Professional Intent: Making Enquiries About Prospects
An amateur golfer makes enquiries as to what is involved in becoming a professional golfer and obtains an opinion on his likely prospects. Is he in breach of Rule 2-1?
No. It is not only permissible but very sensible for an amateur golfer to make such enquiries before making the important decision of turning professional.However, an amateur golfer must not:
accept a job or openly advertise his services as a professional golfer, or
enter into a contract and/or agreement with a professional agent, sponsor or other third party, written or otherwise, to become a professional at some time in the future and in return obtain payment, compensation or any financial gain whilst still an amateur golfer (Rule 2-2(b)).
Membership of a Professional Golfers' Association by Amateur Golfer
May an amateur golfer hold or retain membership of a Professional Golfers’ Association?
No, unless it is in a category that does not confer any playing rights and is purely for administrative purposes. It is acceptable for an amateur golfer to serve on the board of a PGA or similar organisation.
Professional Intent: Application to Become Tournament Player
An amateur golfer wishes to become a professional tournament player. He may make general enquiries, such as whether a player of his record would be likely to be considered by a Professional Golfers' Association as a tournament player, without losing his Amateur Status. However, in view of the fact that PGAs from around the world determine their tournament player category of membership in different ways, how is Rule 2-1 interpreted?
Membership by Application If an amateur golfer is able to become a professional tournament player simply by successful application, he forfeits his Amateur Status when he makes a formal application to become a tournament player, even if the application is turned down. The breach occurs when he posts the application.Qualifying Schools If an amateur golfer must compete in one or more qualifying competitions in which prize money is offered to become a tournament player, he may enter and play without forfeiture of Amateur Status, provided that in advance of play and in writing he waives his right to any prize money. An amateur golfer who fails to do so is in breach of the Rules. Otherwise, the breach occurs when, having qualified, he accepts an offer of, or applies for, membership. An acceptable form of wording for a waiver is as follows:“I, the undersigned, hereby waive the right to earn any prize money as a result of my performance in [name and date of event].Signed: Name: Date:”
Amateur Golfer Enters for Professional Tour; When Breach Occurs
Does an amateur golfer forfeit his Amateur Status if he files an application for a qualifying competition to become a professional tournament player, without waiving his right in writing to any prize money?
No. An amateur golfer forfeits his Amateur Status only when he participates in a qualifying competition to become a professional tournament player without first waiving his right in writing to any prize money. Therefore, an amateur golfer who enters such a competition without first waiving his right to prize money remains eligible to play in amateur competitions before the qualifying competition, provided he conforms to the Rules (e.g. he does not identify himself as a professional golfer).
Meaning of "Non Amateur" Golfer
What is meant by the term “non-amateur” golfer?
Rule 2-1 states that an amateur golfer must not conduct or identify himself as a professional golfer and provides examples of behaviour that would render an individual a professional. However, an amateur golfer is not considered to be a professional golfer simply because he has breached the Rules, e.g. accepted a non-conforming prize or given instruction for payment. Such individuals are considered to be “non-amateurs” rather than professionals who have rights, playing or otherwise, on a professional tour or with a PGA.
Employment as Shop Assistant in Professional's Shop
May an amateur golfer take a job as a shop assistant with a professional, for which he receives a weekly wage, without forfeiting his Amateur Status?
Yes, provided he does not infringe the Rules in any way, e.g. he must not play golf with anyone for a fee, give golf instruction as part of his duties as a shop assistant or play for prize money. He may learn how to repair clubs and he may give instruction free of charge outside his employment.The same answer applies to people who may be attached to professional golfers in work experience trainee programmes.
Professional or Assistant Professional in Title Only
A person performs the normal duties of a shop assistant, gives no instruction and otherwise does not breach the Rules except by calling himself a professional or assistant professional. Has he breached Rule 2-1 for identifying himself as a professional?
Examples of Permissible Jobs Under Rule 2-1
Listed below are some examples of paid positions a person may hold within the golf industry without endangering his Amateur Status, provided he conforms with the other Rules:
Shop retailer or assistant.
Club-maker or repairer.
Greenkeeper or course manager.
Course ranger or starter.
Employee of an equipment manufacturer.
Director of golf or golf administrator.
Employment as a Salesman of Golf Equipment
May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation be employed by a golf equipment manufacturer to sell golf merchandise?
Yes, provided he does not infringe the Rules in any other way, e.g. he must not allow his name or likeness to be used to promote the golf equipment (Rule 6-2).
Former Golf Professional Wishes to Run Retail Golf Shop and Join Golf Club
A former professional has resigned from the PGA and applied for reinstatement to Amateur Status. While awaiting reinstatement, is he permitted to run a retail golf shop and join a Golf Club and, with the permission of the Committee at the Club, play in Club competitions?
Yes, subject to the following important provisos:
When running his shop, he must not promote the fact that he had previously been a professional by advertising the availability of "professional advice" or by referring to the fact that he had previously been a professional; if he did so, he would be guilty of "Professionalism" in breach of Rule 2-1.
He must not allow his golf skill or reputation as a professional to be used in any way for the advertisement or sale of anything in breach of Rule 6-2.
When he joins a Golf Club, which he is entitled to do, he must not play with members for the purpose of selling them golf clubs, golf equipment, etc. or giving them instruction in breach of Rule 2-1 and Rule 5-1.
If the person concerned was found to be in breach of any of the three provisos listed above, his application for reinstatement would become null and void.
Educational Courses: Participation in Courses for Prospective Professionals or Golf Coaches
Participation in a programme (e.g. Professional Golf Management Programmes) designed to or having the purpose of preparing students to become golf professionals or golf coaches does not, by itself, breach Rule 2-1. However, a student must ensure that he does not breach any other Rule.
Conditions Under Which Loan to Pay Expenses Permissible
May an amateur golfer accept a loan from an outside source allowing the player to defer repayment until he becomes a professional?
Yes. The loan must entail no obligation on the part of the player other than to repay it. Specifically, the player, when he becomes a professional, is legally free to execute an agreement with a sponsor, agent or group who are not those who advanced the loan. The loan must also carry a reasonable interest rate.However, a player of golf skill or reputation may not accept a loan from a professional agent or sponsor. An amateur golfer may accept a commercial loan, e.g. a bank loan, without restriction.
Players' Ability Test
Participation in a PGA Players’ Ability Test does not, by itself, constitute a breach of the Rules.
Examples of Permissible and Non-Permissible Contracts and/or Agreements
Rule 2-2 permits an amateur golfer to enter into a contract and/or agreement with his national golf union or association or with a third party (including but not limited to a professional agent or a sponsor), subject to the restrictions outlined in Rule 2-2(a) and Rule 2-2(b), respectively.In addition, Rule 4 (Expenses) and Rule 6 (Use of Golf Skill or Reputation) provide limits for the amateur golfer in terms of expenses that can be received and restrictions on the use of name or likeness to promote a product or service.To assist amateur golfers, national unions/associations and third parties who may be entering into contracts or agreements, guidance is provided below on specific matters that parties to such a contract or agreement might consider for inclusion.For the purposes of the guidance below, the term “third party” excludes a national union or association and the term “agreement” is considered to mean a contract or an agreement.RepresentationPermissible:
An agreement with a national union or association to represent the player after he turns professional.
An agreement with a third party to represent the player after he turns professional provided no direct or indirect financial benefit is received while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement that refers to the third party as the “representative” (or a similar term) of the player or refers to the player as the “client” (or a similar term) of the third party (including while he is still an amateur golfer) provided the substance of the agreement is otherwise permitted by the Rules.
Participation in EventsPermissible:
A third party may arrange for an unlimited number of invitations to tournaments and make the necessary arrangements on behalf of the player to play in the events, provided there is no requirement that the player participate in any event while he is still an amateur golfer.
An amateur golfer may enter into an agreement with the national golf union or association to play in events or attend certain training programs.
An agreement with a third party that the player will play in particular amateur or professional events while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to play with a particular brand of equipment when the player turns professional, provided in the meantime there is no breach relating to Rule 6 in terms of promoting the brand of equipment (see Note 1 to Rule 6-2 and related Decisions).
An agreement stipulating that a player must play with a particular brand of equipment while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to allow for the player’s name or likeness to be used to promote, advertise or sell any equipment or promote or advertise any manufacturer while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement that a third party will handle a player’s expenses provided that while the player is still an amateur golfer the expenses are administered in accordance with Rule 4-2.
An agreement with a national golf union or association to pay back the investment in the player’s development when he turns professional.
An agreement that provides travel, accommodation, meals, etc. to participate in a competition in accordance with Rule 4-2, provided there is no promotion of the third party or any other entity providing the funds or service while the player is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to further the development of the player’s game (e.g., through provision of a swing coach, athletic trainer, sports psychologist, etc.), provided there is no promotion of the entity providing the funds or services while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to receive financial benefit, compensation or payment of any kind while still an amateur golfer.
An agreement that the player and/or his family members will receive free or discounted benefits for products or services while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to provide funds to the player that requires the player to disclose the source of funds or allows the provider of the funds to disclose that the provider is supporting the player while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement between a player and a sponsor to have the sponsor provide funds to the player as a result of buying shares in him that become active when he turns professional.
An agreement to receive a financial loan from a professional agent or sponsor while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement with the national golf union/association to spend a certain amount of time on promotion or development activities once the player turns professional.
An agreement to participate in promotional activities or wear the official national golf union/association logo when representing that union as an amateur golfer or professional golfer.
An agreement to allow the player’s name and/or likeness to be used while an amateur golfer to promote: (1) his national, regional, state or county golf union or association; or (2) a recognised charity (or similar good cause if approved by the player’s national golf union/association); or (3) subject to the permission of the national union/association, any golf competition or other event that is considered to be in the best interests of, or would contribute to, the development of the game.
An agreement that the player’s name or likeness will be used to promote, advertise or sell the professional agent or sponsor’s product or services or any other product or service while he is still an amateur golfer. (Revised)
Amateur Golfer Enters Contract and/or Agreement with Equipment Manufacturer and Uses Manufacturer's Equipment Whilst Still Amateur
May an amateur golfer enter into a contract and/or an agreement with an equipment manufacturer to play certain equipment on turning professional and use that manufacturer’s equipment whilst still an amateur?
Yes, provided he is at least 18 years of age and he is not contractually obliged to use that equipment whilst an amateur golfer.Normally an amateur golfer would not be able to receive any financial benefit whilst still an amateur.However, in this particular case, the phrase “except as otherwise provided in the Rules” in Rule 2-2(b)(iii) means that the amateur golfer may receive and play with the manufacturer’s equipment (as permitted Note 1 to Rule 6-2), provided the contract and/or agreement with the manufacturer only covers his career as a professional, not as an amateur golfer.A similar situation would apply with other sponsors, e.g. clothing, car and the like.An amateur golfer under the age of 18 may also enter into such contracts and/or agreements with the permission of his Governing Body (Exception to Rule 2-2).
Amateur Golfer in Receipt of Educational Golf Scholarship Enters into Contract and/or Agreement with Third Party
May an amateur golfer in receipt of an educational golf scholarship enter into a contract and/or an agreement with a professional agent, sponsor or other third party?
