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  • Golfers can earn points to compete in the Olympics by playing in various professional tournaments throughout the year.
  • The International Golf Federation (IGF) annually sets the minimum number of points required to qualify for the Olympics.
  • Golfers must meet age, nationality, and other criteria in order to be eligible for Olympics
  • 60 athletes are restricted to the Olympic field for both men’s and women’s competitions.
  • To be eligible for the Olympics, players must rank in the top 15 worldwide and be limited to four per country.
  • Players ranked below 15th place will be chosen according to their world ranking, with up to two players from each country that doesn’t already have two or more players in the top 15.
  • The qualification system and timeline for the 2024 Olympic Games can be found on the IGF website.

Growing up, my old schoolmate was always one of the most talented athletes around. He could seemingly do anything on a sports field. As he got older, he started to focus on golf and began to make a name for himself in tournaments around the world.

He worked tirelessly to improve his game, and it paid off- he soon became one of the top players in the world.

When the Olympics were announced to include golf once again after a 112-year absence, my friend knew he had to compete. He had worked too hard and come too far to let this opportunity pass him by.

However, qualifying for the Olympics is no easy task. The field is limited to 60 players, and only the top 15 players in the world are guaranteed a spot.

My friend was determined to make it, though, and he did- he qualified for the Olympics and went on to have an amazing experience competing against the best athletes in the world.

Since then, my old schoolmate has gone on to have an incredible career in golf. He’s won numerous tournaments and is now one of the top-ranked players in the world. I’m so proud of everything he’s accomplished and am glad that he was able to follow his dream all the way to the Olympics.

If you’re thinking of trying to make the Olympics, I wish you the best of luck. It’s not an easy process- but it’s definitely worth it.

There are many factors in determining who will make the Olympics and what events golfers may be able to compete in.

Let’s go over some of the basics you need to know, and then we will look at a few specific cases of golfers who have made their way to the Olympics.

How do golfers make the Olympics?

1. Being eligible to compete

To make the Olympics, golfers must follow only a few guidelines. They are:

  • Must be a citizen of the country in which they wish to compete
  • They must have played at least two full seasons of professional golf
  • They must have played in at least four ‘big’ professional tournaments (the ones with large fields and where you can win money) within their country

2. Being selected to compete

The first step in the Olympics is being eligible to compete. Numerous factors make golfers eligible, most of them due to a person’s age. The age cutoffs are as follows:

  • Under 16: Golfers must be younger than 16 years old as of December 31st in the year in which they wish to compete
  • 16-18: Golfers must be between 1 and 5 years older than their 18th birthday on December 31st in the year of their competition, and under 24 years old (if female) or 25 (if male) on December 31st in the year of their competition.
    • No more than three years older than their 18th birthday, if male
    • No more than four years older than their 18th birthday; if female
  • Over 18: There are no age limits

3. Getting points (or qualifying)

Golfers must earn certain ‘quality points‘ to play in the Olympics. Every time they play a professional tournament, they earn points based on their performance.

The minimum number of points needed from these events to qualify for the Olympics is determined by the International Golf Federation (IGF) each year. In 2009, for example, about 1000 golfers had enough points and were eligible to compete in golf at the Olympics.

What are quality points?

What are quality points

The number of quality points a player earns is based on how well they do in a tournament. The best way to think of them is as a golfing handicap (although they are not the same).

For example, if a person has an official course handicap of 15 on the American scale, they would have earned 3.5 quality points if they won an event.

What events can I compete in?

Given that you have enough quality points, you may play in any event at the Olympics (without special qualification) subject to their field limitations.

For example, if a player is 25 years old as of December 31st in the year of their competition, and they won their national championship in June of that year, they may compete to represent their country at the Olympics.

However, if a player is 23 years old on this date, they would not be able to play in that event. That person would have to wait until the next time their age group qualified for the Olympics (for example, eight years from then).

What if I win a major championship?

Golfers win tournaments because they have the skill to do so. However, they can also earn quality points for their performance in tournaments. If a golfer wins a major tournament, the amount of quality points they earn is based on whether or not they are under 23 years old (if male) or under 19 years old (if female).

For example, if a golfer wins the U.S. Open at 23, they would earn 0.75 quality points for each round (3 rounds = 1 point). If that same player were 16 when he won this event, he would only earn 0.2 quality points for each round (3 rounds = 0.6 points).

These quality points would be added to the player’s amount in other events, and they would receive a combined score to determine if they had enough points to go to the Olympics.


Golfers have made the Olympics by meeting two criteria: qualifying for the Olympics and earning a certain number of quality points for their performance in tournaments.

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