The Committee should announce in advance the prizes that are to be awarded in the competition. The conditions should provide for situations such as one player winning prizes in both scratch and handicap competitions.
If the competition involves Amateur golfers the Committee must be aware of the regulations concerning prizes that an Amateur player may accept without breaching their Amateur Status. Committees should refer to the Rules of Amateur Status and Decisions on the Rules of Amateur Status, but briefly:
Cash prizes for amateur golfers of any amount are not acceptable. It is important to note that it is a breach of the Rules of Amateur Status to play in a competition where cash prizes are on offer to amateurs (unless the amateur waives his right to prize money in advance). A breach is not restricted to winning or accepting such a prize. Sweepstakes are different; they are forms of gambling and are acceptable provided they are voluntary and the amount of money involved is not considered excessive. Otherwise participants may be considered to be acting contrary to the Rules of Amateur Status.
An amateur golfer must not accept a prize or a prize voucher in excess of GBP £500 or the local equivalent. This limit applies to the total prizes or prize vouchers won in the same event. The only exception are hole-in-one prizes. An amateur may accept a prize in excess of the limit, including a cash prize, for a hole-in-one while playing a round of golf.
An Amateur golfer may not accept a prize of an expense paid trip to take part in a golf competition, except in certain limited circumstances (see Rule 4 of the Rules of Amateur Status).
A raffle or prize draw run in conjunction with a golf event is not subject to the Rules of Amateur Status provided:
- it is a genuine draw;
- it is open to a substantial number of people;
- golf skill is not a factor in being allowed to participate in the draw; and
- it is not a subterfuge for circumventing the Prize rule.
The following are examples of raffles or prize draws that are not permitted under the Rules of Amateur Status:
- a raffle or prize draw limited to low handicap players in a golf event;
- a raffle or prize draw limited to players in a golf event who achieve a hole-in-one, the longest drive, nearest the pin, etc.
In the above two examples the playing of golf is a requirement of being allowed to enter the raffle or prize draw. Therefore, the Rules of Amateur Status apply and an Amateur golfer may not accept a prize in such a raffle or draw of retail value in excess of the prescribed limits.
Irrespective of prize values, a sponsor may give a memento to competitors, provided such a memento is offered to all competitors and is not made as an inducement to play in the competition.