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Rules Guy: Can a right-handed pro compete as an amateur if he plays as a lefty?

September 24, 2019

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

I’m a pro who passed my PGA of America Playing Ability Test right-handed, which is how I also compete professionally. Left-handed, however, I’m pretty bad. Why can’t I compete as an amateur left-handed and as a pro right-handed? —CHARLETON DECHERT, VIA E-MAIL

Charleton, I only regret to confirm for you that you have but one amateur status to lose for your golf. (Nathan Hale, Rules Guy salutes you!)

Once you have forfeited that status, you are no longer an amateur golfer. Should professional golf not feel sufficiently fulfilling, or you just want to stay in touch with your inner hacker, you remain free to carry as many left-handed clubs as you’d like along with your right-handed clubs, so long as the total in your bag doesn’t exceed 14.

Sidenote: Mac O’Grady, the former Tour pro and swing guru who competed right-handed and played to scratch left-handed, once tried to enter an unofficial PGA Tour two-man better-ball tournament by himself, playing one ball righty and one lefty. The request was denied.

Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to rulesguy@golf.com. We promise he won’t throw the book at you.