Presented by ROLEX Amateur Status Rules & Decisions

Browse the 2012-2015 Rules

GENERAL

2-1/1

Professional Intent: Making Inquiries about Prospects

Q. An amateur golfer makes inquiries 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?

A. No. It is not only permissible but very sensible for an amateur golfer to make such inquiries 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 an 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 while still an amateur golfer (Rule 2-2(b)). (Revised).

2-1/2

Employment as Shop Assistant in Professional's Shop

Q. 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?

A. 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 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 programs. (Revised).

Related Decisions:

5-1/2 Golf Manager or Golf Shop Assistant Giving Instruction.

5-1/3 Shop Assistant's Duties Include Demonstration of Golf Swing.

2-1/3

Professional or Assistant Professional in Title Only

Q. 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?

A. Yes.

2-1/4

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:

  1. Caddie.
  2. Shop retailer or assistant.
  3. Club-maker or repairer.
  4. Greenkeeper or course manager.
  5. Course ranger or starter.
  6. Employee of an equipment manufacturer.
  7. Director of golf or golf administrator.

2-1/5

Employment as Salesman of Golf Equipment

Q. May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation be employed by a golf equipment manufacturer to sell golf merchandise?

A. 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). (Revised)

Related Decision:

4-1/2 Salesman of Golf Equipment Accepts Expenses to Play in Amateur Events.

2-1/6

Former Golf Professional Wishes to Run Retail Golf Shop and Join Golf Club

Q. 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?

A. Yes, subject to the following important provisions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 provisions listed above, his application for reinstatement would become null and void. (Revised)

2-1/7

Educational Courses:  Participation in Courses for Prospective Professionals or Golf Coaches

Participation in a program (e.g., Professional Golf Management Programs) 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. (Revised) 

2-1/8

Conditions Under Which Loan to Pay Expenses Permissible

Q. May an amateur golfer accept a loan from an outside source allowing the player to defer repayment until he becomes a professional?

A. 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.(Revised)

MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS' ORGANIZATIONS

2-1/9

Players' Ability Test

Participation in a PGA Players’ Ability Test does not, by itself, constitute a breach of the Rules. (Formerly 2-2/1).

2-1/10

Membership of Professional Golfers' Association by Amateur Golfer

Q. May an amateur golfer hold or retain membership of a Professional Golfers’ Association?

A. 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 organization. (Revised - Formerly 2-2/2)

2-1/11

Professional Intent: Application to Become Tournament Player

Q. An amateur golfer wishes to become a professional tournament player.  He may make general inquiries, 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?

A.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:”

(Revised - Formerly 2-2/3)

2-1/12

Amateur Golfer Enters for Professional Tour; When Breach Occurs

Q. 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?

A. 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 compe6tition, provided he conforms to the Rules (e.g., he does not identify himself as a professional golfer). (Revised - Formerly 2-2/4)

2-1/13

Meaning of “Non-Amateur” Golfer

Q. What is meant by the term “non-amateur” golfer?

A. Rule 2-1 states that an amateur golfer must not conduct or identify himself as a professional golfer and provides examples of behavior 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. (New)

CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS

2-2/1

Contracts and Agreements; Examples of Permissible and Non-Permissible Contracts

An amateur golfer may enter into a contract and/or an agreement with his national golf union or association. In addition, an amateur golfer who is at least 18 years of age may enter into a contract and/or an agreement with a professional agent, sponsor and other third party. Examples of permissible and non-permissible contracts and/or agreements include but are not limited to the following:

Permissible

  1. A contract and/or an agreement with a national golf union or association to pay back the investment in an amateur golfer’s development once the amateur golfer turns professional, e.g., a straight repayment of the sum invested or a percentage of the player’s earnings as a professional golfer, whether over a certain period of time and/or once the player’s earnings reach a certain level. 
  2. A contract and/or an agreement with a national golf union or association to spend a certain amount of time on promotion or development activities once the amateur golfer turns professional. 
  3. A contract and/or an agreement with a national golf union or association to attend certain training programs, to participate in promotional activities, to play in certain events or to wear the official national golf union or association clothing when representing that union or association.
  4. A contract and/or an agreement with a professional agent to be represented by that agent on turning professional, including any financial arrangements, provided no financial benefit is obtained by the amateur golfer while still an amateur golfer and he does not infringe the Rules in any other way, e.g., by allowing his name or likeness to be used to promote or sell anything (Rule 6-2). 

Non-permissible

  1. A contract and/or an agreement with a professional agent, sponsor or other third party to play in certain amateur or professional events while still an amateur golfer.
  2. A contract and/or an agreement with a professional agent, sponsor or other third party to play with certain branded equipment as an amateur golfer. However, an amateur golfer may accept golf equipment from anyone dealing in such equipment (Note 1 to Rule 6-2).

An amateur golfer under the age of 18 may also enter into a contract and/or an agreement with a professional agent, sponsor or other third party with the permission of his Governing Body (Exception to Rule 2-2).

In all cases, an amateur golfer would be advised to consult with his Governing Body or to seek independent legal advice prior to signing any such contract and/or agreement. (New)

2-2/2

Amateur Golfer Enters Contract and/or Agreement with Equipment Manufacturer and Uses Manufacturer’s Equipment While Still Amateur

Q. 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 while still an amateur?

A. Yes, provided he is at least 18 years of age and he is not contractually obliged to use that equipment while an amateur golfer.

Normally an amateur golfer would not be able to receive any financial benefit while 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). (New)

2-2/3

Amateur Golfer in Receipt of Educational Golf Scholarship Enters into Contract and/or Agreement with Third Party

Q. 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?

A. Yes. However, while 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. (New)

Rules

Decisions

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