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,



Parents and Junior Golfers New to Going to College? Start Here!

Are You Prepared to Pursue College Golf?

Coaches Finding & Evaluating Players

    When is the Best Time to Communicate with Coaches?
    When Should Junior Golf Prospects Expect to Receive Offers from College Coaches?
    Should I Communicate a Poor Performance to a College Coach?
    Are You Waiting for Tournament Success Before Contacting College Golf Coaches?
    Who Should Speak When Meeting with Coaches – Parents or the Student-Athlete?
    Do College Coaches Use Swing Videos To Evaluate Recruits?
    Do Coaches Really Care About Academics?
    Do You Have the Game to Play College Golf?
    How Do College Coaches Work Junior Tournaments?
    How Do College Golf Coaches Discover Talent?

Finding the Right School - Your "Best Fit"

    What Can You Learn from College Golf’s Post-Season Championships?
    How Do College Golf Scores Compare to Junior Golf Scores?
    How Do I Know Which Schools Are “Best Fits” for Me?
    How Do I Remain Proactive in Identifying My “Best Fit”?
    Is a Walk-On Opportunity the “Best Fit” for Me?
    What Are the Real Keys to a Successful College Golf Recruiting Experience?
    What Useful Information Can I Research on a Golf Team's Website?
    When Should Junior Golfers Begin Visiting and Researching Colleges?
    What’s the Story on Division II and Division III Golf Programs?
    Are Unofficial Visits to College Campuses Necessary?
    Should Junior Golfers Attend Collegiate Tournaments?
    Just How Big is College Golf?
    What questions should I ask a college coach during a campus visit?
    Where Should I Attend College to Study and Play Golf?

Playing in College

    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part Two
    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part One
    Are College Golfers Expected to Take Part in a Conditioning Program?
    What’s the Story on Club Golf?
    What Is Your Ideal Time Commitment for Playing Golf in College?
    What Can You Expect From a College Golf Tournament?
    Are You Practicing to Play the Odds?
    Am I good enough to play Division I golf?
    What does it mean to Redshirt?
    How Do I Prepare for my Freshman Year in College?
    How Important Is Time Management for Student-Athletes at the Collegiate Level?
    What Is a Typical Week Like in the Life of a College Golfer?
    Is College Golf an Individual Sport?
    What are the main differences between junior golf and college golf?
    What Commitment Level is Necessary for Junior Golfers to Become Successful Collegiate Student-Athletes?

Playing Junior Golf

    Do You Know the Rules of Amateur Status?
    What Academic Habits Are Essential for a High School Student-Athlete?
    Are There Benefits to Playing on a High School Golf Team?
    Is playing a practice round important?
    Is There More to Golf Than a Score?
    You Have Completed the College Placement Process—Now What?
    Is It a Good Idea To Withdraw After a Poor Round?
    How Can a Junior Golfer Improve His Practice Sessions?

Promoting Yourself – Being Visible

    What Should Junior Golfers Do Before Their High School Years To Start Pursuing College Golf?
    How Can Golf Recruits Maximize Visibility Among College Coaches?
    When and How Should I Initiate a Phone Call to a College Coach?
    Is Your Written Communication to Coaches Sending the Right Message?
    What Information Should Prospects Send to College Golf Coaches?
    Will Playing AJGA Events Increase My Chances of Earning a College Scholarship?
    What Should Recruits Say When Coaches Call Them?
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 2
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 1

Recruiting & Scholarships

    Are You Prepared to Pursue College Golf?
    How Should I Respond When a Coach Makes an Offer?
    How Do the NCAA’s Recent Rules Changes Affect You?
    Is the College Recruiting Process Putting Too Much Pressure on You?
    When Should I Apply to Colleges?
    What is the Purpose of the NCAA Eligibility Center?
    What Is a Parent’s Role During a Campus Visit?
    Can Facebook or a Social Network Site Affect How I am Recruited?
    What Should I Do if I Didn’t Sign a National Letter of Intent in the Early Signing Period?
    What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer During a Campus Visit?
    What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Scholarships?
    How do I know if a School is Really Interested in Recruiting Me?
    How do Players Verbally Commit to Schools so Early in the Process?
    As a Rising Senior Is It Too Late To Be Recruited?
    What is a Parent's Role in the Recruiting Process?
    When Should Junior Golfers Sign the NLI?
    What is a Full Scholarship?