The Amateur Status Committee of Golf Canada defines an amateur as someone who plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit-making sport and who does not receive remuneration for teaching golf or for other activities because of golf skill or reputation.
Prizes in amateur events are limited to a retail value of $1000.
Yet players may receive expenses to play in competitions, accept golf scholarships and make inquiries as to the possibilities of becoming a professional, including playing in a qualifying event provided, if prize money is available, a waiver to any prize money is signed prior to playing.
The purpose and spirit of the rules is to keep the amateur game as free as possible from the abuses which may follow from uncontrolled sponsorship and financial incentive and to safeguard the rules of play and handicapping so that golf can be fully enjoyed by all amateur golfers.
Golf’s new Rules of Amateur Status have been published by The R&A and USGA ahead of coming into effect on January 1, 2022. Explore the new Rules of Amateur Status below.
* Rules of Amateur Status with Guidance Notes (effective January 1, 2022)
* Golf’s Modernized Rules of Amateur Status Published
Based on the NCAA’s interim policy on Name, Image and Likeness (“NIL”), which became effective July 1, 2021, Golf Canada will waive most NIL-related breaches of the Rules of Amateur Status for collegiate golfers through the end of 2021, so long as that golfer retains their NCAA playing eligibility.
To learn more about this interim policy and related guidance, including what this means for non-collegiate golfers and golf administrators, please click here.
Below are common questions related to the reinstatement of a golfer’s amateur status. If you have any questions about your situation, you are encouraged to contact the Golf Canada Amateur Status department (email@example.com) to ensure you are in compliance with the Rules.
What exactly is an applicant for reinstatement?
An applicant for reinstatement (A/R) is an individual who has applied for reinstatement to amateur status with a Governing Body (i.e. Golf Canada). This status is reserved only for someone in the formal process of regaining his or her amateur status. All A/Rs must comply with the Rules of Amateur Status to remain eligible for reinstatement upon completion of any waiting period that may be assigned after the Governing Body’s review of the application.
How can I be involved with the game during my waiting period?
While you must not enter or play in competitions reserved for amateur golfers, your playing opportunities are not completely restricted. Please refer to the “Competitions” section below for information regarding the events in which you can play.
There are also many other ways you can remain involved with the game while awaiting reinstatement. For example, you may provide instruction as a volunteer, work as a coach for a high school or college team, or work at a golf course, so long as you are not doing anything that breaches the Rules.
What does my reinstatement date mean?
This is the date on which you are eligible to be reinstated as an amateur golfer. It represents the end of your waiting period as an A/R. Please note, you are not automatically reinstated on your reinstatement date. Golf Canada performs a final review shortly before this date to confirm that you were in compliance with the Rules during your waiting period. If so, you will be reinstated.
What do I need to do to ensure I am reinstated?
You must comply with the Rules of Amateur Status during your waiting period. In other words, you must stay within the limits placed on amateur golfers and applicants for reinstatement. Shortly before your reinstatement date, Golf Canada will initiate correspondence to provide you the opportunity to confirm your compliance with the Rules during your waiting period.
What happens when my reinstatement date arrives?
After Golf Canada performs a final review, you will receive your reinstatement letter via e-mail. Note that you should not assume you have been reinstated until you receive your reinstatement letter from Golf Canada.
What if I no longer wish to be reinstated as an amateur golfer?
You are permitted to withdraw your application for reinstatement at any time prior to reinstatement. To withdraw, please contact Golf Canada.
Can I play in a competition limited to amateur golfers during my period awaiting reinstatement?
As you are not an amateur golfer until you have been reinstated, you cannot play in competitions limited to amateur golfers during your waiting period.
As an applicant for reinstatement, what golf competitions can I compete in?
While you may not play in a competition limited to amateur golfers, in general, you may play in any open competition, provided the competition would allow you to enter as an A/R.
If any prize money is available, you must waive your right to prize money before you begin the event. Additionally, you may not accept any prize reserved specifically for an amateur golfer in that event.
You may also enter competitions at your club provided you gain the approval from your club before you play. If you are representing your club in an inter-club competition, you must gain the approval of all clubs involved and/or the organizing Committee for that competition.
What should I do if the Committee in charge of a competition hasn’t asked for my playing status on an entry form or otherwise?
