Junior Golfers and Amateur Status

Meaning of Junior Golfer in the United States and Mexico

In the United States and Mexico, a junior golfer is considered to be an amateur golfer who has not reached their 19th birthday during the calendar year ending December 31st prior to a competition requiring that golfer to be a junior in order to participate.

Helping Junior Golfers With Expenses

The good news for junior golfers today is that there are many opportunities for them to hone their games by competing against other junior golfers in local, state and national competitions limited to junior golfers. The bad news is that it can be very expensive to travel around the country to participate in several competitions. Fortunately, the USGA Rules of Amateur Status allow junior golfers to receive help with these costs.

Under the Rules in the United States and Mexico, a junior golfer is considered to be an amateur golfer who has not reached their 19th birthday during the calendar year ending December 31st prior to a competition requiring that golfer to be a junior in order to participate. So unless a golfer is 19 he or she should become familiar with the Rules that apply to junior golfers receiving expenses. It should be noted that while this age limit is used when applying the Rules of Amateur Status, Committees which conduct junior competitions may use different age limits for determining who is eligible to participate in their competitions.

The Rules allow a junior golfer to receive any amount of financial support directly from a family member or legal guardian. If a junior golfer is asked by his or her grandparents what he or should would like for a birthday present, he or she may suggest help with expenses to compete in golf tournaments.

A junior golfer may also receive funds directly from sources other than family members when the funds will be used to cover expenses in competitions limited to junior golfers (e.g., the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship).

If a junior golfer wishes to receive funds to participate in a competition that is not limited to junior golfers (e.g., the U.S. Amateur Championship), he or she may still receive financial support from sources other than family members, but the funds must be approved by and paid through the golfer’s state or local golf association. The forms to be completed by the sponsor and junior golfer when the expenses are to be paid through the state or local golf association can be found here.

A player’s expenses associated with a competition normally include transportation, lodging, meals, entry fees and caddie/cart and practice fees. He or she should ensure that any expenses he wishes to have funded are reasonable. He or she may not receive funds for general living costs that are not associated with a competition.

Although a junior golfer may receive financial support from sources other than family members, he or she must not promote or advertise the source of any expenses received. Therefore, a junior golfer may not publically recognize the donor of the expenses or wear or carry anything that has the donor's logo. The junior golfer could issue a generic statement thanking his or her supporters such as “Tom Smith thanks those who have supported him in golf competitions.” Also, a junior golfer must not accept expenses, directly or indirectly, from a professional agent or any similar source under any circumstances.

As it is recognized that some parents may be concerned about their son or daughter traveling to a competition, the Rules allow one parent or legal guardian to accept expenses from an outside source to accompany the junior golfer to the competition.

While the USGA Rules of Amateur Status allow junior golfers to receive and use funds from sources other than family members as described above, in some cases state high school athletic associations and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) may prohibit or limit the receipt and use of such funds. Therefore, before accepting or using funds from a source other than a family member, the junior golfer should check with his or her high school athletic association and the NCAA to determine if receipt and use of such funds could affect his or her high school or collegiate eligibility. The NCAA may be contacted at:

National Collegiate Athletic Association

700 W. Washington Street

P.O. Box 6222

Indianapolis, IN

46206-6222

Phone: 317-917-6222

Website: www.ncaa.org

A junior golfer should also maintain detailed records of any funds received from sources other than family members and how those funds were used in case the USGA, NCAA or local high school athletic association wishes to review the sources and uses of the funds.

If you have additional questions concerning junior golfers receiving expenses, contact the USGA Amateur Status department at 908.234.2300 or click here.

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