Rules of Golf

Rules of Amateur Status
Pace of Play Survey
Statement from the HKGA Rules Committee on Cheating
Caring for the Golf Course


Rules of Amateur Status

As a promising amateur golfer, it is important that you are aware of the Rules of Amateur Status. Unlike the Rules of Golf where an infringement could cost you a stroke or two with the worst being disqualification, infringing the Rules of Amateur Status could ruin your career.  A violation could result in one to two years of waiting to regain your amateur status if lost.  For those in college or university in the United States and under the regulations of the NCAA, the consequences could be even more drastic, like loss of scholarship and therefore the loss of an education.  It is very easy to violate the Rules without knowing it. Unlike the Rules of Golf where there are 34 Rules, there are only 10 Amateur Status Rules.  The particular ones that you should be aware of are Rules 3, 6 and 5 in that order of importance.

Rule 3 relates to prizes, and playing for prize money or receiving prizes of value over the HK$6,000.  Rule 6 relates to use of golf skill or reputation, particularly 6-2 which is promotion, advertising and sales.  Recently one of our own elite squad members allowed his likeness to be used in an advertisement, which appeared in a local magazine.  This should have cost him a year before being reinstated to the status of being an amateur.  As he did not receive any compensation or financial gain, he was able to retain his status but with a stern warning from the Amateur Status Committee.  As Chairman of the Amateur Status Committee I must state that this will not always be the outcome of an infringement as one of our objectives at the Hong Kong Golf Association will be to publicise and promote the awareness of the Amateur Status Rules to the general golfing public.

Rule 5 relates to instruction and 5-1 specifically states that you should not receive any payment or compensation for giving golf instruction.

As I have stated, there are 10 rules and they are contained in every Rule Book at the back of the book. I have highlighted 3 of them here and advise you to make yourself acquainted with all of them.

HKGA Amateur Status Committee, April 2015 

HKGA Amateur Status Appeals Policy

Application for Reinstatement of Amateur Status

Pace of Play Survey

One of the hot topics in golf at the moment is pace of play. Pace of play is affected by many factors, including player ability and behaviour, management practices and course difficulty and set-up. Many commentators argue that golf nowadays takes too long, that slow round times are driving people away from the game and that something needs to be done. Conversely, others would say that golf is not a race, that not everyone wants to play in a hurry and that some courses are just not capable of being played in under four hours.

The R&A is interested to hear the views from golfers around the world on this issue and has compiled a survey with this in mind. The survey can be found at -


Statement from the HKGA Rules Committee on Cheating

Golf differs from most ball games in that it is played over a large area.

Even in refereed events, it is impossible for officials to watch over players. Indeed the main function of Rules officials is to protect players from inadvertent breaches of the Rules and to assist them in proceeding correctly.

The game cannot function if players cannot be trusted to act with honesty and integrity. Players are, indeed, expected to call penalties on themselves even when their infringement of a Rule is unobserved.

The scorecard, in particular, is sacrosanct. The player is 100% responsible for its accuracy. The importance of this is illustrated by the fact that the sole penalty for reporting a score for a hole or holes that is better than the actual score is disqualification (Rule 6-6d).

There have been famous, though, rare cases of cheating among elite players. A professional golfer, who had been a top amateur, was banned for life for repeatedly replacing his ball incorrectly on the putting green.

Deliberate breaches of the Rules seem to be on the increase in junior golf locally. A player caught cheating will receive a minimum ban of one year from all HKGA events. Repeated offences and/or scorecard violations will result in longer bans, including a ban for the rest of the player’s junior years. Scorecard violations usually mean collusion with the marker, so fellow-competitors must take their duties as markers seriously and act with scrupulous honesty.

Parents and schools can assist in several ways:

  1. Do not try to defend dishonesty. Assist in educating and disciplining the player.
  2. Do not punish juniors for poor scores.
  3. Do not over-reward juniors for good scores.

This is a communication from the Hong Kong Golf Association.


Caring for the Golf Course

Please download the ‘How you can help care for your course’ brochure from The R&A website here.

To watch Padraig Harrington’s golf course etiquette video, click here.