News & Events

Amateur Status

Lars Holden casts his expert eye over the rich and varied landscape of amateur golf, where playing for the love of the game is king.

“Amateur Status” refers to golfers playing the game of golf for enjoyment. Golfers under amateur status rules do not play the game for financial gain, do not teach the game for financial gain and play simply for enjoyment.

An “Amateur Golf Tournament” is an event for amateur golfers who play for the love and enjoyment of competing with fellow golfers. Amateur golfers are entitled to win prizes and gifts of a certain value, but they should not at any stage take cash or prizes that exceed amateur status rules.
Of course, there are prizes and awards which go along with golf tournaments. The R&A, which sets the maximum limit on the value of prizes within amateur status, has set a limit of GBP500. The USGA limit is USD750.

Unfortunately, the rules are regularly flaunted in all parts of the world where the game is not governed in a professional and correct manner. In countries where the game is strictly controlled and managed by associations, players abide by the rules that govern their amateur status. In Vietnam, we see amateur status rules broken most weekends and I only hope over time this problem will be better managed and rules correctly governed.

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The level of prizes and lucky draws given away at amateur events must follow the laws and rules on prize money set by the R&A who govern the game worldwide. If a player receives/accepts a gift/prize over the maximum value they are deemed to have broken their status as an amateur golfer and cannot compete in such events for a period of time. Hole-in-one prizes are treated differently and are not subject to the same limit.

It is essential for golf and its future in Vietnam that amateur status rules are followed. Currently, Vietnam does not enforce such rules and in many cases club events are promoted around the fact that their prizes are of high value. For the game to fall in line with the world golf rules, the VGA needs to put in place guidance to ensure amateur status rules are followed.

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Professional events are prize money events where competing players play the game as a job and for a living. Professional events should be played by professional golfers or inviting amateurs. But, such amateurs cannot receive prize money when participating. Professional events are also promoted for amateur golfers to watch and hopefully learn ways to improve their game. Amateur events are played for the love and enjoyment of golf as well as fair competition. In developed golfing countries, the Club Championship is the most prestigious event, played between club members with strong and fair competition, and only for the honour of being the Club Champion, not winning any prizes.

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