Yes. However, whilst such a contract and/or an agreement may be permissible under the Rules, it may be contrary to the terms of the educational golf scholarship. An amateur golfer would be advised to contact the national body regulating such scholarships and/or the relevant educational institution for advice.
Contract/Agreement Entered into on Behalf of Amateur Golfer
The Rules of Amateur Status apply to contracts and/or agreements entered into on behalf of, or for the benefit of, an amateur golfer (e.g. where a parent, guardian or authorised representative enters into a contract on behalf of an amateur golfer who is a minor). If a breach of the Rules results from such a contract or agreement, it is the amateur golfer who is subject to any sanction deemed appropriate by the Committee of the Governing Body. Instances where a breach occurs when a player is not aware of a contract or agreement, or of the full extent of the contract or agreement, should be assessed on a case by case basis. (New)
Nearest to the Hole, Long Drive and Putting Contests Offering Prize Money
If a player competes in a nearest to the hole, long drive or putting contest for a cash prize, is he considered to be “playing for prize money”, in breach of Rule 3-1?
No. Playing in such competitions is not considered to be a breach of Rule 3-1. However, a player who accepts a cash prize would be liable for forfeiture of Amateur Status under Rule 3-1. (Formerly 3-1/1)
Prize Money Placed in Trust Fund
Is it permissible for an amateur golfer to compete with professionals for prize money, with any prize money that is won by the amateur golfer put in a trust fund for the future development of amateur golfers?
No. Such an act would be a breach of Rule 3-1. (Formerly 3-1/2)
Cash Prize to Club of Winning Player's Team
May the sponsor of an individual or team competition, in addition to giving prizes to an individual or team, give a cash prize to the winning player’s or team’s home Club?
No. Playing for such a prize would result in the forfeiture of Amateur Status of all those playing in the competition in that they would be indirectly playing for prize money. (Formerly 3-1/3)
Amateur Golfer Plays for Cash Prize in Golf Skills Challenge
May an amateur golfer take part in a "golf skills challenge" with a cash prize?
No, unless he waives his right in writing to the cash prize in advance of participating. Otherwise, the amateur golfer would forfeit his Amateur Status. (Formerly 3-1/5)
Shares, Stocks or Bonds as a Prize
May an amateur golfer take part in a competition where there are shares, stocks or bonds as a prize?
No. As such shares, stocks or bonds are convertible into cash, the format would be considered the equivalent of playing for prize money in breach of Rule 3-1, unless the player waived his right to the shares, stocks or bonds in advance of playing in the competition. (Formerly 3-1/6)
Playing for Poker Chips
If amateurs participate in a competition in which they are playing for prizes of poker chips or credit at a casino, will they be considered to be playing for prize money?
Yes, poker chips or casino credit is the equivalent of money. Therefore, all players who participate in the competition are in breach of Rule 3-1 for playing for prize money, unless they waive their right in writing to the poker chips or credit prior to participating in the competition. (Formerly 3-1/7)
Guidelines for Organisers of Golf Events Where Prize Money Awarded to Recognised Charity Based on Performance of Amateur Golfers
In general, an amateur golfer must not play golf for prize money or its equivalent in a match, competition or exhibition. However, under Rule 3-1b, an amateur golfer may participate in an event where prize money or its equivalent is donated to a recognised charity, provided the approval of the Governing Body is first obtained in advance by the organiser.The organiser must obtain approval of the event in advance from the Governing Body in the country where the event is to be played. The Governing Body may require the submission of the event’s proposed conditions of competition, including a detailed breakdown of the prizes and the charity involved.It is a matter for the appropriate Committee of the Governing Body to decide whether or not a particular event qualifies for approval under Rule 3-1b and the Governing Body has considerable discretion in this respect. However, an event can only be approved if the following requirements are met:
The organisers must identify, prior to the competition, the charitable organisation(s) that will be eligible to receive the cash awards based on the performance of the amateur golfers;
The charitable organisation(s) eligible to receive the cash awards must be a recognised charity as defined by legislation or taxation authorities in the jurisdiction where the competition is to be held;
All other prizes must conform with Rule 3;
An amateur golfer must not receive any benefit (e.g. a tax benefit), directly or indirectly, from the cash prizes paid to the charitable organisation(s).
All events approved under Rule 3-1b should be given a reference number, which should be included in all advertising literature and entry forms (e.g. Approved under Rule 3-1b/1/2016). (New)
Clarification of the Term "Playing a Round of Golf" in Rule 3-2b
Rule 3-2b states that 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. For the purposes of applying Rule 3-2b, what constitutes “playing a round of golf?”
The term “playing a round of golf” in Rule 3-2b contemplates a round of golf being played over a golf course which has been specifically prepared for the purpose of playing golf. Therefore, hole-in-one prizes in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a may be accepted by an amateur golfer if the hole-in-one occurs during:
a competition of 6 holes or more
Par 3 course competitions, and
Pitch and putt course competitions.
Prizes in competitions held over less than 6 holes may qualify but prior approval is required from the Governing Body. (Revised)
Clarification of the Term "Incidental to That Round" in the Note to Rule 3-2b
The Note to Rule 3-2b provides that, for a hole-in-one prize in excess of the prize limit to be acceptable, the hole-in-one must be “incidental to that round”. In addition to the contests referenced in the Note, are there any other circumstances where a hole-in-one would not be incidental to the round?
It is not possible to envisage all the scenarios in which the hole-in-one prize would not be incidental to the round, but an example would be where a competition organiser has shortened every hole on the course to a par-3 and there is a prize in excess of the limits offered for a hole-in-one on each hole. (New)
Symbolic prizes are considered to have value only to the recipient. They may be awarded as prizes even if the value exceeds the prize limit in Rule 3-2, provided they are permanently and distinctively engraved. Trophies made of gold, silver, ceramic, glass or the like which are not permanently and distinctively engraved are not considered to be symbolic prizes and are subject to the prize limit in Rule 3-2.Symbolic prizes or awards must not be used as a means to circumvent the Rules.Prizes for utilitarian purposes such as watches, music systems, luggage, golf bags, clothing or other merchandise, are not symbolic prizes even if they are permanently and distinctively engraved or marked.
Clarification of "Total Prizes or Prize Vouchers in Any One Competition or Series of Competitions"
How does the prize limit in Rule 3-2 apply to the total prizes won in a single competition or series of competitions?
The total in a competition would include the primary competition as well as any secondary contests (e.g. longest drive, nearest to the hole, etc.).The prize limit in Rule 3-2a would also apply to the total prizes won in two concurrent competitions (e.g. low gross and low net) even if there is a separate entry fee for each.Each qualifying stage of a tournament constitutes a separate competition provided there is a realistic entry fee at each level.
Two 36-Hole Competitions Also Run as 72-Hole Event; Prizes Individuals May Accept
An event is run over the two days of a weekend. It consists of: (a) a 36-hole individual stroke play competition played at X Golf Club on the Saturday; (b) a 36-hole individual and team stroke play competition played at Y Golf Club on the following day (Sunday); and (c) on the basis of the results, a 72-hole aggregate trophy is awarded to the best individual score among competitors who compete in both (a) and (b).Competitions (a) and (b) are completely separate, with separate entry fees and optional sweepstakes; it is only when a competitor plays in both that he is eligible for (c).Rule 3-2a refers to the retail prize limit "for any one competition or series of competitions". Does this mean that prizes up to the limit can be awarded for each competition?
As (a) and (b) are completely separate competitions played on different courses and with separate entry fees, the maximum retail prize limit applies in each case, e.g. a competitor may win a voucher for the maximum in (a) and the maximum in (b).However, if a competitor in (a) also plays in (b) and thereby qualifies for an award in the aggregate trophy competition (c), he may only accept a prize or voucher for (c) up to the amount which, when added to the value of the prizes he has won for (a) and (b), does not exceed the maximum in Rule 3-2. On the other hand, if he has already won prizes of the maximum in (a) and (b), he can accept a prize of symbolic value in (c) as such prizes (e.g. an engraved silver trophy), are not included in the maximum retail value of prizes.With regard to the individual and team competitions in event (b), the maximum overall prize limit covers both competitions, e.g. if a player wins a prize of retail value of £300 in the individual competition, then the maximum he can receive in the team competition is a prize of retail value of no more than £200, i.e. a total of £500.
Prize for Order of Merit
An "Order of Merit" is based upon a player’s performance in a number of pre-selected, but otherwise separate individual events. In addition to any prizes a player may have won in the events themselves, may he win a prize due to his position in the Order of Merit?
Yes, provided it is a genuine order of merit and not a method of circumventing the Rules.
Policy on Raffles, Prize Draws, etc.
General The Rules of Amateur Status do not apply to a raffle or prize draw run in conjunction with a golf event provided: (a) it is a genuine draw; (b) it is open to a substantial number of people; (c) golf skill is not a factor in being allowed to participate in the draw; and (d) it is not a subterfuge for circumventing the Rules.Therefore, the limit referred to in Rule 3-2a is not applicable to the prizes of such a raffle or prize draw.The following are examples of raffles or prize draws where the Prize Rule applies:Raffle or Prize Draw Limited to Players in Event for Skilled PlayersIf a raffle or prize draw is limited to the players in a golf event where golf skill is a condition of entry, the Rules of Amateur Status apply and an amateur golfer must not accept a prize in such a raffle or draw of retail value in excess of the limit laid down in Rule 3-2a.In addition, when the retail value of such a raffle or draw prize is added to any other prize won by the same person in the same event, this must not total an amount in excess of the limit laid down in Rule 3-2a.Raffle or Prize Draw Limited to Players in a Golf Event Who Achieve Longest Drive, Nearest to the Hole, etc.If a raffle or prize draw is limited to those players in a golf event who achieve a particular feat (such as a longest drive and nearest to the hole), golf skill is an entry requirement.Therefore, the Rules apply and an amateur golfer must not accept a prize in such a raffle or draw of retail value in excess of the limit laid down in Rule 3-2a.In addition, when the retail value of such a raffle or draw prize is added to any other prize won by the same person in the same event, this must not total an amount in excess of the limit laid down in Rule 3-2a.
Policy on Mementoes, Giveaways and Equipment
Irrespective of prize values, a sponsor may give a memento or gift to competitors provided such a memento is offered to all competitors, and is not made as an inducement to play in the competition.
Scholarship as Prize
May an amateur golfer accept a scholarship as a prize?
No, regardless of the amount of the scholarship.
Prize Limit - Foreign Currency
May the Governing Body of golf in any country establish the prize limit in its own country and in its own currency?
Yes, the Governing Body of golf in any country may set the prize limit for its own country, provided that at the time of establishing the limit it does not exceed the local currency equivalent of the limit specified in Rule 3-2a. It is not practicable to realign the local currency equivalent on a day to day basis, however where the local currency equivalent gets significantly out of line with the local currency limit that was initially established, the figure should be reviewed.
Prize Of Invitation To Play In Pro-Am
May an amateur golfer accept an invitation to play in a Pro-Am as a prize in a golf competition?
