Relaxed amateur status rules still in ‘Rule’ book

2013-10-04 00:00

LAST week’s column mentioned the Jack Mathews Trophy, which is played annually between the two city clubs; Victoria Country Club and Maritzburg Golf Club.

Jack Mathews wrote a weekly golf column for The Natal Witness for 42 years under the pen name Pin High. The column was called “Out of the Rough”.

Way back in 1965, when he commenced writing the column, the rules of golf would not permit Jack Mathews to use his own name.

There were strict regulations regarding amateur status. The governing body for golf worldwide, The Royal & Ancient, stipulated that an amateur was not permitted to receive payment for writing or broadcasting on golf.

This would deem a person a professional. Can you believe that?

It sounds ridiculous but that was the rule.

However, should the author use a pseudonym, nom de plume or pen name, it was permitted.

So Jack Mathews became Pin High.

The average club member then wasn’t too bothered by the strict rules but the good golfers who played representative golf couldn’t even claim travelling expenses.

It was really tough in those days but over the years those strict amateur status rules and regulations have become more relaxed and thank goodness for that.

According to the Rules of Golf book in 1954, an amateur golfer could not accept a prize or prizes in excess of £30 (R490). In 1980, it became £100 and today in 2013 it’s £500, which at the current exchange rate is R8 000.

There is far more sponsorship these days in golf tournaments where high- value prizes are offered but nothing more so than for holes-in-one.

It is only in recent years that there has been any mention of hole-in-one prizes in the Rule Book and they are listed separately and not a part of that current £500 maximum.

This has come about because there were instances where amateur golfers holed their tee shots and accepted a motor vehicle prize, but this meant they had to forfeit their amateur status. How crazy was that?

Even though rules concerning amateur status have been relaxed, the current Rules of Golf still has a large section on this subject. It’s worth acquainting yourself with them.

From the 19th hole:

A husband and wife are shopping in their local supermarket.

The husband picked up a case of Castle and put it in the trolley.

“What do you think you are doing?” asked the wife. “They’re on sale, only R125 for 24 cans”, he replied.

“Put them back, we can’t afford them,” demanded the wife, so he put them back and they carried on shopping.

A few aisles further along the woman picked up a R250 jar of face cream and put it in the trolley.

“What do you think you are doing?” asked the husband. “It’s my face cream, it makes me look beautiful,” said the wife. Her husband said, “So does 24 cans of Castle and it’s half the price.”

Minutes later, there was an announcement over the public address:

“Husband down, husband down, aisle 7.”

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