Presented by ROLEX Amateur Status Rules & Decisions

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Clarification of "Competition Expenses"

Competition expenses are those expenses wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of playing in a golf competition or exhibition. The following are some examples of a player’s competition expenses:

  1. Transportation / travel costs.
  2. Accommodation / lodging.
  3. Meals / refreshments.
  4. Entry fees.
  5. Caddie / cart and practice fees. (Revised)


Meaning of "Junior Golfer"

Q. With regard to Rule 4-2b, what is meant by the term “junior golfer?”

A. The definition of junior golfer states that a “junior golfer” is “an amateur golfer who has not reached a specified age as determined by the Governing Body.” A Governing Body is strongly encouraged to issue guidelines as to who would be considered a junior golfer in its jurisdiction. (New)


Prize of Invitation to Take Part in Golf Competition for Quiz or Raffle Not Involving Golf; Whether Expenses May be Accepted

Q. With regard to Decisions 3-2a/5 and 3-2a/13,  if the prize for the quiz or raffle is an invitation to take part in a golf competition, may an amateur golfer accept expenses to take part in the golf competition?

A. No. The fact that Rule 3-2a is not applicable to such a prize does not negate the operation of Rule 4-1, which prohibits the acceptance of expenses from any source to engage in a golf competition, except as provided in the Rules.


Salesman of Golf Equipment Accepts Expenses to Play in Amateur Events

Q. May a salesman of golf equipment accept expenses from his employers while playing in important amateur events, when he is also promoting the sale of golf merchandise?

A. No. It is permissible for an amateur golfer to play in a golf competition while on a business trip with expenses paid provided that the golf part of the expenses is borne personally and is not charged to business. Further, the business involved must be actual and substantial, and not merely a subterfuge for legitimizing expenses when the primary purpose is a golf competition.

Related Decision:

2-1/5 Employment as a Salesman of Golf Equipment


Loan of Automobile by Sponsor

Q. May an amateur golfer of golf skill or reputation accept the loan of an automobile for travel to a golf competition?

A.Yes, provided the automobile on loan is not from a sponsor organizing an event and thereby an inducement to compete in the event (Rule 6-3) and there is no advertising involved  (Rule 6-2). (Revised)

Related Decision:

6-2/18 Names on Automobile


Expenses Organized or Covered by Competition Sponsor

A competition organizer or sponsor may assist with the following expenses, provided the expenses are reasonable and the offer is made to all competitors:

  1. Subsidized meals.
  2. Subsidized accommodation/lodging.
  3. Caddie fees when the caddies are provided through the host club.

In all other cases, any expenses must be approved and paid in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4-2c. (Revised)


Approval of Expenses to Play in Pro-Am Competitions

Q. If reduced entry fees are offered to certain participants in a Pro-Am by a competition organizer or sponsor, the reduction in the entry fee must be approved in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4-2c. As the participants in a Pro-Am may come from several golf associations, may the organizer have the reduction in the entry fee approved by the national, regional, state or county golf union or association where the competition is to be played?

A. Yes, provided the entry fees for the Pro-Am are used for the expenses of running the competition and/or donated to a recognized charity or similar good cause and the national, regional, state or county golf union or association where the competition is to be played determines that strict adherence to the provisions of Rule 4-2c would place an inordinate burden on the competition organizer or sponsor. (New)



Family Member of Player Accepts Money from Outside Source to Pay Player's Competition Expenses

Q. May a family member or legal guardian of a player accept money from an outside source to pay the player’s competition expenses?

A. No. However, the money may be provided if the competition expenses are approved and paid in accordance with Rule 4-2c,   otherwise the player would be in breach of  Rule 4-1. A family member or legal guardian must pay for a player’s competition expenses from his own resources. Examples of unacceptable outside sources include, but are not limited to, private individuals, companies, sports agents and equipment manufacturers. (Revised)



Junior Golfer Accepting Expenses from Sponsor for Golf Visit to Another Country

Q. A junior golfer (see Definition) plans to visit another country for three months during the winter to practice and receive coaching from a prominent professional and to participate in a competition limited to junior golfers. May he receive financial assistance towards his expenses from a sponsor?

A. Yes. He may receive financial assistance towards the practice and coaching aspect of the trip as this does not involve a golf competition or exhibition. In addition, as the golf competition is limited exclusively to junior golfers he may receive competition expenses under Rule 4-2b. However, the golfer may not advertise the fact that he is receiving such assistance – see Rule 6-2. (Revised)


Expenses for Parents or Legal Guardians

A parent or legal guardian may accept expenses from an outside source to accompany a young player to a golf competition, subject to the provisions of Rule 4-2c, if applicable.



