The R&A - Working for Golf

Amateur Status Essentials

The purpose of the Amateur Status Rules 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. 

Through appropriate limits and restrictions, the Rules are also intended to encourage amateur golfers to focus on the game’s challenges and inherent rewards, rather than any financial gain so that the sport can be fully enjoyed by all.

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Changes to the Rules of Amateur Status - 2016

The Rules of Amateur Status continue to evolve but remain committed to preserving the amateur Code. In the latest Code, the Rule relating to prize money has been revised to make it easier for amateur golfers to support worthwhile charitable causes and the recommended guidelines on periods awaiting reinstatement are amended. For further information regarding the 2016 changes click here.

Full details of the Rules of Amateur Status and the related Decisions are available in the Rules Explorer.


Reinstatement to Amateur Status

Each governing body has the sole authority to:

  • reinstate to Amateur Status a professional golfer or person who has infringed the Rules of Amateur Status
  • prescribe a waiting period for reinstatement, or
  • deny reinstatement.

Each application is considered on its own merits with consideration normally given to the principles outlined in Rule 9.

A player looking to be reinstated to Amateur Status should follow the application process for the Governing Body of the country in which he or she resides. 

The “Governing Body” for the Rules of Amateur Status in any country is the national golf union or association of the country. (Note: in Great Britain and Ireland, The R&A is the Governing Body).

For full details of the reinstatement process click on the link below.

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For residents of Great Britain and Ireland only, applicants must complete the online application for Reinstatement to Amateur Status, which can be found below.  Please note, if you are a member of the Professional Golfers’ Association please ensure that you resign your membership before applying for reinstatement.

Reinstatement Form

Sponsored Handicap Competitions

An amateur golfer is not permitted to accept expenses (e.g. free travel or hotel accommodation) to take part in a golf competition, except in certain limited and controlled circumstances (see Rule 4-2). One of those exceptions involves Sponsored Handicap Competitions.

Rule 4-2g in the Rules of Amateur Status clarifies that an amateur golfer may accept expenses to take part in an individual or team handicap event, provided the event has received the necessary annual approval.   Details of the required approval process are also covered in this Rule.

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To view a list of events within Great Britain & Ireland which have been approved for the payment of expenses, please select the link below:

List of Approved Events

Organiser Essentials

  • The event must be an organised event where handicaps are applied.
  • The event must have a sponsor who financially supports the event for charitable or promotional reasons.
  • The event must not be entirely financially supported by any fees paid.
  • All prizes must conform to Rule 3-2.
  • Expenses may only be covered for a maximum of seven days.
  • The level of expenses covered for each individual must not exceed £1,000.
  • Approval from the Governing Body in the country in which the final will be held is required.

Click on Learn More (to the left) for full details.

Enforcement and Appeals

Enforcement 

It is the responsibility of each governing body to investigate possible breaches of the Rules and, where necessary, to take appropriate action. Appropriate action could, for example, be the removal of the player’s Amateur Status, or requesting that the player discontinue the action in question. Each governing body should establish a process for the enforcement of the Rules, including procedures for an individual to apply for reinstatement of his Amateur Status or appeal against decisions of the governing body.

For details of The R&A’s procedure for the enforcement of the Rules, applications for reinstatement to Amateur Status, and appeals concerning decisions made by The R&A’s Amateur Status Committee, download the relevant documents on the right hand side.

For residents of other countries, please contact your national golf association.

Appeals

The national governing body for the Rules of Amateur Status has the sole authority to reinstate a person to Amateur Status.

Each governing body should establish a process for the enforcement of the Rules, including procedures for an individual to apply for reinstatement of their Amateur Status and appeals against decisions of the governing body.

For residents of Great Britain and Ireland only, an individual affected by a decision of The R&A’s Amateur Status Committee has the right to appeal the decision. Information on the Appeals Procedure can be downloaded using the links to the right.

For residents of other countries, please contact your national golf association. 

Guidelines

To assist governing bodies and interested individuals, there are various guidelines available to assist amateur golfers to understand the Rules of Amateur Status relating to their circumstances.  See the relevant downloads below.