Presented by ROLEX Amateur Status Rules & Decisions

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PLAYING FOR PRIZE MONEY

3/1

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 (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. (New)

3-1/1

Nearest to the Hole, Long Drive and Putting Contests Offering Prize Money

Q. 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?

A. 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.

3-1/2

Prize Money Placed in Trust Fund

Q. 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?

A. No. Such an act would be a breach of Rule 3-1. (Revised)

Related Decision:

6-2/19 Fund Raising to Create Trust Fund for Amateur Golfer

3-1/3

Cash Prize to Club of Winning Player or Team

Q. 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?

A. 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. (Revised)

Related Decision:

3-2a/8 Award of Prize to Club by Commercial Sponsor

3-1/4

Amateur in Televised Match with Professionals for Money Prizes; Proceeds Donated Directly to Charity

Q. May a prominent amateur golfer accept an invitation to play in a televised exhibition match, for which there are cash prizes for professionals, without infringing the Rules?

A. Yes, provided that he nominates a recognized charity in advance and the organizer pays any prize money to which the player may be entitled directly to that charity. The player may accept a trophy or similar symbolic prize as a memento of the match or a prize of retail value not exceeding the limit laid down in Rule 3-2.

The amateur golfer may receive expenses in accordance with Rule 4-2f (Formerly 3-1/6).

3-1/5

Amateur Golfer Plays for Cash Prize in Golf Skills Challenge

Q. May an amateur golfer take part in a “golf skills challenge” with a cash prize?

A. 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. (Revised – Formerly 3-1/7)

3-1/6

Shares, Stocks or Bonds as a Prize

Q. May an amateur golfer take part in a competition where there are shares, stocks or bonds as a prize?

A. 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 in writing to the shares, stocks or bonds in advance of playing in the competition. (Revised – Formerly 3-1/8)

3-1/7

Playing for Poker Chips

Q. 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?

A. 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. (New)

PRIZE LIMITS: GENERAL

3-2a/1

Symbolic Prizes

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. (Revised)

3-2a/2

Whether "Retail Value" Includes Discount Prices

Q. The sponsor of a Pro-Am, who is a dealer in electrical goods, wishes to offer the winning 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?

A. 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. (Revised)

3-2a/3

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-hole 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. (Revised)

3-2a/4

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 organizer or the sponsor donates it to a recognized charity. The competition organizer 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.

3-2a/5

Prize for Quiz Not Involving Playing Golf

Q. 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?

A. No. The Rules do not apply to such a quiz (but see Decision 4-1/1). (Revised)

Related Decision:

6-2/6 Magazine Competition 

3-2a/6

Prizes at Driving Ranges or Golf Simulators

Q. Do the Rules in general and Rule 3-2 in particular apply to competitions held at driving ranges or on indoor golf simulators?

A. Yes. The Rules apply to all competitions where the player is asked to replicate a shot similar to one he would encounter during a round of golf, whether at a golf course, driving range or golf simulator. The Rules do not apply to activities involving golf feats not encountered on a golf course (e.g., pitching a ball into a bucket or striking a moving target) which take place at a carnival, fun fair or fund-raising event where the playing of golf is not a major factor in attracting people to the event as a whole. (Revised)

Related Decisions:

3-1/5   Amateur Golfer Plays for Cash Prize in Golf Skills Challenge

3-2a/23   Prizes Awarded for Golf Played on Video Games  

3-2a/7

Definition of "Golf Course"

Q. With regard to Decisions 3-2a/6 and 3-2b/1 and the application of the Rules, what constitutes a "golf course"?

A. 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 or pitch and putt course. If a sports stadium has six golf holes temporarily laid out within it (i.e., with tees, greens, hazards, etc.), this would be, for the purposes of applying the Rules, considered a “golf course.” (Revised)

3-2a/8

Award of Prize to Club by Commercial Sponsor

Q. 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. 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. (Revised)

Related Decision:

3-1/3 Cash Prize to Club of Winning Player or Team

3-2a/9

Maximum Permitted Prize in Foursome, Four-Ball or Team Competition

Q. 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?

A. Each individual player may accept a prize of retail value up to the maximum as laid down in Rule 3-2. 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.

3-2a/10

Clarification of “Total Prizes or Prize Vouchers in Any One Competition or Series of Competitions”

Q. How does the prize limit in Rule 3-2 apply to the total prizes won in a single competition or series of competitions?

A. 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. (Revised).

3-2a/11

Two 36-Hole Competitions Also Run as 72-Hole Event; Prizes Individuals May Accept

Q. 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?

A. 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 $450 in the individual competition, then the maximum he can receive in the team competition is a prize of retail value of no more than $300, i.e., a total of $750. (Revised)

3-2a/12

Prize for Order of Merit

Q. 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?

A. Yes, provided it is a genuine order of merit and not a method of circumventing the Rules. (Revised)

3-2a/13

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 (but see Decision 4-1/1).

