On Monday, the USGA and R&A announced good news for amateurs: beginning on January 1, 2020, the previously verboten acceptance of big prizes for hole-in-ones will be eliminated, and Rule 3-2b of the Rules of Amateur Status will be updated to say the following:
“An amateur golfer may accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during a round of golf on a golf course. An amateur golfer may also accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for making a hole-in-one during contests held outside a round of golf, including multiple-entry contests and contests conducted other than on a golf course (e.g., on a driving range, golf simulator or putting green) provided in all cases that the length of the shot is at least 50 yards.”
As the Rules of Amateur Status currently stand, a player may not accept a prize in excess of $750 without a forfeit of his or her amateur status.
The update to the Rule is the first of what appears to be many to come. In a press release, the USGA and R&A jointly announced that the governing bodies will continue to modernize the Rules with a thorough review of existing amateur status guidelines, and will seek input from elite amateur golfers, golf event organizers, national golf associations, professional golf associations and other industry partners.
“It is our goal to ensure that the fundamental concept of what it means to be an amateur golfer is clear and retained to promote fair competition and enjoyment for everyone, while still addressing many issues that seek to protect the game,” said Thomas Pagel, senior managing director of Governance at the USGA. “This is a forward-thinking approach and engaging golfers is a key component of doing what’s best for golf.”
The goal of the review is to have a modernized set of Amateur Status Rules in place by late 2021, which will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
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