Golf's amateur status and voucher madness - Ivan Morris

Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris

AN amateur golfer may not accept any prize of retail value more than £500stg, or the equivalent.

The guidelines apply to all golfers irrespective of their reputation or ability and one wonders about a prize given locally recently of a set of PING Irons and matching bag?

Obviously, playing for cash prizes is not permitted UNLESS in relation to a hole-in-one or for a recognised charity, where the organisers have sought prior approval from the Governing Body.

What is Acceptable:

1. Accept a prize for a hole-in-one of any value, including cash.

2. Accept an expenses-paid trip as a prize provided it is worth no more than the prize limit and it is not for the purpose of playing in a golf competition.

3. Accept prize vouchers and thereafter on the production of applicable receipts be reimbursed for expenses incurred in competing in a golf competition.

Expenses and Funding (Rule 4 and Rule 6-5) that ARE allowed:

1. Accept free food and drink at a golf competition, provided the same is offered to all competitors.

2. Receive financial support from a member of one's family.

3. Receive expenses while playing in a team event.

4. Receive financial assistance for participation in individual events provided such funds are disbursed by the national association, or where authorised, his club.

5. Receive expenses for participating in an exhibition match in aid of a recognised charity.

6. Accept reasonable subsistence expenses, not exceeding actual expenses incurred, to assist with general living costs. The expenses must be approved by and paid through the player’s national association.

7. Accept an educational scholarship whose terms and conditions have been approved by the golfer’s Governing Body.

(Rule 6) An amateur of 'golf skill or reputation' may:

1. Accept equipment free of charge from a manufacturer, provided no advertising is involved.

2. Have his name embossed on golf equipment and clothing.

The golf equipment or clothing may bear only the name of the manufacturer of the equipment or clothing in addition to the name of the player.

3. As a member of a team, have the logo of a sponsor on his golf bag or clothing in addition to the name and/or emblem of the team.

An amateur of golf skill or reputation must not:

1. Use his name to advertise or sell anything.

2. Display his name, or if sponsored the sponsor’s name, on a motor car.

3. Accept payment or compensation for broadcasting, writing, or allowing his name to be used as author, on any material concerning golf unless he is actually the author and instruction in playing golf is not included.

4. Accept honorary membership, or membership at a reduced rate, as an inducement to play for a Golf Club.

(Rule 5) An amateur golfer must not give instruction in playing golf for payment or compensation, other than as part of an instructional programme approved by the Governing Body.

(Rule 2) An amateur golfer may:

1. Enquire as to his likely prospects as a professional golfer, including applying unsuccessfully for the position of a professional golfer but he cannot accept or retain membership of a professional golfers’ association.

2. Work as a shop assistant in a professional’s shop, be employed as a caddie, follow a career in golf course design or golf administration.

3. Play in any stage of a qualifying competition for a Professional Tour provided he waives his right to prize money.

4. Enter into a contract with his national association, provided that he does not obtain compensation.

5. Enter into a contract with a third party (including a professional agent or a sponsor), provided: he is at least 18 years of age, the contract or agreement is solely in relation to his future as a professional golfer and does not stipulate playing in certain events as an amateur golfer, and he does not obtain payment or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, while still an amateur.

Personally, I believe it would be helpful if the current voucher system was done away with altogether. At the moment, Golf Clubs must buy vouchers from the GUI (who pay for printing and distribution) and, then 'minds' them as if cash.

Every week, anything from 5-20 vouchers are given out as prizes at many clubs. Recipients present the vouchers to a retailer who mails the voucher back to the GC, a cheque is sent out, which has to be lodged; not very cost effective.

Not sure what vouchers cost but mailing them back and forth adds up. Each voucher issued must cost €5; multiply that per week, per annum.

The solution is to do away with the hypocrisy of money prizes. Members simply give their IBAN to the GC and the transaction is done electronically without any costs; no vouchers needed.

The concession that vouchers can be submitted to the governing union and thereafter on the production of applicable receipts be reimbursed for expenses incurred competing in recognised competitions is a good move.

Tiger is limerick bound

Tournament host JP McManus has welcomed the news of Tiger Woods’s addition to the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am field. The well-supported event takes place July 6th - 7th 2020 at the Tom Fazio redesigned Golf Course at Adare Manor. If the Limerick hurlers can retain their All Ireland title you can bet your bottom dollar the Liam MacCarthy Cup will be proudly on display and Tiger will get to hold it.

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