Just to be Clear...

Tiffany Nelson
Director of Business Development
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

More Information

The USGA recently published an article about amateur status and financial support, which is great news for junior/amateur players. The definition of an “amateur golfer” is one who plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit-making sport and who does not receive remuneration for teaching golf or for other activities because of golf skill or reputation, except as provided in the Rules. Is that clear? Sure, but what if you are playing in a fun charity event and on a par three, they are offering a brand new Lexus if you make a hole-in-one. Would you be able to take it?

Yes, you would and the reason being is because the exception applies to a hole-in-one made “while playing golf”, a phrase that includes situations where the hole-in-one is incidental to a round of golf (including a partial round). 

There are instances that you may make a hole-in-one and won’t be able to claim the prize without having to officially turn Professional.

Here are examples:
A contest in which a player is allowed more than one opportunity on a hole to win the prize; A contest conducted other than at a golf course (e.g. a simulator or driving range); A putting contest.

A prize won for a hole-in-one (in the aforementioned formats) must still conform to the prize limit of a retail value of $750. This rule only applies to hole-in-one prizes, it does not include closest-to-the-pin prizes. 

Here are a few other rules that you should know as an amateur:

Prize Money vs. Gambling:
To keep it simple, amateurs should not play for any large cash prizes. Here are some guidelines: Do not play in events that include any organized events where playing for the money in not optional, there are no prizes other than cash or the fact that cash prizes will be awarded is advertised. If you do participate, it is likely that your amateur status will be forfeited. 
“Skins” Game:  If participation in the “skins” portion of the competition is not optional (i.e., the players are essentially required to pay an entry fee to be used to award cash prizes in the skins game), the players who play in the competition would likely be considered to be playing for prize money and thus in violation of Rule 3-1 of the Rules of Amateur Status.

If participation in the “skins” portion of the competition is optional (i.e., there is an optional cash side pool in which players could contribute if they wished in order to be eligible for the “skins” prizes), involves a nominal amount of money, and is not advertised, the arrangement would appear to constitute gambling, which is not a violation of the Rules.

There are a lot of rules to know and I hope these three will help keep you better informed.  See you out on the course!

Tiffany Nelson is Director Sales & Marketing at TPC Scottsdale/ PGA TOUR located at 17020 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255. You can reach her at 480.585.4334, ext. 226. Follow TPC Scottsdale on Facebook (The TPC Scottsdale) and on Twitter www.twitter.com/tpcscottsdale and keep up with all the action!