The R&A, golf’s world governing body and organiser of The Open Championship, today announced revisions to the Rules of Amateur Status that provide amateur golfers with the opportunity to receive payment for giving golf instruction and reduce the waiting time of those who have breached the Rules, but who wish to return to amateur status. The changes to the Rules and their interpretations come into effect from 1 January 2006.
A new Instruction Rule provides that an amateur golfer may be paid for coaching golf for the first time as part of an “approved programme”. Under the new Rules on reinstatement, the time amateur golfers in breach of the Rules have to wait before they regain their amateur status is reduced. The new guideline of 1-2 years brings these waiting periods in line with those for professional golfers returning to the amateur game.
These are the principal changes to The R&A’s Rules of Amateur Status which, together with the Amateur Status Decisions book, have been significantly redrafted after a comprehensive, two-year review. The R&A’s affiliated unions from around the world have played a full part in the review and The R&A has liaised closely with the United States Golf Association throughout. The USGA’s decision to make equivalent changes to its Amateur Code and to allow amateur golfers in the United States to receive expenses in individual competitions (which has been allowed under The R&A’s Rules for many years) means that the respective Amateur Codes of The R&A and USGA are more closely aligned than ever before.
The two Codes diverge on only one matter – hole-in-one prizes. In the new R&A Code, acceptance of an excessive prize remains a breach of the Rules but carries a much reduced period awaiting reinstatement. The new USGA Code will allow amateur golfers to accept hole-in-one prizes of any value.
Commenting on the new Rules, David Rickman, The R&A’s Director of Rules and Equipment Standards said: “I believe that the new Instruction Rule will greatly assist the worldwide development of the game by bringing coaching to remote areas where professional tuition is often not available. The R&A and USGA have made excellent progress towards a single Code for amateur golfers throughout the world.”
The new Rules effective January 2006 are available to download in full on www.randa.org.