Tour professional Andy Sullivan was “over the moon” when he won a trip to space recently after achieving a hole-in-one at the 2014 KLM Open in the Netherlands.
Sullivan secured the prize after he became the first player to achieve the feat during the competition on the par-3 15th hole.
The value of the trip was estimated at £100,000, a substantial amount for any hole-in-one prize. “I’ll have to pluck up some serious courage, but I’d love to do it,” said Sullivan after finishing third in the event.
For Sullivan, accepting the prize was of no consequence as he plays the sport professionally. However, for amateur golfers, there are restrictions on the value of prizes a player can win.
An amateur golfer must not accept a prize or prize voucher of retail value in excess of £500 or the equivalent. The purpose of this is to maintain the distinction between amateur and professional golf and to ensure that amateur golf, which is largely self-regulating with regards to the Rules of Golf and handicapping, is free from the pressures of financial gains.
Realising that ultimate shot in golf is a special moment and, for many golfers, is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Since January 2012, this was recognised with a relaxation in the Rules to allow an amateur golfer to win a prize of any value for achieving a hole-in-one.
As a result of this change, an amateur golfer may accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for a hole-in-one made while playing a round of golf. Prizes such as cars, holidays, cash of any amount and retail items of any value are acceptable.
It is important to note that the hole-in-one must be made during a round of golf and be incidental to that round. Separate multiple-entry contests, putting contests and the other prizes for the tournament (e.g. 1st, 2nd or nearest the pin and longest drives) do not qualify under this provision and are subject to the prize limits.
So if achieving a hole-in-one is not reward enough for that ultimate golf shot, you too could be travelling into space!