Amateur Status

The Amateur Status Committee of Golf Canada defines an amateur as someone who plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit-making sport and who does not receive remuneration for teaching golf or for other activities because of golf skill or reputation.

Prizes in amateur events are limited to a retail value of $1000.

Yet players may receive expenses to play in competitions, accept golf scholarships and make inquiries as to the possibilities of becoming a professional, including playing in a qualifying event provided, if prize money is available, a waiver to any prize money is signed prior to playing.

The purpose and spirit of the rules is to keep the amateur game as free as possible from the abuses which may follow from uncontrolled sponsorship and financial incentive and to safeguard the rules of play and handicapping so that golf can be fully enjoyed by all amateur golfers.

Guidelines for Competitive Golfers

Golfers who have low handicaps and compete in high-level competitions should be keenly aware of the Rules of Amateur Status. Several Rules of Amateur Status apply only to golfers of “skill or reputation”.

A golfer is considered to have skill or reputation is they are successful at the provincial level or compete at the national level, but it is a matter for Golf Canada to decide whether a particular golfer has skill or reputation.

Waiver Form

In the event an amateur golfer wishes to compete in an event where cash prizes are available, in order to preserve the player`s amateur status a Waiver Form must be completed and signed prior to the commencement of play and submitted to the organizer. Failure to complete and submit a waiver form in a competition in which cash prizes are being awarded will result in immediate forfeiture of amateur status, regardless of whether any cash prize is actually won.

Please click here for the form.

Free Equipment

The Note to Rule 6-2 permits an Amateur to accept equipment from anyone provided no advertising is involved, and subject to limits prescribed by the Governing Body (Golf Canada.)   The following guidelines apply to this exception to the Rules of Amateur Status:

An Amateur Golfer of golf skill or golf reputation may accept golf balls, clubs, merchandise, clothing or shoes free of charge from a manufacturer, provided that no advertising is involved.

With regard to golf bags, it is permissible for the bag to bear the name of the manufacturer in large letters but, if it does, the golfer must not also arrange for his own name to appear on the bag in large letters.  If he does, he may be deemed to be advertising the merchandise of that manufacturer and shall be liable to forfeit his Amateur Status.   The same applies to bag covers and hold all bags.

If an Amateur golfer purchases the golf bag himself and in addition to the name of the manufacturer in large letters, puts his own name in large letters, there would be no breach of the Rule for someone who is not of “golf skill or reputation.”   For the purpose of identification, it is recommended that the player’s name should appear on a bag tag attached to the bag, or on a printed card or in very small print discreetly positioned on the bag itself.

Amateurs are warned that they must on no account sell golf balls or any other equipment received free of charge from manufacturers.   If they do, they will be liable to forfeit their Amateur Status for a breach of the definition of an Amateur.

With effect from January 1, 2000 it has been agreed that members of the Canadian Golf Industry Association (CGIA) will be informed that any Amateur golfer must not be supplied with merchandise exceeding the following.   The manufacturer must keep records on an annual basis of all merchandise supplied free:

  1. (1) 24 dozen or more golf balls per year.
  2. (2) 1 set of golf clubs per year.
  3. (3) 1 golf bag per year
  4. (4) 1 pair of golf shoes per year.
  5. (5) 1 set of rainwear per year.


Rule 6-5 of Golf Canada’s Rules of Amateur Status pertains to Grants, Scholarships and Bursaries. The rule reads as follows:

” An Amateur of golf skill or reputation must not accept the benefits of a grant, scholarship or bursary unless the terms and conditions thereof have been approved by the Governing Body. ”

To assist those who wish to donate a scholarship or establish a scholarship fund, and for those who wish to accept a scholarship, Golf Canada has set down the following guidelines.

1. Academic versus Athletic

Scholarships awarded on only academic ability are not in violation of the Rules of Amateur Status. The Amateur Status Committee of Golf Canada must approve all scholarships awarded in Canada, where golf skill is a factor in the selection process.

2. Procedure

Scholarship funds may only be paid to the educational institution. The scholar/recipient may receive the money directly or indirectly through the educational institution.

3. Purposes

The recipient may use the money for educational purposes including cost of tuition, books, room and board, but also including golfing related activities when such activities (events/clinics) are authorized and controlled by the institution the recipient is attending.

The expenses of the recipient may be paid by the institution for the following purposes:

  • (a) Costs of coaching;
  • (b) Travel and living expenses for coaching;
  • (c) Equipment; and
  • (d) Travel and living expenses to play in team events or inter-university individual events.

The recipient or the donor may not use the money for the following:

  • (a) Expenses for non-university individual events;
  • (b) Caddie fees

4. USA Scholarships & NCAA Scholarships

It is the current policy of Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Committee to automatically permit Amateur golfers to accept golf scholarships in universities or colleges in the USA provided they comply with the United States Golf Association Rules of Amateur Status which permits a scholarship or grant-in-aid to be accepted if it accords with the regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the Association of Inter-Collegiate Athletics for Women.

Note 1: An Amateur golfer, normally a resident of Canada, who accepts a scholarship in the USA under Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Rules, is permitted to play in Amateur or Open events in Canada or elsewhere during vacations.

Note 2: Following are other restrictions under the Rules of Amateur Status pertaining to an Amateur accepting a scholarship in the USA: (a) If traveling to play in Amateur events in Canada or elsewhere he must not accept free transport to or from Canada at the beginning or end of his university course or during vacations. (b) He must on no account enter into any contract to become a Professional golfer at the end of his university course (Rule 2-1). (c) He must comply with the Rules of Amateur Status applicable to the country where he is playing.

