Moves to Modernise Rules of Amateur Status

The Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf and the Rules of Golf books published by the USGA and The R&A. Picture by USGA/John Mummert

St Andrews, Scotland and Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA) are conducting a review of the Rules of Amateur Status to make them easier to understand and apply.

The comprehensive evaluation is part of the continued joint effort to modernise the Rules by reducing complexity and ensuring the Rules effectively guide how the game is played today.

As part of a review process that began this year, the governing bodies will seek the perspectives of golf’s stakeholders as an integral component of the review process, including elite amateur golfers, golf event organisers, national golf associations, professional golf associations and other industry partners.

The aim is to provide the golf community with a modernised set of Amateur Status Rules in late 2021, with the goal of an effective date of January 1, 2022.

Grant Moir, Director – Rules at The R&A, said: “We will be looking at the Rules of Amateur Status carefully and considering ways in which we can modernise them and bring them more into line with the way the modern sport is played. The code remains a fundamental framework for amateur golf and we will be listening to the views of players, officials and associations to give us a fully rounded view of how we can improve them.”

Thomas Pagel, Senior Managing Director of Governance at the USGA, said: “One of golf’s greatest benefits is that it can be played by all ages and played for a lifetime. It is our goal to ensure that the fundamental concept of what it means to be an amateur golfer is clear and retained to promote fair competition and enjoyment for everyone, while still addressing many issues that seek to protect the game. This is a forward-thinking approach and engaging golfers is a key component of doing what’s best for golf.”

In a separate move, with effect from January 1, 2020, The R&A and the USGA will introduce one change to Rule 3-2b of the Rules of Amateur Status, which regulates hole-in-one prizes. The Rules will no longer limit the prize an amateur golfer may win when making a hole-in-one outside a round of golf, including ‘stand-alone’ and ‘multiple-entry’ hole-in-one events. 

It is hoped the change will help to promote the game and cater to new audiences as well as eliminate unnecessary restrictions for event organisers.

New Rule 3-2b will read as follows:

Rule 3-2b. Hole-in-One Prizes

An amateur golfer may accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during a round of golf on a golf course.

An amateur golfer may also accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during contests held outside a round of golf, including multiple-entry contests and contests conducted other than on a golf course (eg, on a driving range, golf simulator or putting green) provided in all cases that the length of the shot is at least 50 yards.

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