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 Players

If 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. (Revised).

3-2a/14

Policy on Mementos, 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.

3-2a/15

Scholarship as Prize

Q. May an amateur golfer accept a scholarship as a prize?

A. No, regardless of the amount of the scholarship.

3-2a/16

Prize Limit - Foreign Currency

Q. May the Governing Body of golf in any country establish the prize limit in its own country and in its own currency?

A. 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. (Revised)

3-2a/17

Prize of Invitation to Play in Pro-Am

Q. May an amateur golfer accept an invitation to play in a Pro-Am as a prize in a golf competition?

A. Rule 3-2 prohibits a player from winning a prize in a competition that exceeds $750. 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 organizers 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 jeopardize 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 recognized 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. (Revised) 

Related Decision:

3-2a/10 Clarification of “Total Prizes or Prize Vouchers in Any One Competition or Series of Competitions

3-2a/18

Club Permitting Competition for Excessive Prizes

Q. 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?

A. 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. (Revised)

Related Decision: 

7-2/1 Deferring Acceptance of Excessive Prize

3-2a/19

Conditions Under Which Expenses-Paid Trip as Prize Permissible

An amateur golfer may accept an expenses-paid trip as a prize provided it is worth no more than the prize limit and it is not for the purpose of participating in a golf competition, including a subsequent stage of the same event. The prize should be in the form of airline tickets, hotel vouchers, etc. and must not be in the form of cash (but see Rule 4-2g for sponsored handicap competitions). (Revised)

Related Decision:

4-2g/1   Guidelines for Organizers and Commercial Sponsors of Amateur Golf Events; Whether Expenses May be Paid

3-2a/20

Acceptance of Non-Conforming Prize in Relative's Name

Q. May the winner of a non-conforming prize accept it in the name of a relative and therefore not forfeit his amateur status?

A. No.

3-2a/21

Policy on Prize Vouchers

The guidelines on prize vouchers are as follows:

  1. The organizing 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. 
  2. A voucher may be credited to a Club account and be used for items such as a bar bill, Club dues, payment of entry fees, and other goods and services at the Club, e.g., vouchers may be applied toward use of a practice area, lessons, use of a golf cart, green fees and food and beverages.
  3. When making payment in respect of the voucher, it is the duty of the organizing 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.
  4. If the value of the voucher, is, say $100, the organizing 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.
  5. An amateur golfer may submit a voucher to his national, regional, state or county golf union or association and thereafter be reimbursed from 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. (Revised – Formerly 3-2b/2)

Related Decision:

3-2a/19 Conditions Under Which Expenses-Paid Trip as Prize Permissible

3-2a/22

Prize of Year’s Dues to Golf Club

Q. May an amateur golfer accept as a prize a year’s dues to a golf Club?

A. Yes, provided the value of the dues is less than the prize limit (Rule 3-2a). (Revised – Formerly 3-2b/4)

Related Decision:

6-6/2 Player of Golf Skill or Reputation Offered Honorary Membership or Free or Reduced Dues

3-2a/23

Prizes Awarded for Golf Played on Video Games

Q. 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?

A. 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). (New)

HOLE-IN-ONE PRIZES

3-2b/1

Clarification of Hole-in-One Prizes and Eligible Competitions

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. It is generally accepted that playing a round of golf contemplates playing that round of golf over a golf course which has been specifically prepared for the purpose of playing golf, e.g., an 18-hole or 9-hole golf course or pitch and putt course whether the round consists of 18 holes or otherwise.

Therefore, the following are examples of competition formats that do not qualify for unlimited prizes and to which the prize limit (Rule 3-2a) applies:

  • Multiple entry competitions whereby the player is allowed more than one opportunity at one time to win the prize;
  • A contest conducted other than on a golf course, e.g., at a driving range or golf simulator;
  • Putting competitions; or
  • Nearest the hole or longest drive contests. (New)
 

Related Decision:

3-2a/7 Definition of “Golf Course”

3-2b/2

Insurance Policy for Hole-in-One

Q. May an amateur golfer insure himself against achieving a hole-in-one?

A. Yes. (Formerly 3-2a/23)

3-2b/3

Hole-in-One Sweepstakes

Q. May a Club organize 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?

A. Yes. (Formerly 3-2a/25) 

TESTIMONIAL AWARDS

3-3/1

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. (Revised)

Rules

Decisions

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