If the Committee has not asked, or the entry form does not give you the option to sign up as an applicant for reinstatement, to ensure you do not jeopardize your reinstatement, you should always inform them of your status before playing. Let the Committee know you are an A/R, meaning you have applied for reinstatement but have not yet regained your amateur status and would like to play in the competition. The Committee can then determine if you are eligible.
What if I play in a competition for which I’m not eligible?
If you play in a competition for which you are not eligible, you may be subject to an additional waiting period. Please contact the Golf Canada Amateur Status department as soon as possible.
Can I submit an entry for an amateur competition while I am still awaiting my reinstatement date?
It is up to the Committee in charge of the competition to determine if you may enter the competition.
If the Committee accepts your entry, it should confirm you have been reinstated prior to the start of the competition, including any qualifying rounds.
Additionally, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have been reinstated prior to playing as an amateur in the competition. If your reinstatement is delayed for any reason, and you play as an amateur prior to reinstatement, you may be subject to an additional waiting period.
GOLF CANADA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Can I apply for and play in Golf Canada Open Championships as an applicant for reinstatement?
For each of Golf Canada’s Open Championships (i.e. RBC Canadian Open, CP Women’s Pacific Open), you must indicate your status as an A/R when you submit your entry.
If you are reinstated as an amateur golfer prior to a qualifier for the championship or the championship proper, you would play in the qualifier or championship proper as an amateur. You should contact the official in charge to indicate your status change.
Can I apply for and play in Golf Canada Amateur Championships as an applicant for reinstatement?
It is Golf Canada’s policy that, to submit an entry for one of its amateur championships, you must be reinstated as an amateur golfer prior to the close of entries for that respective championship. For other competitions not conducted by Golf Canada, you should contact the Committee in charge to confirm its policy.
If you will be eligible for reinstatement prior to the close of entries for a Golf Canada amateur championship and you are considering submitting an entry before your reinstatement date, please contact the Golf Canada Amateur Status department to discuss your situation.
Can I play for prize money during my period awaiting reinstatement?
However, you may play in competitions where prize money is available, provided the competition organizers allow you to play as an A/R and you waive your right to prize money in advance of the competition.
What prizes can I accept?
You may accept a conforming prize in events at your club, so long as the club is aware of your status and allows you to play. Conforming prizes include commercial goods or prize vouchers (e.g., gift certificates) with a retail value of $750 or less. You may also accept a conforming prize in a competition in which you play as an A/R, so long as the prize is not meant solely for amateur golfers in that event.
Am I able to accept a prize for a hole-in-one?
You may accept any type of prize, including cash, for making a hole-in-one during a round of golf, so long as it is incidental to that round. For example, if an automobile is offered as a prize for making a hole-in-one on a particular hole of an 18-hole stroke-play competition, you may accept the car without violating the Rules.
However, you must not accept a cash prize, or other non-conforming prize, if you make a hole-in-one in a multiple-entry contest, a contest conducted at a driving range or golf simulator, or a putting contest.
Golfers who have low handicaps and compete in high-level competitions should be keenly aware of the Rules of Amateur Status. Several Rules of Amateur Status apply only to golfers of “skill or reputation”.
A golfer is considered to have skill or reputation is they are successful at the provincial level or compete at the national level, but it is a matter for Golf Canada to decide whether a particular golfer has skill or reputation.
In the event an amateur golfer wishes to compete in an event where cash prizes are available, in order to preserve the player`s amateur status a Waiver Form must be completed and signed prior to the commencement of play and submitted to the organizer. Failure to complete and submit a waiver form in a competition in which cash prizes are being awarded will result in immediate forfeiture of amateur status, regardless of whether any cash prize is actually won.
The Note to Rule 6-2 permits an Amateur to accept equipment from anyone provided no advertising is involved, and subject to limits prescribed by the Governing Body (Golf Canada.) The following guidelines apply to this exception to the Rules of Amateur Status:
An Amateur Golfer of golf skill or golf reputation may accept golf balls, clubs, merchandise, clothing or shoes free of charge from a manufacturer, provided that no advertising is involved.
With regard to golf bags, it is permissible for the bag to bear the name of the manufacturer in large letters but, if it does, the golfer must not also arrange for his own name to appear on the bag in large letters. If he does, he may be deemed to be advertising the merchandise of that manufacturer and shall be liable to forfeit his Amateur Status. The same applies to bag covers and hold all bags.