Rule 3-2 prohibits a player from winning a prize in a competition that exceeds £500. However, as illustrated in the paragraph below, a large degree of uncertainty can be associated with determining a value to assign to an entry into the Pro-Am competition that is won as a prize in a qualifying competition. When considering whether an amateur golfer can accept an entry into a Pro-Am competition as a prize and retain his Amateur Status, the Committee should consider the alternative ways of gaining entry into the Pro-Am.For example, interested amateur golfers can pay the published fee for a spot in the competition, or entry fees may be discounted if multiple entries are purchased by the same individual. In some cases, the entry fee is based on the ranking of the professional that will be playing in the group with the amateur golfer. In other cases, the Pro-Am organisers may offer free entries into the Pro-Am to members of the club where the Pro-Am is conducted in gratitude for the members allowing use of the club for the competition, or for work performed by the members in support of the competition (e.g. chairman of the tournament committee). Finally, in other cases a qualifying competition may be conducted where an entry into the Pro-Am is awarded as a prize.Therefore, the value of the spot in the Pro-Am as the prize to the winner of the qualifying competition is deemed to be equal to the prize limit and acceptance of the prize would not jeopardise the Amateur Status of the winner, provided:
the qualifying competition for the Pro-Am prize is at least 9 holes;
the amount paid by some of the participants in the Pro-Am is less than or equal to the prize limit in Rule 3-2;
the entry fees for the qualifying competition are used only to cover the expenses to conduct the qualifying competition and/or for a recognised charity or similar good cause; and
the winner of the qualifying competition does not exchange the Pro-Am spot for any direct or indirect compensation.
Otherwise, a player who accepts a Pro-Am spot as a prize would be subject to the prize value limitations in Rule 3-2.
Club Permitting Competition for Excessive Prizes
What action could be taken by a golf union or association in a case where a Club or Society is aware of, but makes no effort to discourage, competition for an excessive prize?
Any sanctions which might be taken will depend on the constitution of the relevant golf union or association. For example, a constitution may state that Clubs which do not enforce the Rules are subject to disaffiliation. Alternative sanctions may include refusal of entries from members of that Club for the relevant golf union or association events and removal of recognition of their handicaps.
Conditions Under Which Expenses-Paid Golf Trip as Prize Permissible
Rule 4-1 provides that an amateur golfer may not receive expenses to play in a golf competition. Under what circumstances may an amateur golfer accept an expenses-paid golf trip as a prize?
A prize of an expenses-paid golf trip is acceptable provided:
the prize is not in the form of cash
the prize does not have a retail value in excess of the prize limit, and
the golf trip does not form part of a golf competition, including a subsequent stage of the same event.
However, where applicable, it is permissible for an amateur golfer to accept expenses to play in a subsequent stage of the same event, provided the competition has been approved under Rule 4-2g - sponsored handicap competitions. (Revised)
Whether "Retail Value" Includes Discount Prices
The sponsor of a Pro-Am, who is a dealer in electrical goods, wishes to offer the best amateur golfer a prize of a television. The television is available to the dealer at below the limit laid down in Rule 3-2a, but he would normally sell it at more than the prize limit. Is this permissible?
No. The definition of "retail value" of a prize is "the price at which the prize is generally available from a retail source at the time of the award." This includes discount sources, but the merchandise must be available over a reasonable period of time, from a number of outlets, be publicly advertised and available to everyone. Specially discounted or short term offers, or those restricted to certain customers, do not fall within this definition.
Acceptance of Non-Conforming Prize in Relative's Name
May the winner of a non-conforming prize accept it in the name of a relative and therefore not forfeit his amateur status?
Policy on Prize Vouchers
The guidelines on prize vouchers are as follows:
The organising committee is strongly encouraged to define accurately the purpose for which the voucher may be used e.g. purchase of goods in a professional’s shop or sporting goods shop, any goods and services from the Club or from any retail or food and beverage source.
A voucher may be credited to a Club account and be used for items such as a bar bill, Club subscription, payment of entry fees, and other goods and services at the Club, e.g. vouchers may be applied toward use of a practice area, tuition, use of a golf cart, green fees and food and beverages.
When making payment in respect of the voucher, it is the duty of the organising committee to satisfy itself that the conditions of the voucher have been complied with and that it has been redeemed for the respective goods and/or services.
If the value of the voucher, is, say £100, the organising committee may, at its discretion, issue two vouchers for £50, four vouchers for £25 etc., if it considers that these would be simpler to administer.
An amateur golfer may submit a voucher to his national, regional, state or county golf union or association and thereafter be reimbursed from the value of the voucher for expenses incurred in competing in a golf competition. Therefore, following the production of receipts, an amateur golfer could be reimbursed for expenses such as travel and accommodation costs, entry fees, etc. which relate directly to participating in the competition concerned.
Policy on Gift Cards
Gift cards that can be exchanged for products and services in specific retail outlets are permissible as prizes, provided the retail value does not exceed the limit in Rule 3-2a.This includes gift cards that can be used in the same way as a credit card to purchase retail items or services from any unspecified retail outlet where that type of card is accepted.However, gift cards and debit cards that are designed to be redeemable for cash only or can be used to withdraw cash from a bank or automated cash machine are deemed to be cash prizes. A player would be in breach of Rule 3-1a if he played for this type of cash gift or debit card. See also Decision 3-1a/5 and Decision 3-1a/6. (New)
Prize of Year's Subscription to Golf Club
May an amateur golfer accept as a prize a year’s subscription to a golf Club?
Yes, provided the value of the subscription is less than the prize limit (Rule 3-2a).
Prizes Awarded for Golf Played on Video Games
Do the Rules of Amateur Status in general and Rule 3-2 in particular apply to competitions conducted using golf video games that do not use a golf club and ball?
No. The Rules of Amateur Status do not apply to activities that do not involve the use of both a golf club and ball even though they may involve some golf skill (e.g., swinging a device to simulate a golf swing).
Participation in Event with Improper Prize
Participants in nearest to the hole and long drive contests that offer non-conforming prizes (including cash prizes) are not in breach of the Rules unless they accept such prizes, because such contests are not matches, competitions or exhibitions — see Rule 3-1.Participants in an event (e.g. an 18 or 36 hole competition) which offers a non-conforming prize (other than a cash prize), are not in breach of the Rules unless they accept such a prize.
Non-Conforming Prize Donated to Charity by Sponsor
If an amateur golfer wins a prize that does not conform to Rule 3-2, he may suggest that the competition organiser or the sponsor donates it to a recognised charity. The competition organiser or the sponsor must be under no obligation to do so, and if he does, the amateur golfer must not benefit, directly or indirectly, from the donation.
Prize for Quiz Not Involving Playing Golf
An amateur golfer wins a golf quiz, which does not involve playing golf. Does the prize limit referred to in Rule 3-2 apply to a quiz of this kind?
No. The Rules do not apply to such a quiz.
Competitions Not Normally Encountered on a Golf Course
Note 1 to Rule 3-2a provides that the prize limits (and by implication the Rules in general) apply to any form of golf competition on a golf course, driving range or golf simulator. Are there any competitions where entrants use golf clubs and balls where the Rules of Amateur Status do not apply?
Yes. The Rules do not apply to a challenge that is not normally encountered on a golf course provided that challenge is being staged in conjunction with an event where golf is not the major factor in attracting people to the event as a whole. For example, if the challenge involves pitching a ball into a bucket or striking a moving target and it is being staged at a carnival or fund-raising event, the Rules of Amateur Status would not apply. However, if the same challenge was being held at a golf equipment exhibition, the Rules of Amateur Status would apply. (Revised)
Definition of "Golf Course"
With regards to Decision 3-2a/6 and the application of the Rules, what constitutes a “golf course”?
Although the term “golf course” is not defined, it is generally accepted to be an area of ground which has been specifically prepared for the purpose of playing golf, e.g. an 18-hole or 9-hole golf course, a par-3 course, or pitch and putt course. If a sports stadium has golf holes temporarily laid out with it (i.e. with tees, greens, bunkers, etc.) this would be, for the purposes of applying the Rules, considered a “golf course”. (Revised)
Award of Prize to Club by Commercial Sponsor
Is it permissible for a company sponsoring an event to award a prize to the Club of the amateur golfer winning the event, in addition to the individual prize won by the amateur golfer under Rule 3-2?
A Club may accept a prize based on the performance of its members in a golf competition provided it is not a cash prize and the total value of the prizes accepted by both the player and the Club is not greater than the prize limit laid down in Rule 3-2.
Maximum Permitted Prize in Foursome, Four-Ball or Team Competition
Does the prize limit in Rule 3-2 apply to each individual player in a foursome, four-ball or team competition or to the partnership or team as a whole?
Each individual player may accept a prize of retail value up to the maximum as laid down in Rule 3-2a. For example, in an 18-hole team competition each player in a four-man team may accept a prize of retail value not exceeding the prize limit. However, the players must not jointly accept a prize of a retail value in excess of the prize limit.
Insurance Policy for Hole-In-One
May an amateur golfer insure himself against achieving a hole-in-one?
May a Club organise a hole-in-one sweepstake in conjunction with its competitions with the money collected accumulating from one competition to the next until a participant achieves a hole-in-one?
Player Accepts Expenses-Paid Trip to a Golf Competition as a Prize for a Hole-in-One
Generally, an amateur golfer cannot accept a prize of an expenses-paid trip to compete in a golf competition, including a subsequent stage of the same event (see Decision 3-2a/19). In light of this, is it permissible for an amateur to accept such an expenses-paid trip as a prize for a hole-in-one?
Yes, if the prize is awarded as a result of a hole-in-one made while playing a round of golf, the provisions of Rule 3-2b override the limitations in Decision 3-2a/19. However, the provisions of Rule 3-2a would apply to the total prizes, excluding hole-in-one prizes, won in the original and subsequent competitions. (New)
Examples of Testimonial Awards
Testimonial awards relate to notable performances or contributions to golf, as distinguished from tournament prizes.It would be permissible, for example, for a state or county union or association to give an award of retail value up to the prize limit to its Golfer of the Year and for the national golf union or association to do the same. See also Decision 3-2a/12.
Prizes and Informal Gambling
An amateur golfer is limited to the prizes he can win as prescribed in Rule 3. However, competition prizes are not to be confused with informal gambling, such as sweepstakes. Provided informal gambling is consistent with the principles in the Policy on Gambling (see Appendix), it is permitted to award relatively small cash prizes for sweepstakes and the like, as this is incidental to the golf competition and the competition's actual prizes.
Salesman of Golf Equipment Accepts Expenses to Play in Amateur Events
May a salesman of golf equipment accept expenses from his employers while playing in important amateur events, when he is also promoting the sale of golf merchandise?
No. It is permissible for an amateur golfer to play in a golf competition while on a business trip with expenses paid provided that the golf part of the expenses is borne personally and is not charged to business. Further, the business involved must be actual and substantial, and not merely a subterfuge for legitimising expenses when the primary purpose is a golf competition. (Formerly 4-1/2)
Loan of Motor Car by Sponsor
May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation accept the loan of a motor car for travel to a golf competition?
