The United States Golf Association writes and administers the Rules of Amateur Status because they believe that the distinction between amateur golf and professional golf should be maintained, and amateurs should not have to compete against golfers who make a living playing or teaching golf. They define an amateur golfer as one who plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit-making sport and who does not receive remuneration for golf activities because of golf skill or reputation. The complete Rules of Amateur Status can be found in the Rules of Golf booklet or on the UGSA website at www.usga.org. Please feel free to call the GAM at 248-478-9242, ext. 14, if you have questions.
Waiver of Right to Prize Money Form (.pdf)
Q: As an amateur, can I play for prize money or its equivalent?
A: No. You may play in an event where prize money is being given, but prior to participation, you must waive your right to accept prize money.
Q: What is the prize limit?
A: You may not accept a prize (other than a symbolic prize) or prize voucher of retail value in excess of $750 in any one competition.
Q: Does that include a car for a hole-in-one?
A: A prize for a hole-in-one while playing golf may exceed the prize limit. The phrase “playing golf” is intended to include situations where the hole-in-one is incidental to a round of golf. It does not include contests at a driving range or where a player is allowed more than one opportunity on a hole to win the prize.
Q: Do I lose my amateur status if I enter a tournament as a pro?
Q: Do I lose my amateur status if I pass my Playing Ability Test (PAT)?
A: No. However, if you become a PGA apprentice, and hold membership in any Professional Golfers’ Association, you do lose your status. Exception: An amateur golfer may hold a category of PGA membership, provided the category does not confer any playing rights and it is purely for administrative purposes.
Q: Can I accept expense money to play in a golf tournament?
A: An amateur may receive expense money, not exceeding the actual expenses incurred. There is no limit on “family support,” but if the source is other than family, the expenses must be approved by and paid through the player’s regional, state or county golf association.
Q: Can I teach at a school or camp?
A: Yes, but with provisions. If you are employed by an educational institution or a camp you may be paid for golf instruction provided that the total time spent in golf instruction comprises less than 50% of the time spent in the performance of all duties.
Q: If I lose my amateur status, can I get it back?
A: Yes. An applicant for reinstatement must apply to the United States Golf Association on their website, www.usga.org. A fee will be required, and the USGA Amateur Status Committee will determine the waiting period for reinstatement.
Q: How long will the waiting period be?
A: The waiting period is related to the period the person was in breach of the Rules, and it generally starts from the date of the person’s last breach of the Rules. Therefore, if the period of the breach was under five years, the applicant will probably wait one year from the date of the last breach. If the period of the breach was over five years, the applicant may wait two years for reinstatement.
Q: Can I play in golf tournaments during that waiting period?
A: You may not enter competitions as an amateur. You may enter competitions among members of a club where you are a member, subject to the approval of that club. You may enter tournaments that are not limited to amateurs (Opens) without prejudicing your application, provided you do so as an “applicant for reinstatement.” In these tournaments you must waive your right to any prize money and must not accept a prize reserved for an amateur.
Q: How many times can I apply for reinstatement?
Q: How does gambling affect amateur status?
A: There is no objection to informal gambling among individual golfers or teams when it is incidental to the game. Features that would be consistent with such gambling are: the players in general know each other, the gambling is optional and is limited to the players, the source of the money won is advanced by the players themselves, and the amount of the money is not excessive. In other words, the primary purpose is the playing of the game for enjoyment, not financial gain.
Q: What would unacceptable gambling be?
A: Any form of gambling where the players are required to participate (e.g. compulsory sweepstakes) or involve considerable sums of money (e.g. calcuttas and auction sweepstakes – where players/teams are sold by auction) or where gambling is open to non-players.