If an Amateur golfer purchases the golf bag himself and in addition to the name of the manufacturer in large letters, puts his own name in large letters, there would be no breach of the Rule for someone who is not of “golf skill or reputation.” For the purpose of identification, it is recommended that the player’s name should appear on a bag tag attached to the bag, or on a printed card or in very small print discreetly positioned on the bag itself.
Amateurs are warned that they must on no account sell golf balls or any other equipment received free of charge from manufacturers. If they do, they will be liable to forfeit their Amateur Status for a breach of the definition of an Amateur.
With effect from January 1, 2000 it has been agreed that members of the Canadian Golf Industry Association (CGIA) will be informed that any Amateur golfer must not be supplied with merchandise exceeding the following. The manufacturer must keep records on an annual basis of all merchandise supplied free:
- 24 dozen or more golf balls per year.
- 1 set of golf clubs per year.
- 1 golf bag per year
- 1 pair of golf shoes per year.
- 1 set of rainwear per year.
Rule 6-5 of Golf Canada’s Rules of Amateur Status pertains to Grants, Scholarships and Bursaries. The rule reads as follows:
“An Amateur of golf skill or reputation must not accept the benefits of a grant, scholarship or bursary unless the terms and conditions thereof have been approved by the Governing Body. “
To assist those who wish to donate a scholarship or establish a scholarship fund, and for those who wish to accept a scholarship, Golf Canada has set down the following guidelines.
(1) Academic versus Athletic
Scholarships awarded on only academic ability are not in violation of the Rules of Amateur Status. The Amateur Status Committee of Golf Canada must approve all scholarships awarded in Canada, where golf skill is a factor in the selection process.
Scholarship funds may only be paid to the educational institution. The scholar/recipient may receive the money directly or indirectly through the educational institution.
The recipient may use the money for educational purposes including cost of tuition, books, room and board, but also including golfing related activities when such activities (events/clinics) are authorized and controlled by the institution the recipient is attending.
The expenses of the recipient may be paid by the institution for the following purposes:
- Costs of coaching;
- Travel and living expenses for coaching;
- Equipment; and
- Travel and living expenses to play in team events or inter-university individual events.
The recipient or the donor may not use the money for the following:
- Expenses for non-university individual events;
- Caddie fees
(4) USA Scholarships & NCAA Scholarships
It is the current policy of Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Committee to automatically permit Amateur golfers to accept golf scholarships in universities or colleges in the USA provided they comply with the United States Golf Association Rules of Amateur Status which permits a scholarship or grant-in-aid to be accepted if it accords with the regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the Association of Inter-Collegiate Athletics for Women.
Note 1: An Amateur golfer, normally a resident of Canada, who accepts a scholarship in the USA under Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Rules, is permitted to play in Amateur or Open events in Canada or elsewhere during vacations.
Note 2: Following are other restrictions under the Rules of Amateur Status pertaining to an Amateur accepting a scholarship in the USA: (a) If traveling to play in Amateur events in Canada or elsewhere he must not accept free transport to or from Canada at the beginning or end of his university course or during vacations. (b) He must on no account enter into any contract to become a Professional golfer at the end of his university course (Rule 2-1). (c) He must comply with the Rules of Amateur Status applicable to the country where he is playing.
(5) Approved Scholarships, Bursaries or Grants
Any donor, or individual who desires to receive approval of a scholarship, bursary or grant, or desires to know if one has been approved, should in writing give all details of the scholarship, bursary or grant to:
Director of Amateur Status – Golf Canada
1333 Dorval Drive, Suite 1
Funding Amateur Golfers
Amateur golfers are permitted to receive funding from a number of sources to assist with the costs of training for and competing in golf competitions. Examples of such funding may include monies from a Club, sponsor, a local council grant or award, a government lottery award or a scholarship or bursary to attend a College or University. An Amateur may use such funds to assist with expenses that relate directly to training for and competing in golf events. Although not exhaustive, the following are examples of expenses that may be funded on behalf of an Amateur:
- coaching costs, including tuition fees and travel and living expenses (this would also include warm weather coaching);
- traveling, living costs and caddie fees incurred at golf events. In the case of an international event such as the United States Amateur Championship the approval of the body staging the event is required (i.e. the USGA);
- golf equipment (including any clothing worn on a golf course);
- golf Club fees;
- medical treatment (e.g. physiotherapy) for conditions specifically affecting the playing of golf;
- costs incurred in respect of fitness training.