Yes, provided the car on loan is not from a sponsor organising an event and thereby an inducement to compete in the event (Rule 6-3) and there is no advertising involved (Rule 6-2). (Formerly 4-1/3)
Expenses Organised or Covered by Competition Sponsor
A competition organiser or sponsor may assist with the following expenses, provided the expenses are reasonable and the offer is made to all competitors:
Caddie fees when the caddies are provided through the host club.
In all other cases, any expenses must be approved and paid in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4-2c. (Formerly 4-1/4)
Approval of Expenses to Play in Pro-Am Competitions
If reduced entry fees are offered to certain participants in a Pro-Am by a competition organiser or sponsor, the reduction in the entry fee must be approved in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4-2c. As the participants in a Pro-Am may come from several golf associations, may the organiser have the reduction in the entry fee approved by the national, regional, state or county golf union or association where the competition is to be played?
Yes, provided the entry fees for the Pro-Am are used for the expenses of running the competition and/or donated to a recognised charity or similar good cause and the national, regional, state or county golf union or association where the competition is to be played determines that strict adherence to the provisions of Rule 4-2c would place an inordinate burden on the competition organiser or sponsor. (Formerly 4-1/5)
Family Member of Player Accepts Money from Outside Source to Pay Player's Competition Expenses
May a family member or legal guardian of a player accept money from an outside source to pay the player’s competition expenses?
No. However, the money may be provided if the competition expenses are approved and paid in accordance with Rule 4-2c, otherwise the player would be in breach of Rule 4-1. A family member or legal guardian must pay for a player’s competition expenses from his own resources. Examples of unacceptable outside sources include, but are not limited to, private individuals, companies, sports agents and equipment manufacturers.
Junior Golfer Accepting Expenses from Sponsor for Golf Visit to Another Country
A junior golfer (see Definition) plans to visit another country for three months during the winter to practise and receive coaching from a prominent professional and to participate in a competition limited to junior golfers. May he receive financial assistance towards his expenses from a sponsor?
Yes. He may receive financial assistance towards the practice and coaching aspect of the trip as this does not involve a golf competition or exhibition. In addition, as the golf competition is limited exclusively to junior golfers he may receive competition expenses under Rule 4-2b. However, the golfer may not advertise the fact that he is receiving such assistance – see Rule 6-2.
Expenses for Persons Who Need to Accompany Amateur Golfers
Parents, legal guardians, siblings or other appropriate people may accept reasonable expenses from an outside source to accompany a junior golfer to a golf competition, subject to the provisions of Rule 4-2, if applicable. This permission also extends to those accompanying a non-junior golfer when that golfer needs to be accompanied. (Revised)
Invitation to National Amateur Championship with Competition Expenses Paid
May a Golf Club, staging a National Amateur Championship, pay the travel and hotel expenses of certain foreign entrants?
No. The payment of such competition expenses would only be permissible if approved by and paid through the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association or, subject to the approval of the player’s national golf union or association, paid by the body controlling golf in the territory in which he is competing.
Approach to Sponsor by Amateur Golfer
May an amateur golfer approach a sponsor to obtain funds to pay for his competition expenses to compete in a golf competition?
Yes, subject to the following provisios:(a) The player may approach a sponsor to obtain funds before or after the expenses to compete in the competition have been approved by his national, regional, state or county golf union or association, but no money must pass between the sponsor and the player;(b) The player does not enter any written or verbal contract and/or agreement with the sponsor unless the contract and/or agreement is solely in relation to the golfer’s future as a professional golfer (see Rule 2-2b);(c) These funds may only be disbursed by the national, regional, state or county golf union or association (Rule 4-2c); and(d) The player does not lend his name or likeness to promote or advertise the sponsor (Rule 6-2).
Competition Expenses of Junior Golfers to Non-Junior Events
May a fund be created by friends of a junior golfer to pay the competition expenses of the junior golfer to take part in a competition not limited exclusively to junior golfers in the player’s own country?
Yes, provided the funds are lodged with and disbursed by the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association.
Approval and Payment of Competition Expenses for International Individual Events
In the case of an international event, such as the European Amateur Championship, who can approve and pay an amateur golfer’s competition expenses?
Where a competition is to take place in a country other than the amateur golfer’s home country, the expenses must be approved by and paid through the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association or, subject to the approval of the player’s national golf union or association, paid by the body controlling golf in the territory in which he is competing. However, in the case of an international event such as the European Amateur Championship, the body staging the event (i.e. the European Golf Association) may also approve and pay the player’s competition expenses.
Payment of Competition Expenses in Kind
If an airline donates air tickets (or a hotel donates free accommodation) could such donations be used to assist with the payment of a player’s competition expenses under Rule 4-2c?
Yes. Expenses do not have to be monetary and may be accepted in kind provided the provisions of Rule 4-2c are applied.
Payment of Competition Expenses by University or College
May a university or college pay the competition expenses of an amateur golfer who is a member of the university or college team to compete in individual events?
No. If an amateur golfer either received the expenses directly from the university or college or the university or college paid the expenses on his behalf, the amateur golfer would be in breach of Rule 4-2c. However, the university or college may fund the expenses provided they are approved and paid through the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association.
Expenses Limited to Specific Number of Competitive Days
Rule 4-2c provides that a Governing Body “may limit the receipt of expenses to a specific number of competitive days in any one calendar year”. Is a Governing Body under an obligation to lay down such limits?
No. The intent of the Rules is to restrict an amateur golfer to accepting competition expenses only for the number of days specified by the Governing Body, but the Governing Body is under no obligation to impose such a restriction.
Meaning of "Other Similar Source"
The Exceptions to Rule 4-2c and Rule 4-3 provide that an amateur golfer must not accept expenses provided by a professional agent “or other similar source as may be determined by the Governing Body.” What is meant by “other similar source”?
The provisions of the latter part of the Exception are purposely broad so as to allow each Governing Body to determine what it believes to be an inappropriate source of expenses because of concern for indirect sponsorship of a specific individual. In particular, care should be taken when expenses are received by an individual (as opposed to a team) from a source which historically has used golf as a medium to advertise or promote its goods or services. For example, if an equipment manufacturer that has traditionally used players to promote its products were to pay the expenses of a prominent amateur golfer, there would be concern whether there is an indirect agreement between the manufacturer and player, and the burden of proof to the contrary would rest with the player.
Approval of Competition Expenses for Disabled Amateur Golfers
May a Governing Body permit an organisation of disabled golfers to approve and pay competition expenses on behalf of its members and otherwise act in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4-2c?
Yes. Any such organisation should be officially registered and hold charitable status, or the equivalent, and be able to provide an annual statement of the expenses administered to the Governing Body on request to do so.A disabled golfer may have his competition expenses administered by such an organisation irrespective of whether the competition in which he is participating is restricted to disabled golfers or not.
Meaning of "Similar Body" in Rule 4-2d
What is meant by “similar body” in Rule 4-2d?
It refers to a recognised group of people in the game of golf such as a University team or a Society of long standing.The Governing Body should decide within its own territory if a particular body is a “similar body” within the meaning of this Rule.
Clarification of "Team Competition"
What is meant by “team competition” in Rule 4-2d?
In order for a competition to be considered a “team competition” and the provisions of Rule 4-2d to apply, the following criteria must be met:(a) The competition must be between or among teams representing the bodies detailed in Rule 4-2d.(b) If there is a concurrent individual competition this must be incidental to the team competition.(c) At least two players must be nominated for each team. However, in cases where the Rules of Golf allow a single player to represent his side (e.g. in a four-ball match), he may do so if his partner is unable to compete for reasons such as injury.
Meaning of "Union", "Association" and "Golf Club"
Within the context of Rule 4-2d, what is meant by the terms “union”, “association” and “golf club”?
A “union” or “association” is an organisation of golf clubs operated under a constitution or bye-laws and formed for the purpose of conducting competitions and otherwise promoting the development and best interests of and conserving the true spirit of the game of golf in a country, region, state or county.A “golf club” is an organisation of individual golfers that operates under a constitution or bye-laws. The members must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other.
Sponsorship of International Team Match
Is it permissible for a company to sponsor an international team match by paying the travel and hotel expenses of the visiting team?
Under Rule 4-2d a player representing his country in a team match can only have his expenses paid either by the body he represents or the body controlling golf in the territory he is visiting. Therefore, provided the company donates the funds in the first instance to either the host or the visiting national golf union or association, the national golf union or association could then cover the expenses of the members of the team.
Sponsored Club Team Competition with Final Abroad
A sponsor wishes to organise a competition in which teams from various Clubs enter and on a knock-out basis eventually arrive with two teams as winners. These two teams would go abroad for one week to play the final with travelling and accommodation expenses for the winning teams being paid by the sponsor. Is this permissible?
It is not permitted for a sponsor to pay the expenses of members of a Club team under Rule 4-2d to take part in a team competition, nor may the sponsor offer as a prize an expenses paid trip. Such expenses can only be paid by the body the players represent, in this case, their Club.However, under Rule 4-2g, if the event is a handicap event it would be permissible for the sponsor to pay the competitor’s travel and accommodation expenses, provided the approval of the Governing Bodies have first been obtained, as prescribed in Rule 4-2g(ii).
Payment of Expenses to Club Teams at Training Camps
May a Club or a national, regional, state or county golf union or association pay the expenses of its team at a training camp?
Yes (see Rule 4-2d). It is important that the camp is genuine preparation for team events and that the expenses paid do not exceed the actual expenses incurred. In particular, compensation for loss of earnings must not be paid.
Payment of Substitute Teacher When Representing Regional or County Golf Union or Association
A teacher, who plays amateur golf for his regional or county golf union or association, has to find a substitute teacher and pay his salary if the match is during term time.May the regional or county golf union or association pay the salary of the substitute teacher either in full or make a contribution towards it?
No. Under Rule 4-2d the regional or county golf union or association may pay reasonable expenses to the teacher when representing his region or in team matches, but it would not be in order to compensate the amateur golfer for the expense of the substitute teacher, or to pay the substitute teacher directly. Such an outlay is not considered competition expenses.
Guidelines for Organisers and Commercial Sponsors of Amateur Golf Events; Whether Expenses May be Paid
Under Rule 4-1, 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 circumstances (see Rule 4-2).Rule 4-2g permits an amateur golfer to accept expenses, not exceeding those actually incurred, to take part in a handicap individual or handicap team event, provided the event has received the necessary annual approval.The organiser or sponsor must obtain the approval of the event in advance from the Governing Body in the country where the qualifying events are to be played. The Governing Body may require the submission of the event’s proposed conditions of competition (including the venue of the final) and an estimate of the level of expenses to be paid by a sponsor on behalf of amateur golfers competing in the event. The Governing Body may restrict all stages of the event to its own country.If the final is to be played elsewhere, it is the responsibility of the Governing Body where the qualifying events are taking place to seek the approval of the Governing Body where the final of the event is to be played.It is a matter for the appropriate Committee of the Governing Body to decide whether or not a particular event qualifies for approval under Rule 4-2g and the Governing Body has considerable discretion in this respect. However, an event can only be approved if the following requirements are met:1. It must be a handicap individual or a handicap team event where the handicaps are applied. Events designed primarily for low handicap players where gross scores count, do not qualify;2. The event must have a sponsor who financially supports the event for charitable or promotional reasons;3. If an entry fee is to be paid, the event must not be approved if it is entirely financially supported by these fees;4. All prizes must conform with Rule 3 and in particular, the total prizes received by any one person throughout the event must not exceed the limit laid down in Rule 3-2 as determined by the Governing Body in the country concerned; and5. The level of expenses must be considered ‘reasonable’. There are no specific limits referred to in the Rules, but a Governing Body may deny approval on the grounds that the ‘level of expenses’ or the number of days on which expenses are covered are excessively high.All events approved under Rule 4-2g should be given a reference number (e.g. “Approved for the payment of expenses Rule 4-2g/01/2012”), which should be included on all of the event’s advertising literature and entry forms.
