Going to College Archive

Do You Know the Rules of Amateur Status?

Learn quickly by reading the new USGA and NCAA document!

If you’ve been pursuing college golf for any length of time, you’ve likely heard about the importance of following the rules related to recruiting, academic eligibility, and amateur status. Junior golfers who want to play college golf should be aware of the key rules and timelines that must be fulfilled. Visiting the The NCAA Eligibility Center and the previous Going to College article, What is the Purpose of the NCAA Eligibility Center?, are two suggested resources to get you up to speed.

But, let’s talk a little more about amateurism. As I work with junior golf families, I’m often asked whether it’s permissible to receive reimbursements for competition-related expenses, to accept prizes in tournaments, or to take advantage of free equipment provided by golf manufacturers—and these are just a few items creating uncertainty. Fortunately, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the NCAA have worked together to create an excellent “info-graphic” document, Knowing Your Amateur Status & Preparing For College Golf, to help. This resource features the most pertinent frequently asked questions (FAQs) to keep in mind so you can benefit from opportunities and maintain good standing as an amateur player. Just to give you an introduction, here are a few FAQ highlights:


    Q: Which competition-related expenses are reimbursable?

    A: Entry fees, transportation, lodging, practice fees, caddie fees, and meals.

    Q: What can I accept when I win awards or prizes at a tournament?

    A: Merchandise and prize vouchers valued at $750 or less. No cash or scholarships.

    Q: Can I accept free or discounted golf equipment?

    A: Yes. Must be received from the manufacturer or distributor.

More than a dozen rules are covered in a simple, straightforward fashion. As you review the document, you’ll see that certain conditions and restrictions applying to many of the rules are addressed. Please note that these rules apply to junior golfers and are subject to change in the future (beyond this writing, as of December 2016). USGA Rules of Amateur Status and the NCAA amateurism legislation have different regulations, and you should contact these organizations to confirm you are proceeding in a compliant fashion when you have questions. Additionally, be sure to check with your state high school athletic association, as certain benefits may not be permissible. With this valuable information in hand, you’ll be able to maximize available opportunities to support your junior golf endeavors. Plus, you will avoid pitfalls that could ultimately compromise your college career.

Playing by the rules is essential. Make sure your amateur status is intact as you continue your journey toward college golf!

To your future success,


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