However, the Definition of an “Amateur” provides that a golfer plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit making sport and, therefore, there are restrictions on how such monies may be used by the recipient. In this respect, it is not permissible for monies to be used to cover the individual’s day-to-day living expenses that are not directly related to training for and competing in golf events. Although not exhaustive, the following are examples of expenses that may not be funded on behalf of an Amateur:
- general related living expenses, e.g. food, accommodation, etc;
- traveling costs not related to golf;
- non-golf related clothing;
- general medical treatment.
As stated above, the lists of permissible and prohibited uses of funding do not cover every eventuality and there may be other ways in which an Amateur may seek to use such monies. If an Amateur is in any doubt concerning a proposed use of funding he should contact the Amateur Status Committee for guidance. A Club, sponsor, government agency or other body giving monies to an Amateur to assist with golf related expenses may not pay such monies directly to the individual. Such monies must be lodged with Golf Canada or the individual’s Provincial Golf Association and will be disbursed in accordance with procedures laid down by Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Committee. An Amateur in receipt of financial assistance and those providing such assistance should be aware that the player cannot advertise the source of the funding – see Rule 6-2 (Promotion, Advertising and Sales). If any doubt arises in this respect, the player or the provider of the assistance should contact Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Committee for guidance.
A golfer who has breached the Rules of Amateur Status and wishes to be reinstated as an amateur golfer must apply for reinstatement to amateur status.
A candidate must download the applicable application form below and submit it to the appropriate association. The application will then be forwarded to Golf Canada for final processing.
Former or resigning members of the PGA of Canada may submit the application directly to the PGA of Canada in Acton, Ontario.
Contact information for the PGA of Canada can be found here. As well, links to each provincial association can be found at the bottom of every page on this website.
An “amateur golfer”, whether he plays competitively or recreationally, is one who plays golf for the challenge it presents, not as a profession and not for financial gain.
Excessive financial incentive in amateur golf, which can result from some forms of gambling or wagering, could give rise to abuse of the Rules both in play and in manipulation of handicaps to the detriment of the integrity of the game.
There is a distinction between playing for prize money (Rule 3-1), gambling or wagering that is contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2), and forms of gambling or wagering that do not, of themselves, breach the Rules. An amateur golfer or a Committee in charge of a competition where amateur golfers are competing should consult with the Governing Body if in any doubt as to the application of the Rules.
In the absence of such guidance, it is recommended that no cash prizes be awarded so as to ensure that the Rules are upheld.
ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF GAMBLING
There is no objection to informal gambling or wagering among individual golfers or teams of golfers when it is incidental to the game. It is not practicable to define informal gambling or wagering precisely, but features that would be consistent with such gambling or wagering include:
- the players in general know each other ;
- participation in the gambling or wagering is optional and is limited to the players;
- the sole source of all money won by the players is advanced by the players; the amount of money involved is not generally considered to be excessive
Therefore, informal gambling or wagering is acceptable provided the primary purpose is the playing of the game for enjoyment, not for financial gain.
UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF GAMBLING
Organized events designed or promoted to create cash prizes are not permitted. Golfers participating in such events without first irrevocably waiving their right to prize money are deemed to be playing for prize money, in breach of Rule 3-1.Other forms of gambling or wagering where there is a requirement for players to participate (e.g. compulsory sweepstakes) or that have the potential to involve considerable sums of money (e.g. calcuttas and auction sweepstakes – where players or teams are sold by auction) may be considered by a Governing Body to be contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2).
It is not practical to define unacceptable forms of gambling or wagering precisely, but features that would be consistent with unacceptable gambling or wagering include:
- non-players being able to participate in the gambling or wagering;
- amounts of money that could be considered excessive;
- reason to believe that the gambling or wagering has given or may give rise to abuses of the Rules of play or manipulation of handicaps to the detriment of the integrity of the game.
An amateur golfer’s participation in unacceptable gambling or wagering may be considered contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2) and may endanger his Amateur Status.
Note: The Rules of Amateur Status do not apply to betting or gambling by amateur golfers on the results of a competition limited to or specifically organized for professional golfers.
RULES OF AMATEUR STATUS
Click here for the full Rules of Amateur Status