Amateur players are going to be pleased with some of the rule changes for 2012. Amateur golfers all over the world will now be allowed to play for unlimited hole – in – one prizes.
In the past, the rules allowed for amateurs to receive only small prizes, and that accepting something of greater value would force golfers to surrender their amateur status. In one high profile instance, Derek Lawrenson, a golf writer for The Daily Mail newspaper in London, England won a Lamborghini but had to forfeit his amateur status. The governing bodies of the USGA and R & A have determined that “the special nature of a hole – in –one during a round of golf means that restrictions on the prizes offered have been lifted.”
In addition, the new Rules of Amateur Status include changes for elite amateur golfers aimed at easing the move from amateur to professional. It follows a far-reaching four-year review of amateurism in golf, which even questioned the need for a set of rules and has resulted in the first-ever uniform worldwide code for amateur status.
“We felt the time was right to carry out a fundamental review of the Rules of Amateur Status”, said R & A Director of Rules David Rickman. “We were conscious that many sports had done away with amateur status rules and we felt that was an appropriate question for us to ask. We concluded that it is very important that golf retains its amateur regulations, mainly because of the self-regulating nature of the game both in terms of the playing rules and handicapping,” he added. “We felt that uncontrolled financial incentives could place too much pressure on these important features.”
Excluding hole – in – one prizes from the general prize limit and allowing high value prizes, including cash, to be awarded brings the R & A in line with the USGA.
Also under the new rules aimed at amateurs thinking of a professional career, players will now be able to enter into an agreement with an agent or sponsor as long as they do not receive any financial gain while still and amateur.
Michigan PGA Rules Official
Staff Writer for Mike Fay Golf