Previously, prizes for holing a tee shot in amateur golf have been subject to the same restrictions as other competitions, but a rule change – which comes into effect onJanuary 1, 2012 – acknowledges the special nature of a hole-in-one and, consequently, restrictions on prizes have been lifted.
So no longer is the chance of winning a brand new car the sole preserve of professionals in a Tour event. An ‘ordinary’ club or society day can now be enlivened with a ‘Win a Car’ hole-in-one competition or a £1,000,000 shoot-out for as little as a few pounds per player with prize insurance specialist WorldWide Hole ‘N One.
WorldWide Hole ‘N One’s managing director, Brian Luckhurst, believes the new rule could spark a sea change in ‘ordinary’ golf days. He said: “This amendment brings us in line with the USGA; American amateurs have been able to enjoy these fantastic events at club, society and corporate days for some time. But previously, under R&A rules, winning anything over £500 meant you had to forego your amateur status to claim the prize.
“The R&A has realised that in order to add something extra to the sport and encourage more participation there needed to be some added gloss – a bit of razzamatazz if you like. The opportunity to win a car or even £1,000,000 with a single shot certainly does that.
“And it’s not as if the organisers have to fork out the cash if it’s won – they insure against it with a specialist such as WorldWide Hole ‘N One and the insurer takes the hit should somebody win.
“It will add a whole new element to golf days and offers an extra frisson of excitement to an event which can still feature the traditional nearest-the-pin and longest-drive competitions. The possibility of walking away with £1,000,000 or driving away in a sparkling new BMW, however, makes the whole day that much more enticing – which means more revenue for the host club.
“Now, boats, holidays and even houses can be won by an amateur golfer for their shot of a lifetime, without the threat of relinquishing their amateur status hanging over them like the sword of Damocles.”
In a press release issued by the R&A, golf ambassador and world number two Suzann Pettersen, fromNorway, said: “I think this is a really good change. Anyone who makes a hole-in-one knows there is a degree of luck. Most professional tournaments offer hole-in-one prizes and it adds some real interest for the players and the fans. It is great to think that club golfers can now experience that same excitement.”
Dream prizes are offered weekly on TV shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Million Pound Drop and Red or Black, and WorldWide Hole ‘N One – and its subsidiary WorldWide Special Risks – insure such exciting prizes for media companies and global consumer brands including The Telegraph, Capital FM, Callaway, Volvo, Saab, Chicago Town Pizza and many more.