Rule 4-3 allows an amateur golfer to accept financial assistance for general golf-related expenses. What golf-related expenses may be funded?
Although not an exhaustive list, the following golf-related expenses may be funded in reasonable amounts:
coaching costs, including instructional fees and related travel and living expenses (this would also include warm weather coaching) for individual lessons, a series of lessons or at an academy for a short period of time (e.g., week);
golf equipment (including any clothing worn on a golf course);
golf club subscriptions;
medical treatment (e.g., physiotherapy) for conditions specifically affecting the playing of golf; and
costs incurred for fitness training or sports psychology. (Revised)
Meaning of "Reasonable Subsistence Expenses"
According to Rule 4-4, an amateur golfer is allowed to receive “reasonable subsistence expenses.” What is meant by “reasonable subsistence expenses?”
“Reasonable subsistence expenses” should be determined in the context of the entire wording of Rule 4-4, including the socio-economic conditions of the region and of the individual. Subsistence expenses must not be excessive, must not surpass actual expenses incurred and should assist with, rather than cover all, general living costs.Subsistence expenses are intended to cover the basic essentials – food, clothing and shelter, together with any essential travel costs. - Subsistence expenses should not provide an amateur golfer with a luxurious standard of living or be a substitute for a working salary. (Revised)
Meaning of "Applicable Socio-Economic Conditions"
According to Rule 4-4, the national golf union or association should consider, among other factors, the “applicable socio-economic conditions” before deciding whether it is necessary and/or appropriate for an amateur golfer to receive subsistence expenses. How should a national golf union or association assess the applicable socio-economic conditions?
As stated in Decision 4-4/1, the socio-economic conditions of both the region and of the individual should be determined. The national golf union or association, which has sole discretion to approve subsistence expenses, should consider the level of subsistence costs which would be reasonable for the amateur golfer to incur in the region in which he resides or to which he has travelled. It should then consider the extent to which the amateur golfer might reasonably be expected to meet those costs from his own resources. In the case of a junior golfer, consideration of the resources of his immediate family would be appropriate. (Revised)
Clarification of "Competition Expenses"
Competition expenses are those expenses wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of playing in a golf competition or exhibition. The following are some examples of a player’s competition expenses:1. Transportation / travel costs.2. Accommodation / lodging.3. Meals / refreshments.4. Entry fees.5. Caddie / cart and practice fees.
Meaning of "Junior Golfer"
With regard to Rule 4-2b, what is meant by the term “junior golfer”?
The definition of junior golfer states that a “junior golfer” is “an amateur golfer who has not reached a specified age as determined by the Governing Body.” A Governing Body is strongly encouraged to issue guidelines as to who would be considered a junior golfer in its jurisdiction.Note: In Great Britain and Ireland, an amateur golfer is considered to be a junior golfer if he has not reached his 18th birthday in the calendar year prior to the event.
Coaching at Golf Centre Free of Charge
An amateur golfer gives a series of basic lessons in playing golf at a golf centre. He is not an employee of the centre and he does not receive any payment or compensation. Is he in breach of Rule 5-1?
No. He is not in breach of Rule 5-1 because he has not accepted any payment or compensation, either directly or indirectly, from anyone for giving golf instruction at the golf centre.
Golf Manager or Golf Shop Assistant Giving Instruction
An employee of a Golf Club, such as a Club Manager or golf shop assistant, is occasionally asked to give golf instruction but is not specifically compensated for this service. Is this permissible under the Rules?
No. An employee of a Golf Club cannot give instruction as a requirement of his employment. The absence of any direct payment for the golf instruction or the proportion of time actually spent on golf instruction is irrelevant.
Shop Assistant's Duties Include Demonstration of Golf Swing
A teaching professional wishes to take on a shop assistant who, in addition to his duties, will travel with the professional and who, under guidance, will demonstrate the correct mechanics of the golf swing. Is this permissible under the Rules?
No. The assistant’s salaried duties are not those of a shop assistant, but those of a teaching assistant. It would constitute a breach of Rule 5-1.The absence of any direct payment for golf instruction or the proportion of the time actually spent on golf instruction is irrelevant.
Donation to Charity at Suggestion of Instructor
May an amateur golfer who has given golf instruction on a voluntary basis suggest to his pupils that they make a donation to a recognised charity after each lesson or coaching session?
Yes, provided pupils are under no obligation to do so and the amateur golfer does not benefit, directly or indirectly, from the donation.
Acceptance of Playing or Practice Privileges in Exchange for Giving Golf Instruction
May an amateur golfer accept playing or practice privileges at a Golf Club or golf course in exchange for giving golf instruction?
No. The acceptance of such privileges in return for giving golf instruction would constitute a breach of Rule 5-1.
Teaching Golf Instruction
May an amateur golfer be employed to teach golf instruction to students e.g. PGA trainees, volunteers etc?
No. Teaching others how to give golf instruction would constitute a breach of Rule 5-1.
Instruction Given by Teacher Outside Normal Duties
May a full-time teacher in a school or other educational institution, who is employed by an Education Authority, teach golf at classes for which he receives a separate payment?
Yes, provided:(a) The classes are held at the school, college or other Education Authority by whom the teacher is employed, and not any other Authority. (b) Only pupils or students within the jurisdiction of this particular Education Authority may be taught and not pupils or students under another Authority. (c) Payment to the teacher shall be made by the Education Authority concerned, and not by the pupils/students themselves. (d) The total time devoted to golf instruction during a year comprises less than 50% of the time spent during the year in the performance of all duties in the school, college or other Education Authority.Note: A counsellor at a camp may give instruction in golf to those in his charge, subject to similar provisos (see Decision 5-2a/3).
Meaning of "Educational Institution or System" and "Camp or Similar Organised Programme"
Within the context of Rule 5-2a, what is meant by the terms “educational institution or system” and “camp or other similar organised programme”?
An “educational institution or system” may be a school, college or university, or a similar body.A “camp or other similar organised programme” may be a day or overnight camp in which there may or may not be activities other than golf included in the programme, such as a summer camp organised for young people.
Instruction at Summer Camp
May a student be employed by an educational establishment at a summer camp and give golf instruction for which payment is received?
Yes. During a summer camp, golf instruction may be given by a student who is an employee or counsellor of an educational institution or system to those in his charge, provided that the total time devoted to golf instruction comprises less than 50% of the time spent in the performance of all duties, as such an employee or counsellor.
Payment for Golf Instruction as Part of Approved Programme
Rule 5-2b is written in deliberately broad terms to enable it to apply to a variety of coaching programmes, which may be appropriate in different countries.The intention of the Rule is to encourage the involvement of volunteers with programmes aimed at introducing young people to golf, with such volunteers providing support to qualified members of a Professional Golfers’ Association. However, the Rule is not limited in its application to apply only to the coaching of junior golfers and may be applied by a Governing Body to programmes aimed at developing the game at all levels. It is considered reasonable to compensate volunteers for their time in coaching as part of such a programme.It is a condition of Rule 5-2b that the programme must be approved in advance by the Governing Body thereby ensuring that the programme is co-ordinated or sanctioned appropriately.It is a matter for the appropriate Committee of the Governing Body to decide whether a particular programme qualifies for approval under Rule 5-2b and the Governing Body may set certain criteria for a programme to follow in order for it to be approved. For example, it may limit the number of hours that an amateur golfer may receive payment or compensation for coaching or it may limit the amount payable in a given period.The following matters must be considered in determining guidelines for the approval of such programmes by a Governing Body:(a) The national Professional Golfers’ Association in the country concerned should be consulted and the programme should be co-ordinated between the Governing Body and the national PGA. (b) An age limit may be applied to those receiving coaching. However, in countries where golf is a relatively new sport or the number of qualified PGA professionals is limited, it may not be appropriate to apply an age limit. (c) A reasonable limit should be put on the length of time an amateur golfer may coach as part of an approved programme e.g. the number of hours in any week, month or year, and/or a reasonable limit should be put on the amount of remuneration paid to an amateur golfer e.g. the maximum amount in any week, month or year. (d) A programme’s approval should be reviewed annually by the Governing Body.An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation must not lend his name or likeness to the promotion or advertisement of the programme (Rule 6-2).
Conditions Under Which Well-Known Amateur May Write Instructional Articles for No Compensation
Rule 5-3 states that an amateur golfer may receive payment or compensation for instruction in writing, provided his ability as a golfer was not a major factor in the commission or sale of his work. It is clear that if a well-known amateur golfer writes instructional articles he must not receive any payment or compensation for doing so. However, Rule 6-2 states that an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation may not receive a personal benefit from the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything or allow his name or likeness to be used by a third party for those purposes. May a well-known amateur golfer write instructional articles without payment or compensation without breaching Rule 6-2?
The answer depends on the circumstances. A well-known amateur golfer considering such an action should consult his Governing Body prior to the publication of such an article.Examples of actions which constitute a breach of Rules 5 and 6-2 are:
writing instructional articles or tips in any promotional material (including newsletters to clients) for a player’s firm or any other business; and
writing a series of instructional articles for a publication.
Examples of actions which do not constitute a breach of Rules 5 and 6-2 are:
writing a single instructional article for a publication with which the player has no connection; and
writing an instructional pamphlet for free distribution (e.g. for junior clinics and programmes).
Writing Articles to Advertise Own Business
An amateur golfer of golf skill and reputation has been asked to write a series of articles for a magazine concerning his business experiences. It is proposed to publish a photograph of the golfer in the articles. Would this be in breach of Rule 6-2?
The writing of such articles is not, in itself, a breach of the Rules. However, it would be contrary to the Rules if an amateur golfer were to use his golf skill or reputation to advertise his business. If an amateur golfer wishes to write such articles, reference to his skill as a golfer must be omitted and any photograph included in the article must not be of him as a golfer.
Guidelines for Issue of Free Equipment to Amateur Golfers
Note 1 to Rule 6-2 permits an amateur golfer to accept free equipment. However, a Governing Body might consider issuing guidelines to manufacturers on the quantity of equipment that may be provided. For example, in any one year, a Governing Body may request that an amateur golfer should not receive in excess of the following:1. 24 dozen golf balls. 2. 1 set of golf clubs. 3. 1 pair of golf shoes.4. 1 set of waterproofs / rain suit.Note: Any restriction placed on the receipt of golf equipment should only cover the issue of golf equipment free of charge directly to individual amateur golfers and should not cover any issue to golf unions or associations for their teams.