Invitation to National Amateur Championship with Competition Expenses Paid

Q. May a Golf Club, staging a National Amateur Championship, pay the travel and hotel expenses of certain foreign entrants?

A. No. The payment of such competition expenses would only be permissible if approved by and paid through the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association or, subject to the approval of the player’s national golf union or association, paid by the body controlling golf in the territory in which he is competing. (Revised)

Related Decision:

4-1/4 Expenses Organized or Covered by Competition Sponsor


Approach to Sponsor by Amateur Golfer

Q. May an amateur golfer approach a sponsor to obtain funds to pay for his competition expenses to compete in a golf competition?

A. Yes, subject to the following provisions:

(a) The player may approach a sponsor to obtain funds before or after the expenses to compete in the competition have been approved by his national, regional, state or county golf union or association, but no money must pass between the sponsor and the player;

(b) The player does not enter any written or verbal contract and/or agreement with the sponsor unless the contract and/or agreement is solely in relation to the golfer’s future as a professional golfer (see Rule 2-2b);

(c) These funds may only be disbursed by the national, regional, state or county golf union or association (Rule 4-2c); and

(d) The player does not lend his name or likeness to promote or advertise the sponsor (Rule 6-2). (Revised)

Related Decisions:

6-2/9 Policy on Issue of Free Equipment to Amateur Golfers

2-2/1 Contracts and Agreements; Examples of Permissible and Non-Permissible Contracts


Competition Expenses of Junior Golfers to Non-Junior Events

Q. May a fund be created by friends of a junior golfer to pay the competition expenses of the junior golfer to take part in a competition not limited exclusively to junior golfers in the player’s own country?

A. Yes, provided the funds are lodged with and disbursed by the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association. (Revised)

Related Decision:

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


Approval and Payment of Competition Expenses for International Individual Events

Q. In the case of an international event, such as the European Amateur Championship, who can approve and pay an amateur golfer’s competition expenses?

A. Where a competition is to take place in a country other than the amateur golfer’s home country, the expenses must be approved by and paid through the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association or, subject to the approval of the player’s national golf union or association, paid by the body controlling golf in the territory in which he is competing. However, in the case of an international event such as the European Amateur Championship, the body staging the event (i.e., the European Golf Association) may also approve and pay the player’s competition expenses. (Revised)


Payment of Competition Expenses in Kind

Q. If an airline donates air tickets (or a hotel donates free accommodation) could such donations be used to assist with the payment of a player’s competition expenses under Rule 4-2c?

A. Yes. Expenses do not have to be monetary and may be accepted in kind provided the provisions of Rule 4-2c are applied. (Revised)


Payment of Competition Expenses by University or College

Q. May a university or college pay the competition expenses of an amateur golfer who is a member of the university or college team to compete in individual events?

A. No. If an amateur golfer either received the expenses directly from the university or college or the university or college paid the expenses on his behalf, the amateur golfer would be in breach of  Rule 4-2c. However, the university or college may fund the expenses provided they are approved and paid through the player’s national, regional, state or county golf union or association. (Revised)


Expenses Limited to Specific Number of Competitive Days

Q. Rule 4-2c provides that a Governing Body “may limit the receipt of expenses to a specific number of competitive days in any one calendar year.” Is a Governing Body under an obligation to lay down such limits?

A. No. The intent of the Rules is to restrict an amateur golfer to accepting competition expenses only for the number of days specified by the Governing Body, but the Governing Body is under no obligation to impose such a restriction. (Revised)


Meaning of "Other Similar Source"

Q. The Exceptions to Rule 4-2c and Rule 4-3 provide that an amateur golfer must not accept expenses provided by a professional agent “or other similar source as may be determined by the Governing Body.” What is meant by “other similar source?”

A. The provisions of the latter part of the Exception are purposely broad so as to allow each Governing Body to determine what it believes to be an inappropriate source of expenses because of concern for indirect sponsorship of a specific individual. In particular, care should be taken when expenses are received by an individual (as opposed to a team) from a source which historically has used golf as a medium to advertise or promote its goods or services. For example, if an equipment manufacturer that has traditionally used players to promote its products were to pay the expenses of a prominent amateur golfer, there would be concern whether there is an indirect agreement between the manufacturer and player, and the burden of proof to the contrary would rest with the player. (Revised)


Approval of Competition Expenses for Disabled Amateur Golfers

Q. May a Governing Body permit an organization of disabled golfers to approve and pay competition expenses on behalf of its members and otherwise act in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4-2c?

