provided in all cases that the length of the shot is at least 50 yards.”

•More information about the Rules of Amateur Status can be found by going to www.RandA.org and www.USGA.org