5. Approved Scholarships, Bursaries or Grants

Any donor, or individual who desires to receive approval of a scholarship, bursary or grant, or desires to know if one has been approved, should in writing give all details of the scholarship, bursary or grant to:

Director of Amateur Status – Golf Canada
Golf House
1333 Dorval Drive, Suite 1
Oakville, Ontario
L6M 4X7

Funding Amateur Golfers

Amateur golfers are permitted to receive funding from a number of sources to assist with the costs of training for and competing in golf competitions. Examples of such funding may include monies from a Club, sponsor, a local council grant or award, a government lottery award or a scholarship or bursary to attend a College or University. An Amateur may use such funds to assist with expenses that relate directly to training for and competing in golf events. Although not exhaustive, the following are examples of expenses that may be funded on behalf of an Amateur:

  • coaching costs, including tuition fees and travel and living expenses (this would also include warm weather coaching);
  • traveling, living costs and caddie fees incurred at golf events. In the case of an international event such as the United States Amateur Championship the approval of the body staging the event is required (i.e. the USGA);
  • golf equipment (including any clothing worn on a golf course);
  • golf Club fees;
  • medical treatment (e.g. physiotherapy) for conditions specifically affecting the playing of golf;
  • costs incurred in respect of fitness training.

However, the Definition of an “Amateur” provides that a golfer plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit making sport and, therefore, there are restrictions on how such monies may be used by the recipient. In this respect, it is not permissible for monies to be used to cover the individual’s day-to-day living expenses that are not directly related to training for and competing in golf events. Although not exhaustive, the following are examples of expenses that may not be funded on behalf of an Amateur:

  • general related living expenses, e.g. food, accommodation, etc;
  • traveling costs not related to golf;
  • non-golf related clothing;
  • general medical treatment.

As stated above, the lists of permissible and prohibited uses of funding do not cover every eventuality and there may be other ways in which an Amateur may seek to use such monies. If an Amateur is in any doubt concerning a proposed use of funding he should contact the Amateur Status Committee for guidance. A Club, sponsor, government agency or other body giving monies to an Amateur to assist with golf related expenses may not pay such monies directly to the individual. Such monies must be lodged with Golf Canada or the individual’s Provincial Golf Association and will be disbursed in accordance with procedures laid down by Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Committee. An Amateur in receipt of financial assistance and those providing such assistance should be aware that the player cannot advertise the source of the funding – see Rule 6-2 (Promotion, Advertising and Sales). If any doubt arises in this respect, the player or the provider of the assistance should contact Golf Canada’s Amateur Status Committee for guidance.

Reinstatement Information

A golfer who has breached the Rules of Amateur Status and wishes to be reinstated as an amateur golfer must apply for reinstatement to amateur status.

A candidate must download the applicable application form below and submit it to the appropriate association. The application will then be forwarded to Golf Canada for final processing.

Former or resigning members of the PGA of Canada may submit the application directly to the PGA of Canada in Acton, Ontario.

Contact information for the PGA of Canada can be found here. As well, links to each provincial association can be found at the bottom of every page on this website.

Policy on Gambling

An “amateur golfer”, whether he plays competitively or recreationally, is one who plays golf for the challenge it presents, not as a profession and not for financial gain.

Excessive financial incentive in amateur golf, which can result from some forms of gambling or wagering, could give rise to abuse of the Rules both in play and in manipulation of handicaps to the detriment of the integrity of the game.

There is a distinction between playing for prize money (Rule 3-1), gambling or wagering that is contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2), and forms of gambling or wagering that do not, of themselves, breach the Rules. An amateur golfer or a Committee in charge of a competition where amateur golfers are competing should consult with the Governing Body if in any doubt as to the application of the Rules.

In the absence of such guidance, it is recommended that no cash prizes be awarded so as to ensure that the Rules are upheld.

Acceptable Forms of Gambling
There is no objection to informal gambling or wagering among individual golfers or teams of golfers when it is incidental to the game. It is not practicable to define informal gambling or wagering precisely, but features that would be consistent with such gambling or wagering include:

  • the players in general know each other ;
  • participation in the gambling or wagering is optional and is limited to the players;
  • the sole source of all money won by the players is advanced by the players; and
  • the amount of money involved is not generally considered to be excessive

Therefore, informal gambling or wagering is acceptable provided the primary purpose is the playing of the game for enjoyment, not for financial gain.

Unacceptable Forms of Gambling

Organised events designed or promoted to create cash prizes are not permitted. Golfers participating in such events without first irrevocably waiving their right to prize money are deemed to be playing for prize money, in breach of Rule 3-1.Other forms of gambling or wagering where there is a requirement for players to participate (e.g. compulsory sweepstakes) or that have the potential to involve considerable sums of money (e.g. calcuttas and auction sweepstakes – where players or teams are sold by auction) may be considered by a Governing Body to be contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2).

It is not practical to define unacceptable forms of gambling or wagering precisely, but features that would be consistent with unacceptable gambling or wagering include:

  • non-players being able to participate in the gambling or wagering;
  • amounts of money that could be considered excessive; and
  • reason to believe that the gambling or wagering has given or may give rise to abuses of the Rules of play or manipulation of handicaps to the detriment of the integrity of the game.

An amateur golfer’s participation in unacceptable gambling or wagering may be considered contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2) and may endanger his Amateur Status.

Note: The Rules of Amateur Status do not apply to betting or gambling by amateur golfers on the results of a competition limited to or specifically organized for professional golfers.

Rules of Amateur Status

Click here for the Rules of Amateur Status.