Rules of Golf: R&A and USGA publish modernised rules on amateur status from 2022

Oct 26, 2021

The R&A and USGA have reduced the number of restrictions to amateur golfers to make the Rules of Golf easier to understand and apply.

The changes, coming into effect on January 1, are part of the steps made by golf's governing bodies to reflect how the modern game is played by millions around the world, following on from the modernisation process of the Rules of Golf in 2019.

Many of the restrictions that previously applied to amateur golfers have been removed, with all advertising, expense-related and sponsorship restrictions lifted. The ability to accept prize money in scratch-only competitions has also increased to £700, but does not apply to handicap competitions.

Grant Moir, director of rules at The R&A, said: "These Rules play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must evolve to meet the needs of the modern game.

"This is particularly important for modern elite amateur golf, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential. The new Rules give them this opportunity and will help to make the game even more inclusive."

The prize rule applies only to tee-to-hole competitions played on a golf course or a simulator but no longer apply to long-drive, putting and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition.

As part of the changes, the only way a golfer can lose their amateur status is by accepting a prize that exceeds the limit, accepting prize money in a handicap competition, playing as a professional, taking payment for giving instruction, or for being employed by a golf club as a professional.

Craig Winter, USGA senior director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, said: "We believe these updates will help simplify these Rules and ensure the long-term health of the amateur game not only to those who compete at the highest level of amateur golf, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses."

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