A. Yes. Any such organization should be officially registered and hold charitable status, or the equivalent, and be able to provide an annual statement of the expenses administered to the Governing Body on request to do so.

A disabled golfer may have his competition expenses administered by such an organization irrespective of whether the competition in which he is participating is restricted to disabled golfers or not. (New)



Meaning of "Similar Body" in Rule 4-2d

Q. What is meant by "similar body" in Rule 4-2d?

A. It refers to a recognized group of people in the game of golf such as a University team or a Society of long standing.

The Governing Body should decide within its own territory if a particular body is a "similar body" within the meaning of this Rule.


Clarification of "Team Competition"

Q. What is meant by "team competition" in Rule 4-2d?

A. In order for a competition to be considered a "team competition" and the provisions of Rule 4-2d apply, the following criteria must be met:

(a) The competition must be between or among teams representing the bodies detailed in Rule 4-2d.

(b) If there is a concurrent individual competition this must be incidental to the team competition.

(c) At least two players must be nominated for each team. However, in cases where the Rules of Golf allow a single player to represent his side (e.g., in a four-ball match), he may do so if his partner is unable to compete for reasons such as injury. (Revised)


Meaning of "Union," "Association" and "Golf Club"

Q. Within the context of Rule 4-2d, what is meant by the terms "union," "association" and "golf club"?

A. A “union” or “association” is an organization of golf clubs operated under a constitution or by-laws and formed for the purpose of conducting competitions and otherwise promoting the development and best interests of and conserving the true spirit of the game of golf in a country, region, state or county.

A "golf club" is an organization of individual golfers that operates under a constitution or by-laws. The members must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. (Revised).


Sponsorship of International Team Match

Q. Is it permissible for a company to sponsor an international team match by paying the travel and hotel expenses of the visiting team?

A. Under Rule 4-2d a player representing his country in a team match can only have his expenses paid either by the body he represents or the body controlling golf in the territory he is visiting. Therefore, provided the company donates the funds in the first instance to either the host or the visiting national golf union or association, the national golf union or association could then cover the expenses of the members of the team. (Revised)

Related Decision:

6-2/15Commercial Sponsorship of Amateur Golfer — Policy on Publicity for Sponsors


Sponsored Club Team Competition With Final Abroad

Q. A sponsor wishes to organize a competition in which teams from various Clubs enter and on a single elimination basis eventually arrive with two teams as winners. These two teams would go abroad for one week to play the final with traveling and accommodation expenses for the winning teams being paid by the sponsor. Is this permissible?

A. It is not permitted for a sponsor to pay the expenses of members of a Club team under Rule 4-2d o take part in a team competition, nor may the sponsor offer as a prize an expenses-paid trip. Such expenses can only be paid by the body the players represent, in this case, their Club.

However, under Rule 4-2g, if the event is a handicap event it would be permissible for the sponsor to pay the competitor’s travel and accommodation expenses, provided the approval of the Governing Bodies have first been obtained, as prescribed in Rule 4-2g(ii). (Revised)

Related Decision:

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


Payment of Expenses to Club Teams at Training Camps

Q May a Club or a national, regional, state or county golf union or association pay the expenses of its team at a training camp?

A. Yes (see Rule 4-2d). It is important that the camp is genuine preparation for team events and that the expenses paid do not exceed the actual expenses incurred. In particular, compensation for loss of earnings must not be paid. (Revised)


Payment of Substitute Teacher When Representing Regional or County Golf Union or Association

Q. A teacher, who plays amateur golf for his regional or county union or association, has to find a substitute teacher and pay his salary if the match is during final exam time.

May the regional or county union or association pay the salary of the substitute teacher either in full or make a contribution towards it?

A. No. Under Rule 4-2d the regional or county union or association may pay reasonable expenses to the teacher when representing his region or in team matches, but it would not be in order to compensate the amateur golfer for the expense of the substitute teacher; or to pay the substitute teacher directly. Such an outlay is not considered competion expenses. (Revised)



Guidelines for Organizers and Commercial Sponsors of Amateur Golf Events; Whether Expenses May be Paid

Under Rule 4-1, an amateur golfer is not permitted to accept expenses (e.g., free travel or hotel accommodation) to take part in a golf competition, except in certain circumstances (see Rule 4-2).

