R&A, USGA announce modernisation of Amateur status

As part of an ongoing effort to modernise the Rules of Golf, the USGA and the R&A unveiled proposals overnight for significant modifications to the Rules of Amateur Status that govern the game around the world.

The new Rules are scheduled to be adopted on January 1, 2022.

Charlotte Heath and Jed Morgan Charlotte Heath and Jed Morgan won the 2020 Australian Amateur (Credit: Golf Australia)

Among the key changes amateur golfers would be allowed to collect up to $750 in prize money without losing their status. Accepting sponsorships would also be permitted and there would no longer be any restrictions on an amateur golfer entering into a contract and receiving benefit from that contract as an amateur.

There is also a reduction of the minimum wait period for amateur reinstatement, from one year to six months.

However, there will still be rules that govern players remaining amateur, namely accepting prize money in excess of the $750 limit, accepting payment for giving instruction, and accepting a job as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers.

The proposals are aiming to address concerns around amateur status, especially in the elite ranks of the amateur game. For example, the cost of travel, tournament entry fees and other expenses prohibit many amateurs from competing in events.

By allowing amateurs to accept sponsorships, the proposed Rules would give some certainty to accepting sponsorship for attending such events.

“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive golfers,” said Craig Winter, USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status.

“We understand and value how important amateur status is, not only to those who compete at the highest level of the amateur game, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses.”

“These updates should help simplify these Rules and ensure the health of the amateur game.”

Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “The Rules of Amateur Status play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must continue to evolve.”

“This is particularly so in relation to the modern elite amateur game, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential, and the proposed new Rules will give much greater scope for this.”