USGA announces new rules for amateur status effective January 1, 2022

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Golf Resorts

USGA announces new rules for amateur status effective January 1, 2022

Oct 26, 2021

by Staff


USGA photo

It’s official, the revised amateur status rules have been announced by the USGA and R&A effective January 1, 2022.

According to the official press release:

“The work is the latest move by the governing bodies to make the rules easier to understand and use, and follows the golf rules modernization process in 2019. The new rules were created through feedback from golfers and the golf industry as part of a comprehensive process to ensure they continue reflect how the modern game is played by millions of golfers around the world. “

For the majority of the millions of golfers who serve every day, accepting prize money or getting paid for using image and likeness is just a dream – and the risk of losing “amateur status” is meaningless. But for hundreds of thousands of golfers competing at the serious amateur level (especially at state and USGA amateur events), being “released” to get some cash will have an effect. Traveling the country to play amateur golf is expensive.

The following are the main points of the new rules:

Only the following actions will cause a player to lose their amateur status.

* Accepting a prize with a value in excess of the prize limit ($ 1000 / £ 700) or accepting prize money in a handicap competition

* Play as a professional

* Accepting payments for instruction (although all current exceptions apply, such as educational coaching and assistance with approved programs).

* Acceptance of employment as a golf club professional or membership in a professional golfers’ association

To achieve this simplified approach, the following major changes have been introduced:

* Distinction between scratch and handicap competitions in terms of the prizes that can be accepted.

* The winning rule only applies to tee-to-hole competitions played on a golf course or simulator, but no longer applies to long drive, putting and skill competitions that are not part of a tee-to-hole competition be carried out.

* Removal of all advertising, spending and sponsorship restrictions.

The final point is the one that enables aspiring stars to generate potentially significant revenue by using their name and likeness in advertising campaigns. Just recently, the young Californian phenomenon Lucy Li caused a sensation with an appearance in an Apple Watch commercial. This type of activity would now be allowed even if paid for.

The press release said:

“The new opportunities presented by the lifting of sponsorship restrictions and the ability to accept prize money up to the increased limit of $ 1,000 or £ 700 in scratch-only competitions will be of great benefit to elite amateur golfers looking for opportunities to To finance golf expenses. ”

“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive players,” said Craig Winter, USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “This was emphasized in the feedback we received earlier this year, and we believe these updates will help simplify these rules and ensure the long-term health of amateur gaming, not just for those at the highest level play in amateur golf, but for the millions of golfers of all ages and levels who enjoy competitive events on their home courts. “

The new rules are accompanied by guidelines, an overview document and explanatory notes explaining the reasons for the changes made and, in some cases, for the changes that were not changed.

You can find these materials at


At, we advise dozens of tournaments on how to run them, while we run our own tour of California and golf resorts like Bandon Dunes and Sand Valley. We will evaluate the new rules and will shortly decide whether we will change the prizes we will give to the top runners in 2022 and beyond. We certainly see the benefit of allowing players to take cash prizes, but we will also consider the industry impact of paying cash instead of pro-shop gift cards, as well as the fact that our competitions include both scratch and net divisions.