WSCGA receives several club inquires each year about giving cash as prizes at a club event or guest day.
Under the USGA Rules of Amateur Status, cash is cash is cash and is not an acceptable prize under Rule 3 except for a hole-in one while playing golf. The USGA is unequivocal on this point as it is the bright line that distinguishes an amateur from a professional.
The amount of money paid out does not matter. It is not an acceptable prize. Also, by virtue of the club licensing agreement with WSCGA, each club represents that it follows the USGA Handicap System as well as the Rules of Golf which also include the Rules of Amateur Status.
Although the USGA does not condone wagering,typical skins games and other forms of gambling engaged in during a round of golf do not violate the prohibition of giving cash as prizes as long as participation is voluntary, players are betting on their own performance and all monies are collected and distributed on the same day of the event. (see page 153, Rules of Golf Appendix)
Although the prohibition against cash may seem unnecessarily broad, the USGA has liberalized the Rules of Amateur Status in recent years. Cars received as a hole-in-one prize are now acceptable prizes, as long as it is made during a round of golf and not in a hole-in-one competition. Prizes up to $750 in retail value per tournament are acceptable under the Rules as well. Gift cards, silver bowls or gold jewelry are all acceptable prizes under The Rules of Amateur Status as long as the retail value is $750 or less.
If you have questions about acceptable prizes under The Rules of Amateur Status or other questions , please contact the WSCGA office at 909-592-1281