Nathan Smith, a four-time U.S. Mid-Am winner and the 2025 U.S. Walker Cup captain, says he's making "great memories," and that he "wouldn't trade any of it." Photo: Darren Carroll, USGA
Elite amateur golfers travel across the United States, and often internationally, to compete in tournaments with no prize money on the line.
Some of those amateurs are competing in junior, collegiate or other prestigious amateur events as a steppingstone to potential scholarships, sponsorships and tour status. Recent rule changes allow amateurs to earn money based on their name, image and likeness, so the top players can often cover basic expenses to sustain themselves. Even for those who aren’t earning money through NIL, they regularly receive considerable help from their college programs or parents with the means to provide for them.
But for the best mid-amateurs (25 and older) or senior amateurs (55-plus) competing on a national stage, there is no pursuit of monetary gain. All they can hope for in that regard is a few hundred dollars of go...
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