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Sunday, May 11, 2008

USGA introduces online process for
being reinstated as an amateur

It seems you can do just about everything these days "online" ... even start the process of being reinstated from the professional to the amateur ranks of golfers.
It's now possible in America. Stand by for it becoming the norm on this side of the Atlantic.
The following appears on the United States Golf Association website:

The United States Golf Association has launched an easy online process for individuals from various professional ranks who want to be reinstated as amateurs. Individuals can visit and click on the "Rules and Handicapping" menu bar at the top of the page, then choose "Amateur Status."
Before applying for reinstatement, all acts contrary to the Rules of Amateur Status must cease. For example, professional golfers in any organization, such as the PGA of America or the LPGA, must first resign their membership before applying for reinstatement. Playing professionals must no longer be active on any of the tours.
The routine time period for reinstatement is one year for an individual who was a professional for less than five years. The waiting period is routinely two years for those who have been a professional for more than five years. Longer waiting periods may be prescribed for anyone playing extensively for prize money.
"We find that professionals want to reinstate their amateur status for various reasons, whether they are unsuccessful in playing for prize money, making a career change, or for personal reasons," said Donna Mummert, USGA assistant director of Amateur Status and Rules of Golf. "We continue to see a high volume each year in the reinstatement process. It is wonderful to have so many returning to play golf for the spirit of competition as amateurs."
In addition to reducing the paperwork on the part of the individual filing, the online process that was developed and tested over the past 12 months aims to cut processing time in half and capture a tracking database of all applicants in the system.
Once a golfer submits a completed application, that information is shared with the golfer’s state and regional golf association for review. The USGA staff then processes the application and assigns a reinstatement date. A computer-generated reminder is automatically sent to the applicant’s e-mail address when his or her reinstatement date is nearing.
"The online process is a lot faster and easier for everyone involved, from the administrators to the individual golfer," said Jack Nance, executive director of the Carolinas Golf Association, one of the associations that helped the USGA in test marketing. "We have caught up to technology at just the right time because there has been a bigger response to reinstatement in the last several years."
Reinstated amateurs have comprised about half of the U.S. Mid-Amateur field (age 25 and older) and about one third of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur field in recent years.