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)).
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.
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?
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:
Shop retailer or assistant.
Club-maker or repairer.
Greenkeeper or course manager.
Course ranger or starter.
Employee of an equipment manufacturer.
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).
4-1/1 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:"
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 competition, provided he conforms to the Rules (e.g., he does not identify himself as a professional golfer).
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.
CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS
2-2/1 Examples of Permissible and Non-Permissible Contracts and/or Agreements
Rule 2-2 permits an amateur golfer to enter into a contract and/or agreement with his national golf union or association or with a third party (including but not limited to a professional agent or a sponsor), subject to the restrictions outlined in Rule 2-2a and Rule 2-2b, respectively.
In addition, Rule 4 (Expenses) and Rule 6 (Use of Golf Skill or Reputation) provide limits for the amateur golfer in terms of expenses that can be received and restrictions on the use of name or likeness to promote a product or service.
To assist amateur golfers, national unions/associations and third parties who may be entering into contracts or agreements, guidance is provided below on specific matters that parties to such a contract or agreement might consider for inclusion.
For the purpose of the guidance below, the term "third party" excludes a national union or association and the term "agreement" is considered to mean a contract or an agreement.
An agreement with a national union or association to represent the player after he turns professional.
An agreement with a third party to represent the player after he turns professional provided no direct or indirect financial benefit is received while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement that refers to the third party as the "representative" (or a similar term) of the player or refers to the player as the "client" (or a similar term) of the third party (including while he is still an amateur golfer) provided the substance of the agreement is otherwise permitted by the Rules.
Participation in Events
A third party may arrange for an unlimited number of invitations to tournaments and make the necessary arrangements on behalf of the player to play in the events, provided there is no requirement that the player participate in any event while he is still an amateur golfer.
An amateur golfer may enter into an agreement with the national golf union or association to play in events or attend certain training programs.
An agreement with a third party that the player will play in particular amateur or professional events while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to play with a particular brand of equipment when the player turns professional, provided in the meantime there is no breach relating to Rule 6 in terms of promoting the brand of equipment (see Note 1 to Rule 6-2 and related Decisions).
An agreement stipulating that a player must play with a particular brand of equipment while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to allow for the player's name or likeness to be used to promote, advertise or sell any equipment or promote or advertise any manufacturer while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement that a third party will handle a player's expenses provided that while the player is still an amateur golfer the expenses are administered in accordance with Rule 4-2.
An agreement with a national golf union or association to pay back the investment in the player's development when he turns professional.
An agreement that provides travel, accommodation, meals, etc. to participate in competition in accordance with Rule 4-2, provided there is no promotion of the third party or any other entity providing the funds or service while the player is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to further the development of the player's game (e.g., through provision of a swing coach, athletic trainer, sports psychologist, etc.), provided there is no promotion of the entity providing the funds or services while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to receive financial benefit, compensation or payment of any kind while still an amateur golfer.
An agreement that the player and/or his family members will receive free or discounted benefits for products or services while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement to provide funds to the player that requires the player to disclose the source of the funds or allows the provider of the funds to disclose that the provider is supporting the player while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement between a player and a sponsor to have the sponsor provide funds to the player as a result of buying shares in him that becomes active when he turns professional.
An agreement to receive a financial loan from a professional agent or sponsor while he is still an amateur golfer.
An agreement with the national golf union/association to spend a certain amount of time on promotion or development activities once the player turns professional.
An agreement to participate in promotional activities or wear the official national golf union/association logo when representing that union as an amateur golfer or professional golfer.
An agreement to allow the player's name and/or likeness to be used while an amateur golfer to promote: (1) his national, regional, state or county golf union or association; or (2) a recognized charity (or similar good cause if approved by the player's national golf union/association); or (3) subject to the permission of the national union/association, any golf competition or other event that is considered to be in the best interests of, or would contribute to, the development of the game.
An agreement that the player's name or likeness will be used to promote, advertise or sell the professional agent or sponsor's products or services or any other product or service while he is still an amateur golfer. (Revised)
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).
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.
2-2/4 Contract/Agreement Entered into on Behalf of Amateur Golfer
The Rules of Amateur Status apply to contracts and/or agreements entered into on behalf of, or for the benefit of, an amateur golfer (e.g., where a parent, guardian or authorized representative enters into a contract on behalf of an amateur golfer who is a minor). If a breach of the Rules results from such a contract or agreement, it is the amateur golfer who is subject to any sanction deemed appropriate by the Committee of the Governing Body. Instances where a breach occurs when a player is not aware of a contract or agreement, or the full extent of the contract or agreement, should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (New)