Gift of Golf Clubs and Clothing to Encourage Amateur Golfer
A company wishes to assist an amateur golfer of golf skill and reputation in the development of his golf. It is proposed to present him with a set of golf clubs and golf clothing. Is this permissible?
Yes, provided the golfer does not advertise the fact that the company has given him the equipment and clothing and there is no reference to the company on the equipment or clothing (other than the standard logo of the company if the company is the manufacturer of the equipment or clothing).
Meaning of "Equipment"
What is meant by the term “equipment” in Note 1 to Rule 6-2?
Equipment is considered to be anything which may be reasonably purchased from a golf professional’s shop or golf store.
Policy on Names on Golf Equipment and Clothing
May a player of golf skill or reputation arrange for his own name to appear on his golf equipment, clothing or shoes, in addition to the name and/or logo of the manufacturer of the equipment, clothing or shoes?
Yes. The golf equipment, clothing or shoes must be of the type that is normally available at a retail source and may bear only the name and/or logo of the manufacturer in addition to the name of the player.Furthermore, it is permissible for a golf bag, umbrella, golf shoes or clothing of a player representing an educational institution to bear, in addition to the manufacturer’s name and/or logo, the player’s name and the name and/or logo of the educational institution.Note: The player’s name must not appear more than once on each item of equipment or clothing or on each shoe. With regard to golf bags and umbrellas, the name must not exceed a perimeter measurement of 500 mm or 20 inches. With regard to clothing and shoes, the name on each garment or shoe must not exceed a perimeter measurement of 220 mm or 9 inches (see Decision 6-2/15).
Commercial Logos on Golf Bags
Is it permissible for an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation to carry a golf bag with a commercial logo on it?
Generally, a golfer of golf skill or reputation would be in breach of the Rules if he used a golf bag with a commercial logo on it (Rule 6-2). However, in the following specific circumstances there would be no breach of the Rules:1. The bag was purchased with the logo as an intrinsic part of the bag (e.g. the manufacturer’s name); or 2. The bag was issued to him as a member of a team (see Decision 6-2/15).
Commercial Sponsorship of Amateur Golf – Policy on Publicity for Sponsors
In general, an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation is not permitted to have the name and/or a logo of a sponsor on any of his golf equipment or clothing unless the sponsor is the manufacturer of the golf equipment or clothing; with members of a team or squad the situation is somewhat different and is detailed below.National, regional, state, county golf unions or associations and Clubs sometimes accept commercial sponsorship for international, inter-club or similar important events for teams, squads or individuals. To what extent may commercial sponsors receive publicity, both on and off the course?
1. Golf Bags(a) Individuals The name of a commercial sponsor must not appear anywhere on a golf bag (unless the sponsor is also the manufacturer). A golf bag may bear both the player’s name and/or logo of the manufacturer - see Decision 6-2/13.(b) Teams / Squads Where a national, regional, state, county or Club team or squad is sponsored, the members of the team or squad may have on their golf bags the name and/or emblem of the team or squad and the name and/or logo of either or both the sponsor and the bag manufacturer. However, the golf bag must be of the type that is normally available at a retail source and must not bear both the player’s name and/or logo of a sponsor and/or manufacturer (other than the bag manufacturer - see Decision 6-2/13).Note: If the sponsor is not the bag manufacturer, the sponsor’s name and/or logo must not appear more than once on the bag and must not exceed a perimeter measurement of 500 mm or 20 inches.(c) Prizes The sponsor’s name and/or logo should not appear on a golf bag presented as a prize in a sponsored event unless the sponsor is also the bag manufacturer.2. Luggage Carried by Teams / Squads When off the course, e.g. in transit, the name and/or logo of the team or squad sponsor and the name and/or logo of the team or squad may appear on luggage belonging to a team member, e.g. over-bag, hold-all, etc. Such luggage bearing the name and/or logo of the sponsor may bear the name of the player in small letters for identification purposes only (or it may appear on the bag tag). This is not applicable to individual events.3. Golf Clothing (including golf shoes and head gear)(a) Individuals Clothing (including golf shoes and head gear) issued by a commercial sponsor to individuals may only bear the small name and/or logo of the clothing (or golf shoes / head gear) manufacturer and the event concerned (which may or may not include the name and/or logo of the sponsor of the event). Clothing (including golf shoes and head gear) supplied by the manufacturer of that clothing, shoes or head gear may bear both the player’s name and the name and/or logo of the manufacturer, provided the name or logo of any sponsor (including the sponsor of the event) is not displayed.If the clothing, golf shoes or head gear is issued by a sponsor to individuals in an event, it must be available to all and not just selected players.Note: The player’s name must not appear more than once on each shoe or each garment and must not exceed a perimeter measurement of 220 mm or 9 inches (see Decision 6-2/13).(b) Teams / Squads Where a national, regional, state, county or Club team or squad is sponsored the members of the team or squad may have on their uniforms the name and/or logo of the team or squad and the small name and/or logo of either or both the sponsor and the manufacturer. However, the clothing, golf shoes or head gear must be of the type that is normally available at a retail source and must not bear both the player’s name and the name and/or logo of a sponsor and/or manufacturer (other than the clothing, shoes or head gear manufacturer – see Decision 6-2/13).Note: A sponsor’s name and/or logo must not exceed a perimeter measurement of 220 mm or 9 inches. Each garment may have multiple sponsors’ names and/or logos, provided the total perimeter measurement of all names and/or logos does not exceed 220 mm or 9 inches.4. Umbrellas An individual player may carry an umbrella bearing the name of a commercial firm, including that of either a team or an event sponsor or a manufacturer, but such name must not be linked with a particular squad, team or individual, e.g. the name of a commercial firm may appear on the umbrella but the words “The GB and I Team flies/uses ...............................” must not appear. The name of an individual player must not appear on an umbrella bearing the name of a commercial firm unless the firm concerned is the actual manufacturer of the umbrella.5. Caddie Bibs Caddie bibs bearing the name and/or logo of a sponsor may not be worn by those caddying for a single team, squad or player; a sponsor’s name and/or logo may appear on bibs made available by the tournament sponsor to the caddies of all the players.6. Acknowledgements and Publicity(a) Team, Squad and Individual Events Commercial sponsors may receive acknowledgements through the press, official programmes, etc. and their names or emblems may appear on banners, flags, tee-markers and scoreboards if approved by the organisation staging the event.(b) Team / Squad Events Only When a team or squad event is commercially sponsored, an acknowledgement to the team sponsor may be published along the following lines:“Thanks to the generosity of .......................................... (commercial sponsors) the .......................................... Golf Union/Association is sending a team to .......................................... to take part in the World Amateur Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy.”7. Exhibition Tents Sponsors may have a tent etc. at the course displaying their business.8. Photographs Photographs may not be published by commercial sponsors with the names of individual team or squad members or competitors for advertising or promotional purposes, but normal coverage by the press or other media cannot be prevented.9. Hospitality Sponsors may give hospitality (i.e. meals and drinks, but not accommodation) to all competitors at the course.
Clothing or Equipment Supplied for Team/Squad Used in Individual Event
May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation wear, during an individual event, a garment bearing a sponsor’s logo which was issued to him as a member of a national, regional, state, county or Club team or squad or use a golf bag which bears the name of the team or squad sponsor?
Vehicle with Advertising Slogan Used by Amateur Golfers Representing Team or Squad
(a) May a national, regional, state, county golf union or Club make available a vehicle for use by members of its team or squad during a team or squad event which has been supplied by a commercial sponsor and on which words along the following lines have been prominently printed: “The .................................................................. (national/regional, etc.) Golf Team Drives .......................................... (name of vehicle)”? (b) Is it permissible for such a vehicle to be used by individual players from that country (or equivalent) taking part in individual events in other countries? (c) When not being used as above, may the vehicle with advertising be used by an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation? (d) May it be used by a golf administrator from the national, regional, state, county golf union or Club who does not possess golf skill or reputation?
(a) Yes. Provided the names of the team or squad members are not displayed. (b) Yes. Provided the host golf union or association staging the event has approved the entry of the players concerned with expenses paid under Rule 4-2. (c) No. This would be considered a breach of Rule 6-2. (d) Yes.
Names on Motor Car
May the car of an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation bear the golfer’s name, or, if sponsored, the sponsor’s name, in large letters?
No. Neither the name of the golfer nor a sponsor may appear on the car – see Rule 6-2.However, an employee may use a company car bearing its name provided it is the normal practice of the company to have its name on company cars.
Fund Raising to Create Trust Fund for Amateur Golfer
May a Golf Club, group of friends or sponsor organise a competition for the sole purpose of raising money to create a trust fund for an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation to either be used towards his expenses as an amateur golfer or to be used when he becomes a professional golfer?
No. It would be a breach of Rule 6-2 because he would be using his name and likeness to promote a benefit for himself either at that time or at some time in the future.However, it would be permissible to hold such an event before a qualifying competition to help the expenses of those who advance, as in such a case the players who will advance to the next stage have not yet been identified (so there is no breach of Rule 6-2).
Employee Appears as Golfer in Company Advertisement
An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation appears as a golfer in an advertisement for his company. Would this be in breach of Rule 6-2, even if he is not directly compensated for the advertisement?
Meaning of "Golf Competition or Other Event" and "in the Best Interests of, or Would Contribute to the Development of the Game" in Exception to Rule 6-2
Within the context of the Exception to Rule 6-2, what is meant by the terms “other event” and “in the best interests of, or would contribute to the development of the game”?
The term “other event” is purposefully and necessarily broad in order to cover activities such as exhibition matches, talks, organised functions, promotional events and the like.With regard to determining whether to allow an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation to promote a golf competition or other event, it is a matter for the national union to decide whether or not this would be in the best interests of the game or would contribute to its development. The national union should look at each case on its individual merits and the following factors should be taken into consideration:
Whether such promotion will generate publicity for golf (particularly amateur golf) that would not otherwise be the case.
Whether the promotion will encourage others to take up the sport.
Whether the golf competition or event is commercially driven or not.
For example, a Club may wish to promote an amateur competition by distributing posters with the image of one of the amateurs competing in the event. It would be reasonable for the national union to permit such publicity, provided there would be some wider consequential benefit, such as generating additional funds for the junior section of the Club.
May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation promote himself through the use of his own website?
An amateur golfer may create his own website, publishing through the site information on himself and his achievements as an amateur golfer, which may include his ambitions for a future in professional golf. A player may list personal information such as his home Club, his employer and the equipment he uses. However, such a website may only promote the player himself and must not advertise or promote anything such as a product or business (including his own business), or include a link to any commercial site.
May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation use his skill or reputation to promote a company’s products in a blog, chat room, etc. on that company's website?
No. An amateur golfer of skill or reputation may not use his golf skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for allowing his name or likeness to be used to promote the company’s products, either by making comparisons with other products or encouraging others to purchase the products. However, he may state in such a blog or chat room that he uses the company’s products.
Company Brochure Containing Reference to Golfing Achievements
A company contains a number of employees who have represented their country as amateur golfers. They have also taken a prominent part in golf administration in their golf unions or associations. Is it permissible to make reference to their achievements in a company brochure?
