GUI reduce value limit of prizes for amateurs

The maximum price of a prize for amateurs will be brought down from €750 to €575

Amateur prize limits will be reduced in a new initiative brought in by the GUI. Photo: Darren Kidd/Inpho

Amateur prize limits will be reduced in a new initiative brought in by the GUI. Photo: Darren Kidd/Inpho

 

Those golfers nurturing handicaps with an eye on contending for the captain’s prize this year will have to place greater emphasis on the honour of the accomplishment rather than on the size of the materialistic prize, following initiatives from the GUI and the ILGU - the national governing bodies of men’s and women’s golf here - to the R&A to reduce the amateur status prize limit from €750 to €575.

When the original prize limits were set, the euro rate was aligned with the £500 sterling limit which prevailed in Britain. However, the strengthening of the euro over the years meant that, in effect, the likes of captains’ and presidents’ prizes in the Republic were disproportionately higher than those available to similar competitions in the North.

A number of clubs had highlighted the issues at provincial delegate meetings and at the GUI and ILGUI annual general meetings, to the extent that both bodies brought the request for a re-alignment in the prize limit to the R&A, who agreed to the consideration. The new limit comes into play from February 1st.

In the past, issues have arisen with the value of prizes awarded at events such as captain’s day competitions and the GUI and ILGU have re-emphasised to clubs the duty of care in ensuring that amateur limits are not breached. The most notable case came back in 2005 at Tullamore Golf Club when the men’s captain’s day prize - a plasma television - greatly exceeded the allowed amount and which initially led to the suspension of the club’s male membership by the GUI.

The new move to lower the value limit of prizes will bring clubs here in line with their counterparts in Britain and Northern Ireland.

Speaking about this decision, which arose following numerous requests from clubs to lower the limit as it was widespread practice and pressure on clubs to have prizes at the upper limit, Pat Finn CEO of the Golfing Union of Ireland said: “The feedback from our clubs was that the limit was set too high in the Euro area and it needed to be brought into line with that of the Sterling zone. Working with the Irish Ladies Golf Union we approached The R&A and they supported the lowering of the limit. We welcome this support from The R&A and both Unions will monitor the effects of the change over the coming months.”

Under Rule 3-2a of the Rules of Amateur Status, which are jointly approved by The R&A and the USGA, an amateur golfer must not accept a prize (other than a symbolic prize) or prize voucher of retail value in excess of £500. This limit applies to the total prizes or prize vouchers received by an amateur golfer in any one competition or series of competitions, but does not include hole-in-one prizes. Under Rule 3-1, an amateur golfer must not play for prize money of any amount.

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