Rule 4-2g permits an amateur golfer to accept expenses, not exceeding those actually incurred, to take part in a handicap individual or handicap team event, provided the event has received the necessary annual approval.

The organizer or sponsor must obtain the approval of the event in advance from the Governing Body in the country where the qualifying events are to be played. The Governing Body may require the submission of the event’s proposed conditions of competition (including the venue of the final) and an estimate of the level of expenses to be paid by a sponsor on behalf of amateur golfers competing in the event. The Governing Body may restrict all stages of the event to its own country.

If the final is to be played elsewhere, it is the responsibility of the Governing Body where the qualifying events are taking place to seek the approval of the Governing Body where the final of the event is to be played.

It is a matter for the appropriate Committee of the Governing Body to decide whether or not a particular event qualifies for approval under Rule 4-2g and the Governing Body has considerable discretion in this respect. However, an event can only be approved if the following requirements are met:

  1. It must be a handicap individual or a handicap team event where the handicaps are applied. Events designed primarily for low handicap players where gross scores count, do not qualify;
  2. The event must have a sponsor who financially supports the event for charitable or promotional reasons;
  3. If an entry fee is to be paid, the event must not be approved if it is entirely financially supported by these fees;
  4. All prizes must conform with Rule 3 and in particular, the total prizes received by any one person throughout the event must not exceed the limit laid down in Rule 3-2 as determined by the Governing Body in the country concerned; and
  5. The level of expenses must be considered ‘reasonable’. There are no specific limits referred to in the Rules, but a Governing Body may deny approval on the grounds that the ‘level of expenses’ or the number of days on which expenses are covered are excessively high.

All events approved under Rule 4-2g should be given a reference number (e.g., “Approved for the payment of expenses Rule 4-2g/01/2012”), which should be included on all of the event’s advertising literature and entry forms. (Revised – Formerly 4-2g/2)

Related Decisions:

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

4-2d/5 Sponsored Club Team Competition with Final Abroad



Meaning of "Reasonable Subsistence Expenses"

Q. According to Rule 4-3, an amateur golfer is allowed to receive “reasonable subsistence expenses.” What is meant by “reasonable subsistence expenses?”

A. “Reasonable subsistence expenses” should be determined in the context of the entire wording of Rule 4-3, including the socio-economic conditions of the region and of the individual. Subsistence expenses must not be excessive, must not surpass actual expenses incurred and should assist with, rather than cover all, general living costs.

Subsistence expenses are intended to cover the basic essentials – food, clothing and shelter, together with any essential travel costs incurred in attending golf coaching sessions. Subsistence expenses should not provide an amateur golfer with a luxurious standard of living or be a substitute for a working salary.

An amateur golfer in any doubt regarding the receipt of subsistence expenses should consult his national golf union or association which, in any event, has sole discretion to approve such expenses. (New)


Meaning of "Applicable Socio-Economic Conditions"

Q. According to Rule 4-3, the national golf union or association should consider, among other factors, the “applicable socio-economic conditions” before deciding whether it is necessary and/or appropriate for an amateur golfer to receive subsistence expenses. How should a national golf union or association assess the applicable socio-economic conditions?

A. As stated in Decision 4-3/1, the socio-economic conditions of both the region and of the individual should be determined. The national golf union or association, which has sole discretion to approve subsistence expenses, should consider the level of subsistence costs which would be reasonable for the amateur golfer to incur in the region in which he resides or to which he has traveled for golf coaching purposes. It should then consider the extent to which the amateur golfer might reasonably be expected to meet those costs from his own resources. In the case of a junior golfer, consideration of the resources of his immediate family would be appropriate. (New)


Golf-Related Expenses

Q. Over and above any “competition expenses” received in accordance with Rule 4-2, may an amateur golfer accept financial assistance for general golf-related expenses?

A. Yes, subject to the approval of his national golf union or association (Rule 4-3).

In addition to the “basic essentials” identified in Decision 4-3/1 , an amateur gofer may receive financial assistance with general golf-related expenses. Although not an exhaustive list, the following may be approved:

  • coaching costs, including instructional fees and related travel and living expenses (this would also include warm weather coaching);
  • golf equipment (including any clothing worn on a golf course);
  • golf club dues;
  • medical treatment (e.g., physiotherapy) for conditions specifically affecting the playing of golf; and
  • costs incurred in respect of fitness training. (New)



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