It would be a breach of Rule 6-2 for golfing achievements to be mentioned in connection with the various employees if they remain golfers of golf skill or reputation. However, even in these circumstances, it would not constitute a breach of the Rules to include reference to specific administrative posts held by them.
Amateur Golfer Promotes Own Company in Magazine
In view of Rule 6-2, is it a breach for an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation to advertise or promote his own company in an article which he has written for a magazine?
Yes. While it is not a breach of the Rules for a golfer of golf skill or reputation to write an article in a magazine the player would be in breach of Rule 6-2 if he used the article to promote his own company.
A competition in a golf magazine sponsored by a golf ball manufacturer asks entrants a series of questions on the history of golf. The first prize is worth over £500. Entrants are also asked the following question: “In 15 words say why you think ‘brand X’ is the best ball”. Does such a competition jeopardise the Amateur Status of entrants?
As this is not a golf competition, the Rules do not apply in so far as the prizes are concerned. Therefore, there is no objection to receiving a prize in excess of the prize limit (Rule 3-2).However, an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation may be in breach of Rule 6-2, irrespective of whether he wins a prize or not, if he was quoted stating why he considered a particular brand of ball to be the best.
Celebrity Advertising Golf Wear
A sportswear company proposes to enter into an agreement with a well-known celebrity who is a keen amateur golfer (Handicap 10), to advertise golf wear in sales brochures. It wishes to use his name in advertisements and pay him to attend company exhibitions. Is this a breach of Rule 6-2?
No. The person concerned is not a player of “golf skill or reputation” and, therefore, there is no objection to him advertising sportswear in the manner indicated.However, if the person were to improve his golf to the extent that he gained golf skill or reputation (see Definition), the provisions of Rule 6 would be applicable to that person. Consequently, any advertising of golf-related products may be considered a breach of Rule 6-2.
Proposal to Invite Leading Golfers to Advertise Golfing Holidays
A national golf union or association has received a request from the Tourist Board of another country inviting seven prominent amateur golfers to visit the country as their guests, using interviews and photographs for the promotion of the tourist trade. Would the Amateur Status of such golfers be jeopardised?
Yes. Any golfer of golf skill or reputation would forfeit his Amateur Status for a breach of Rule 6-2 if he were to lend his name or likeness in advertising golfing holidays in this way. However, there would be no breach of the Rules in the case of amateur golfers who are not golfers of golf skill or reputation.
Policy on Issue of Free Equipment to Amateur Golfers
Is it permissible for an amateur golfer to accept free merchandise?
Yes. An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation may accept golf balls, clubs, merchandise, clothing or shoes free of charge from anyone dealing in such equipment provided no advertising is involved – see Note 1 to Rule 6-2.
Amateur Golfers Offered Free Meals and Remission of Entry Fee
May a Club offer free meals and remission of entry fees to amateur golfers of golf skill and reputation to encourage them to enter a competition and thus increase the status of the event?
No. An amateur golfer who accepts such incentives is, because of his golf skill and reputation, indirectly accepting compensation for a personal appearance in a golf competition and is thereby in breach of Rule 6-3.However, it would not be a breach of the Rules if the incentives (i.e. free meals and remission of entry fee) were offered to all competitors.
Amateur Golfer Accepts Expenses as Leader of Golf Tour
May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation who is not regularly employed by the travel company or organiser accept an expenses-paid trip on a golf tour provided he acts as tour leader?
No. Such action would constitute a breach of Rule 6-3.
Payment of Fee and Expenses for Television Appearance
Is it permissible for an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation to accept a fee and have his expenses covered for an appearance on a television quiz show when he has been chosen because of his golf skill or reputation?
It would be a breach of Rule 6-3 for an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation to accept a fee for such an appearance. In the event of it being necessary for the television company to pay such a person a fee under their own regulations the fee must be gifted to charity. It must be paid direct to the charity, no cash transaction can take place between the company and the golfer concerned and the golfer must not benefit directly or indirectly from the charitable donation.However, the actual expenses incurred by the golfer may be covered as no golf competition or exhibition is involved - see Exception to Rule 6-3.
Amateur Golfer Offered Free or Reduced Subscription for Representing Club
May a Club offer a free or reduced subscription to members of golf skill or reputation on the condition that they represent the Club in competitions?
No. An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation would be in breach of Rule 6-3 for accepting such an offer as he would be considered to be accepting compensation for representing the Club.
Personal Appearance by Celebrity for Fee
May a celebrity be paid a fee for taking part in a golf competition or exhibition?
Yes. Provided the celebrity is being invited for reasons unrelated to his skill or reputation as a golfer, it would not be a breach of the Rules for such a person to accept a fee.
Writing Article on Fitness and Golf
An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation plans to write a series of articles on the relationship between fitness and golf for publication under his name in a golf magazine. He will receive a small payment for expenses, and also some royalties from the sale of the magazine. Is this permissible?
Yes, there is no objection to the action proposed provided:(a) His skill and reputation as a golfer is not advertised; (b) He is the author of the articles; and (c) No instruction in golf is given.
Royalties for Instructional Publications Written Prior to Reinstatement to Amateur Status
May a golfer who has been reinstated to Amateur Status receive royalties for instructional books or articles written by him before applying for reinstatement?
Yes. An amateur golfer may receive royalties for work published prior to the period awaiting reinstatement or being reinstated to Amateur Status. He may also receive royalties for any re-published works, including where the golfer has been asked to write a new foreword, provided no new or additional instructional material is included.However, an applicant for reinstatement to Amateur Status, or a reinstated amateur golfer, may not receive royalties from any new instructional work written after the commencement of his period awaiting reinstatement.
Guidelines for Educational Grants, Scholarships and Bursaries
An amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation may accept an educational grant, scholarship or bursary, e.g. local council grant or award, government lottery award, or scholarship to attend a college or university.Educational grants, scholarships or bursaries awarded purely on academic ability do not require the approval of the Governing Body. However, with a golf-related educational grant, scholarship or bursary, where golf skill is a factor in the selection process for such an award, the Governing Body must first approve the terms and conditions of the award prior to the amateur golfer accepting the funding.An amateur golfer in receipt of an approved golf-related educational grant, scholarship or bursary may use the award to assist in training for and competing in golf competitions. Although not exhaustive, the following may be funded out of the award:
educational costs, including tuition fees, books, room and board whilst attending the college or university;
coaching costs, including instructional fees and travel and living expenses (this would also include warm weather coaching);
travelling, living costs and caddie fees incurred at golf events;
golf equipment (including any clothing worn on a golf course);
Golf Club subscriptions;
medical treatment (e.g. physiotherapy) for conditions specifically affecting the playing of golf; and
costs incurred in respect of fitness training.
As stated above, the list of permissible uses of the award do not cover every eventuality and there may be other ways in which an amateur golfer may seek to use such funding. An amateur golfer in receipt of an approved golf-related educational grant, scholarship or bursary and those providing such assistance should be aware that the player cannot advertise the source of the award (see Rule 6-2).It is not permissible for golf-related educational grants, scholarships or bursaries to be used to cover the individual’s day-to-day living expenses outside attendance at college or university. (However, reasonable subsistence expenses outside attendance of college or university may be permissible under Rule 4-3.)If an amateur golfer or the provider of any assistance is in any doubt concerning a proposed use of funding he should contact the Governing Body for guidance.
Administration of Golf-Related Educational Grants, Scholarships or Bursaries
The expenses of a scholar or bursar may be paid by the university or college for the permitted purposes detailed in Decision 6-5/1, with the exception of travel and accommodation costs for non-university or non-college team or individual events.Any funds from a scholarship or bursary to be used to cover expenses incurred at non-university or non-college team or individual events must be lodged with and administered by the scholar’s or bursar’s national, regional, state or county union or association, or with the permission of the Governing Body, paid direct by the university or college.
Golfer in Receipt of NCAA Scholarship Accepts Expenses from Other Source
May an amateur golfer in receipt of an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) approved golf scholarship in the USA accept expenses from a different source in addition to his NCAA scholarship?
Whilst such actions are not necessarily a breach of the Rules, it may be contrary to NCAA regulations for a player in receipt of an NCAA approved scholarship to accept expenses of any kind from a different source e.g. a representative of a university in addition to his NCAA scholarship. NCAA scholars, or prospective scholars, are advised to contact the NCAA for further details.
Honorary Membership for Players Without "Golf Skill or Golf Reputation"
May honorary membership be conferred for a limited period as follows:(a) To the captain and lady captain in their year of office? (b) For services rendered, e.g. exceptional involvement in the maintenance of the course or services given free to the Club? (c) To a member who has been elected to a prestigious office in golf, therefore, bringing honour to the Club? (d) To auditors of the Club?
Yes. Rule 6-6 only applies to players of "golf skill or reputation" and provided this is not the case, a Club may make whatever arrangements it wishes.
Player of Golf Skill or Reputation Offered Honorary Membership or Free or Reduced Subscription
May a player of golf skill or reputation be offered honorary membership of a Club or a free or reduced subscription?
The answer depends on the nature of the offer, i.e. whether the offer is made as an inducement to play for that Club or not.For example, if the offer is made to a player who has been a member of the Club for a long period of time and has consistently represented the Club or if a player won a major tournament at the Club and the Club wishes to recognise that achievement, in these circumstances, there would be no breach of Rule 6-6 if the player accepted the offer.However, if an offer was made to a player of golf skill or reputation from another Club for no reason other than as an inducement to play for the Club, acceptance would constitute a breach of Rule 6-6.
Reinstated Amateur Offered Honorary Membership or Free or Reduced Subscription by Former Club Employers
May a golfer either awaiting reinstatement or having been reinstated to Amateur Status accept honorary membership or a free or reduced subscription from the Club at which he used to work as a professional golfer?
Playing Privileges Given to Members of College or University Golf Team Without Charge
May a Club or course offer playing privileges to members of a college or university team without charge?
Yes. The offer may be made for a limited or unlimited period and may include membership at the Club provided the offer is not made as an inducement to represent the Club.
Player Offered Financial Assistance by Club
May a player accept financial assistance, e.g. tournament expenses, from a Club?
Yes, provided the offer of financial assistance is not made as an inducement to play for that Club contrary to Rule 6-6.
Meaning of "Competes at an Elite Level"
The Definition of “Golf Skill or Reputation” provides that an amateur golfer is considered to have golf skill or reputation if, among other things, he “competes at an elite level.” What is meant by “an elite level”?
The phrase “elite level” is purposely broad so as to take into account the great variety of competitions around the world. In general, national championships and other gross stroke play competitions that draw top players from outside the state or county are considered to be of an “elite level.”
Definition of Golf Skill for Disabled Amateur Golfer
The Definition of "Golf Skill or Reputation" provides guidance in determining whether, for the purposes of the Rules, a particular amateur golfer has golf skill or reputation. How does this guidance apply in the case of a disabled amateur golfer?
From an Amateur Status perspective, a disabled amateur golfer's golf skill should be determined by a Governing Body based on his ability as a golfer rather than his ability as a disabled golfer. This interpretation has the benefit of being less restrictive in terms of raising sponsorship and publicity for disabled golf.
