Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.
While amateur golfers cannot accept a financial reward for competing in the major tournaments, they are still competing.
Some would say that they are competing amongst themselves as the amateur golfer with the highest place does get a prize.
Yes, the plaudits and the headlines will be dominated by the professionals who top the leaderboard at the climax and leave with the award money.
Yet if you watch the presentation at The Masters, you should note that the low amateur is present when the green jacket is put on the eventual winner.
There is a history that goes with being a low amateur in golf as it is a way to ensure that amateurs still have something of their own competition for a prize at a major tournament.
They may not go away with the main prize yet the title of low amateur is certainly still sought after.
In this guide, we will look at what is a low amateur in golf and the low amateurs who have competed in golf tournaments. We will also look at the golfers who have been low amateur the most.
What Is A Low Amateur In Golf
Answer: The term ‘low amateur’ is used in the context of a professional golf tournament and refers to the amateur golfer with the lowest score.
Put simply, the term is simply another way to note the highest placed amateur golfer in a professional tournament such as The Masters.
These amateur golfers will be prohibited from being awarded, or accepting, any money or any type of financial award in golf so being awarded ‘low amateur’ is about as close as they will get.
Without a financial award, they are typically given a prize which can be different depending on the tournament.
Low Amateurs Who Have Competed In Golf Tournaments
Many golf tournaments will still permit amateurs to compete which helps for the inclusivity of the sport.
This may be on a sponsor exemption or a qualifying process yet a non-monetary award will typically be handed out as a reward for their placing amongst the other amateur golfers.
That award could be a trophy or a medal and three majors do award the low amateur with some sort of a prize. This includes The Masters but also the Open Championship and the US Open.
For instance, in The Masters, the low amateur not only receives a trophy but some airtime on TV with the Masters Champion.
This is held in the Butler Cabin and the award is given during the Green Jacket ceremony so to be present while that is happening is considered to be an honor in itself.
It would get confusing if an amateur golfer went and won the Masters but, to date, no golfer has done that though several golfers have been the low amateur and gone on to win the Masters.
You can include the likes of Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods in that intriguing list.
The Golfers Who Have Been Low Amateur The Most
At the Open Championship, there is one golfer who has been low amateur four times.
This was Frank Stranahan, specifically in the Silver Medal era after 1949 and he was low amateur in 1949, 1950, 1951, and 1953.
He was also the low amateur for another year before the Silver Medal era came into effect.
However, there is one player who was low amateur nine times. That was in the very early days of the Open Championship and was William Doleman who was low amateur nine times in those opening decades of the competition.
The first of those years was in 1865 when he won it every year until 1872, though the final year he was awarded low amateur was in 1884.
In The Masters, Charles Coe has taken the honor six times. Below him, Charles Yates has been awarded low amateur five times while Frank Stranahan, Harvie Ward, and Billy Joe Patton have each won the award three times each.
The list of low amateurs in the US Open goes back to 1895. During that tournament, a single amateur golfer completed the tournament, hence they earned the low amateur honor.
The low amateur in the US Open receives a medal and is involved in the presentation ceremony.
Bobby Jones has the most low amateur titles at the US Open with 9, all consecutive between 1922 and 1930. Jones also has the most top-ten finishes of the amateur golfers with ten.
Put simply, a low amateur golfer is one that is yet to reach the heights of a professional. They play the game because they love it and are not in it for the money.
That does not stop them from competing with the best and they can make the cut for a major tournament. That includes the Masters, the US Open, and the Open Championship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are There Low Amateur Honors At The Masters?
When glancing at the honors list at The Masters Tournament, you may notice something called the law amateur honors.
The Masters Tournament is one of the major championships of men’s professional golf, so it may seem strange that amateurs are even mentioned.
In fact, amateur golfers have always had a place at The Masters, likely because the tournament’s co-founder, Bobby Jones, was an amateur when he competed throughout his tournament career.
At the start of The Masters, Jones would invite several amateur golfers to compete though now there are a range of exemption categories for around six amateur golfers to join the field at The Masters.
What Do Low Amateurs At The Masters Receive In Terms Of Honors?
The low amateur at The Masters does receive honors in the form of the Silver Cup trophy. A silver medal is awarded to the low amateur who is the runner-up.
It should be known that only the golfers who make the cut are eligible for those honors.
Should there be a ‘none’ after a year on the honors list at The Masters, it does mean that not a single amateur golfer made the cut on that specific year.