Elite amateurs now permitted to benefit from sponsorship deals


Last updated on February 23, 2021 at 02.46 pm

The global governing bodies of golf, the R&A and USGA, have this week announced proposed updates and changes to the Rules of Amateur Status.

Conversations have been ongoing since 2017 amongst the key stakeholders of the game of golf to both update the Amateur Status Rules as well as make them easier to understand.

Under the proposed new rules, the only acts that would result in an amateur losing his Amateur Status are as below:

1.Accepting prizes in excess of the existing prize limit ($750).

2.Payment for giving face-to-face or traditional golf instruction. This does not include one-way, digital or written instruction which would now be allowed, as would instruction while working for an educational institution, camp or other programme approved by an official National Golfing Body.

3.Employment as a Club Professional or membership of a Professional Tour or Association.

These updates have been introduced to acknowledge the change in the game over recent years, especially in the US with amateur athletes being allowed, in other sports than golf, through state legislature, to receive assistance and endorsements for their talents.

Elite amateurs are now permitted to benefit from sponsorship opportunities and endorsements and this opportunity is not now limited to receiving expenses only.

In addition with the growth of the game globally within schools and other educational institutions at a grassroots level, there is the essential requirement for teachers with golf knowledge to act as initial coaches to both encourage and get students into the game.

This is now acknowledged by all and would ideally be monitored by teaching professionals in a sustainable and structured manner with progression to both playing on a golf course as well as further coaching, either in groups or individuals under qualified golf professional.

For amateurs winning prizes, the often blurry distinction between receiving cash and other forms of prizes has now been eliminated.

Non ‘Tee to Hole’ competitions such as long drive competitions, hole in one prizes, putting or other skill contests no longer fall under the Amateur Status Rules, but they remain within the rules if played within a ‘Tee to Hole’ competition on either a golf course or a golf simulator.

Finally, the minimum waiting period for Amateur reinstatement, is reduced from 12 months to six months.

There will be industry and public feedback for these proposed changes from February 22 to March 26, with the published target timeline for the introduction of these changes in rule form set for January 1, 2022.

These proposed amendments are probably the most significant for the Rules of Amateur Status by the authorities in recent memory.

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