Josh Hill in action at the Jacques Leglise Trophy
Josh Hill is one of the top amateurs in the UAE Image Credit: R&A Twitter

This week the R&A and USGA introduced the much-awaited new Rules of Amateur Status to the world of golf.

Gulf News examined in detail what impact these changes may have on the UAE and regional golf scene.

The new rules, coming into effect on January 1, streamline the previous restrictions and reflect the modernisation of both golf and as well as comparing it to other sports around the world from an amateur and professional perspective of principles.

Amateur golfers may now receive up to $1,000 in prize money for competing in stroke-play competitions, as well as other non-cash prizes for competing in handicap competitions. Amateurs may also accept cash prizes from competing in non-tee-to-green events such as long drive championships and putting competitions.

The most welcome change with these rules is for elite amateur golfers in the UAE, the region and around the world.

All the rules on ‘NIL’ (name, image and likeness) have been discarded, so elite amateurs can, from the introduction of these new rules and regulations, sign with sponsors and still maintain their amateur status.

Finally, the existing amateur rules — not being allowed to compete professionally or accept payment for either instruction or employment as a golf professional, still remain.

It has also been clarified that if an amateur plays in a professional tournament with prize money, he or she will not be able to receive any prize money for their performance, as they entered on the basis of being an amateur.

So, for all those golfers in the UAE and around the world excited about the amateur status rules and the future of golf in just a couple of months, they should all relax.

It will not be changing their lifestyles or careers, unless you are an elite amateur, and there are a few of these in the UAE and this region.