January 12, 2006

New USGA Rule Makes Hole In One Winners Amateurs Again

As some of you may have heard, the USGA revised its rules regarding the loss of amateur status for hole in one contest winners this past summer. What you may not be aware of though are the intricacies of this new ruling. While it is indeed true that hole in one prize winners by and large no longer forfeit their amateur status, there are several instances in which making a hole in one and accepting a prize does in fact still make you a "professional" in the eyes of the USGA.

The key requirement found in the provision is the fact that in order to retain your amateur status, the hole in one must be made "while playing golf". Thus, if you were to make a hole in one during a shootout, at a driving range or in a simulator, accepting a prize for that ace would be grounds for status forfeiture. In addition, all putting contest and closest to the pin winners still lose their amateur status.

It should be noted, however, that the $750 prize limit still appies to all golf contests. If the hole in one prize that you accept is under that value, then there are no circumstances under which you would lose your amateur status.

While such technicalities don't affect many golfers, US Hole In One does frequently encounter hole in one contest winners who, as excellent amateur players, must weigh the costs of accepting the prize. And while these distinctions may seem unimportant, if you forfeit your status as an amateur golfer, you are no longer permitted to participate in amateur-only events such as club championships, member-guest outings, and many other golf tournaments.