Whether Amateur Golfer Retains Golf Skill or Reputation
The Definition of “Golf Skill or Reputation” provides that it is a matter for the Governing Body to decide whether a particular amateur golfer has golf skill or reputation. It is also for the Governing Body to determine whether an amateur golfer is no longer considered to possess golf skill or reputation, or has regained it.Generally, for golf reputation to be “lost” after golf skill has diminished, a period of five years must have passed since the player (a) had competitive success at a regional or national level or was selected to represent his national, regional, state or county golf union or association; or (b) competed at an elite level. In making this determination, the Governing Body should look at the standard of ability of the player and the level of competition in which the player is currently participating.An amateur golfer may be considered to possess golf skill or reputation in one country but not in another, as standards of competition and general ability vary from country to country.An amateur golfer in any doubt should consult his Governing Body.
Amateur Golfer Regains Golf Skill or Reputation
A former international amateur golfer begins to compete successfully at county and national levels after having played no competitive golf for over ten years. Is the player considered to be a golfer of golf skill or reputation?
Yes. Over time an amateur golfer may be considered no longer to possess golf skill or reputation; however it is possible to regain golf skill or reputation, in which case, the restrictions of Rule 6 may again apply. These restrictions apply irrespective of whether the amateur golfer competes at the same level or at a different level, e.g. becoming a senior international player having previously competed at full international level.
Deferring Acceptance of Excessive Prize
May an amateur golfer defer acceptance of an excessive prize in order to compete in amateur competitions?
No. Such action would be contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2).An amateur golfer would be permitted to defer temporarily the acceptance of a prize for legitimate reasons (e.g. in order to take further advice regarding the effect of loss of Amateur Status or to consider donating the prize to a recognised charity).
Meaning of "Sweepstake", "Auction Sweepstake" and "Calcutta"
Within the context of the Policy on Gambling (Appendix) and Rule 7-2, what is meant by the terms “sweepstake”, “auction sweepstake” and “calcutta”?
A “sweepstake” is one of the most common forms of gambling or wagering in golf in which each player has an option of placing a sum of money on himself. The same sum of money is placed by each player and the total sum collected is normally disbursed among the prize winners (assuming they have entered the sweepstake). Sweepstakes are approved provided the amount of money involved is not excessive.An “auction sweepstake” or “calcutta” is a form of gambling or wagering in which the players or teams are sold by auction beforehand to the highest bidder. Bidding is not restricted to the players and each player or team is generally offered the right to purchase a percentage of the bet from the successful bidder before play commences. An auction sweepstake or calcutta can often involve considerable sums of money and such gambling or wagering is considered contrary to the purpose and intent of the Rules (Rule 7-2).
Participation in Auction Sweepstake / Calcutta
Does participation in a golf competition with a compulsory auction sweepstake or calcutta automatically cause forfeiture of Amateur Status?
It would be a matter for the Governing Body to determine the appropriate course of action in accordance with Rule 8. The Policy on Gambling (see Appendix) states that forms of gambling such as auction sweepstakes and calcuttas are not approved and an amateur golfer participating in such organised gambling may jeopardise his Amateur Status.
Acceptance of Compensation for Competing in Calcutta
An auction sweepstake or calcutta is held in conjunction with an amateur competition. The players do not participate in the gambling but some accept gratuities from their buyers. Are the players in breach of the Rules?
Yes. Acceptance of such gratuities constitutes financial gain and is a breach of the Definition of an “Amateur Golfer”.
Participation in Online Golf Competition
A website allows players to pay a fee and record their scores from their respective Club competitions. The total sum of the entry fees collected is disbursed among the prize winners. Is this permissible?
No. An amateur golfer may not play golf for prize money (Rule 3-1). The Policy on Gambling states that there is no objection to informal gambling or wagering among individual golfers or teams of golfers when it is incidental to the game. Whilst it is not practicable to define informal gambling or wagering precisely, websites featuring online competitions in which anyone can participate and where money can be won, are contrary to the purpose and intent of the Rules.
Whether Committee Should Consider All Possible Breaches of Rules
Under Rule 8-1, should the appropriate Committee of the Governing Body consider all possible breaches of the Rules or should it only consider cases of doubt?
The Committee should consider all cases which come to its attention. Each case must be dealt with on its merits and the Committee has the option under Rule 8-2, upon a decision that a person has breached the Rules, to declare the Amateur Status of the person to be forfeited or to warn the person concerned.
Procedure for Enforcement of Rules When Breach Occurs Outside Country in Which Amateur Golfer Resides
In accordance with Rule 8, it is a matter for the Committee to investigate a possible breach of the Rules and determine whether a breach has occurred. In the event that the possible breach takes place in a country other than that in which the amateur golfer resides, under whose jurisdiction should the breach be investigated and any action taken on enforcement of the Rules?
An amateur golfer must uphold both the Rules of the country in which he resides and the Rules of the country in which he is competing. It is a matter for the Committee of the Governing Body of the country in which the golfer resides to investigate a possible breach of the Rules and make a decision on enforcement of the Rules, as appropriate.
Whether Clear and Admitted Breach of Rules Requires Action
In cases where an amateur golfer has made the decision to turn professional or to follow a career as a golf instructor or coach, the golfer automatically forfeits his Amateur Status when he breaches the Rules.However, in other cases even where a clear breach of the Rules occurs and it is admitted by the individual, forfeiture of Amateur Status is not automatic. The Committee should declare that such a person has forfeited his Amateur Status and this should go on record so that the period awaiting reinstatement can be properly assessed for reinstatement application purposes.
Clear Breach of Rules Not Referred to Governing Body
In relation to Decision 8-2/1, if the facts of a case in which an amateur golfer is in clear breach of the Rules is not brought to the attention of the Governing Body, is the golfer considered to have forfeited his Amateur Status?
Yes. Although forfeiture of Amateur Status is not normally automatic and is the decision of the Governing Body, an amateur golfer who has committed a clear breach of the Rules is considered to have forfeited his Amateur Status at the time of the breach.
May a person affected by a decision made by his Governing Body appeal that decision to the R&A?
Only where a person’s Governing Body is the R&A may an individual appeal a decision to the R&A - see the R&A’s website (www.randa.org) for further information.In all other cases, and as provided by Rules 8-3 and 9-4, each Governing Body should establish an appropriate appeals process or procedure to handle any decisions relating to either enforcement of the Rules or reinstatement of Amateur Status. A Governing Body may consult the R&A on doubtful or disputed matters (Rule 10-2), however, ultimately it is for each Governing Body to decide matters referred to it in accordance with the Rules.
A player requesting reinstatement to Amateur Status should follow the application process for the Governing Body of the country in which he resides.
Applicant for Reinstatement Worked as Professional Golfer During Summer Only
An applicant for reinstatement worked as an assistant professional or professional golfer from June to August for six consecutive years. He did not breach the Rules in between these periods each year. How long is he considered to be in breach of the Rules?
The applicant is considered to have been in breach of the Rules from the June of the first year to the August of the sixth year, a period of just over six years, resulting in a two year period awaiting reinstatement. (Revised)
Playing Extensively for Prize Money
Following the guidelines detailed in Rule 9-2b on periods awaiting reinstatement, the period may be extended if the applicant has played extensively for prize money. What guidelines should a Committee of a Governing Body follow in assessing each case?
Each case should be treated on its own merits. As a guideline, an applicant may be considered to have played extensively for prize money if he has played for prize money for more than an average of two events per month during his professional golf career when he devoted himself to tournament play for more than six months. However, the Governing Body should also take into account a number of other factors including, but not limited to:(a) the tour schedule and the duration of the "off season",(b) the length of time that has passed since the player played extensively for prize money, and(c) the level of the competitions and the success of the golfer in those competitions as measured by factors such as the percentage of cuts made, total money won, money won per competition, number of wins and other high finishes, etc.After giving consideration to these factors, the Committee may decide to have the applicant serve his normal period awaiting reinstatement as set forth in Rule 9-2b(i) or extend that period at its discretion. (Revised)
Guidelines for Young Players
Some young players, having turned professional, reconsider their decision after a short time.It is recommended that sympathetic consideration should be given to players who are 21 years or under on the date of application for reinstatement to Amateur Status and who have spent less than a year as a professional golfer. In such cases, the period awaiting reinstatement should be equal to the time spent as a professional, e.g. 4 months as a professional golfer should result in a 4 month period awaiting reinstatement. However, irrespective of the length of time spent as a professional, the player should serve a period awaiting reinstatement of at least 3 months.
Guidelines for Breaches of Rules Not Relating to Professionalism
Rule 9-2b(ii) provides that a period awaiting reinstatement of one year will normally be applied to an applicant awaiting reinstatement for breaches of the Rules not relating to Professionalism. However, the Rule also provides that the period may be extended if the breach is considered serious.In accordance with the Rule, it is the R&A’s policy to apply the following guidelines to breaches of the Rules relating to the acceptance of an improper prize or the receipt of unauthorised expenses:Value of Prize (£) 501 – 5000 Period Awaiting Reinstatement - 1 yearValue of Prize (£) 5001 + Period Awaiting Reinstatement - 2 years Non-Approved Expenses (£) Up to 5000 Period Awaiting Reinstatement - 1 year Non-Approved Expenses (£) 5001 + Period Awaiting Reinstatement - 2 years
Applicant Awaiting Reinstatement Wishes to Compete in Events Organised by Golf Society
Rule 9-2e provides that an individual awaiting reinstatement may enter competitions solely among members of a Club at which he is a member, subject to the approval of the Club. If the individual is a member of a Golf Society related to his occupation, for example, a police or bank Golf Society, may he compete in inter-Society matches or competitions organised by the Society?
Such a Society would come within the meaning of Club in Rule 9-2e. Therefore, the individual may compete provided:(a) the Society is confined to persons in the same occupation; or (b) any individual branch of the Society involved in a match or competition gives its approval.The individual would not be able to represent the Society in a match against another Society unless the approval of the Societies in the competition and/or the organising Committee is given.
Prize Limits for Applicants Awaiting Reinstatement
Although Rule 9-2e provides that an applicant awaiting reinstatement participating in a competition not limited to amateur golfers must not play golf for prize money and must not accept any prize reserved for an amateur golfer, may the applicant accept any other prize in the competition?
Yes. An applicant awaiting reinstatement may accept a prize not exceeding the retail value prescribed in Rule 3-2a, or a hole-in-one prize (achieved under the specifications of Rule 3-2b), provided in both cases the prize is not reserved for amateur golfers only.
Applicant Awaiting Reinstatement Wishes to Enter Competition Due to Take Place After Reinstatement
An applicant awaiting reinstatement wishes to enter an amateur competition which will take place after he is eligible for reinstatement to Amateur Status. Is it appropriate for the Committee in charge of the competition to accept such an entry?
It is a matter for the Committee in charge of the competition to determine eligibility to enter. If the Committee decides to accept an application from a golfer awaiting reinstatement to Amateur Status to a competition limited to amateur golfers, it should ensure that the golfer’s Amateur Status has been reinstated prior to the start of the competition, including any qualifying rounds.
Applicant for Reinstatement Provides False or Incomplete Information
If an applicant for reinstatement provides false or intentionally incomplete information in an application, the Committee may refuse consideration of the application for an indefinite period of time.