When Does Sponsorship Breach The Rules Of Golf

We get lots of questions regarding sponsorship and how that effects an amateur’s status. All this is outlined in the Rules of Golf according to the USGA (and R&A). Here are some points to consider

      • An amateur golfer of skill or reputation cannot use that skill or reputation to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit, or financial gain for promoting, advertising or selling anything or allowing his or her name or likeness to be used to promote, advertise or sell anything. An amateur golfer of skill or reputation has the ability to garner more attention and recognition, making him more marketable than his amateur peers. (Rule 6)
      • The Rules allow amateur golfers to receive expenses to play in individual events, including both amateur and professional events. These expenses, categorized as “competition expenses” under the Rules include, but are not limited to, things like transportation and travel costs, hotel costs, meals, entry fees, and caddie fees. Typically, any expense related to participation or travel to a competition is considered a “competition expense.” However, there are limitations and only reasonable expenses may be received (e.g., coach airfare versus first-class airfare), and they must not exceed actual expenses incurred. If expenses exceed a certain amount, they should be administered by the player’s local golf association (Rule 4)
      • An amateur golfer cannot enter a contact or agreement to receive financial benefit, compensation or payment of any kind while still an amateur golfer. (Rule 2)

    So, sponsorship and contractual sponsor representation does in fact cross the line. It is good to know that “competition expenses” can be covered, but receipt of monies in excess of said expenses could be considered a breach of the rules.

    For more information regarding amateur status contact the USGA Amateur Status Department at (908) 326-1025 or [email protected].