Australia’s new wave of elite professional golfers will be some of the first helping fund the future of Australian golf under a ground breaking new “Give Back” programme.
In 2012, Rule 2-2 of the Rules of Amateur Status was amended to permit amateurs to enter into an agreement with a national golf union or association to pay back the investment in the player’s development when they turn professional.
As a result of this Rule change, since 2015, Golf Australia’s national or rookie squad players have signed a commitment to be part of “Give Back”.
Once the players turn professional and reach a world rankings threshold – top 125 for men and top 50 for women – a small percentage of their prize money will be returned to high performance programs throughout Australia.
This money will be reinvested into helping develop the future stars of the game.
No athlete will be asked to give back for more than five years, nor more than the funds they received through the programme when they were participants. There is no compulsion for players who don’t reach those benchmarks to contribute and endorsement deals are not taken into account.
Money will only be given back once an athlete reaches his or her sixth year as a professional. This allows athletes the time to establish themselves before the commitment begins.
Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt announced recently the “Give Back” programme.
“In essence, when graduates of our high performance squads reach a certain threshold in professional world rankings each year on the world’s top tours, they will put some of their earnings back into the GA high performance pot for the next generation,” Pitt said.
“We could not be prouder that our brightest young talent are effectively putting their hands into their pockets to say thanks to all those who’ve helped them achieve their professional goals.
“It says everything about them as people, not just athletes that they’re prepared to help the next wave push through by giving them the same opportunities they received to reach their potential.”