New Jersey, United States: Fifty-nine regional golf associations have entered into a new relationship with the United States Golf Association (USGA) to enhance the golfer experience at the state and local levels in the United States.
These Allied Golf Associations (AGAs), supported by the USGA’s five existing regional affairs offices, will administer the USGA Handicap and Course Rating Systems within defined geographic areas across the country.
In addition, they will serve as the community’s primary resource for USGA services such as championship qualifiers, governance, golf facility support and programmes that help grow and improve the long-term health of the game.
“Regional golf associations are a vital part of the golf community and the USGA,” said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. “As the game moves forward into the future, we feel this formalised new alliance of working together on grassroots programmes will improve how we serve golfers and providing a healthy foundation from which the entire golf community can grow.”
Newly recognised AGAs were identified through a nearly year-long discovery process that encouraged collaboration among existing golf organisations within each state and region, sharing best practices and leveraging programmes that have made a positive impact.
The resulting relationship will enable AGAs to provide a variety of competitive playing opportunities that engage more golfers of all levels within their region. The AGAs will also serve as local experts for education on topics such as modernising golf’s rules, the new World Handicap System and related governance functions.
Each AGA will also have direct access to USGA research, funding for programmes such as USGA PJ Boatwright Internships, data and technology, additional expertise to better serve the health of golf facilities and support of national grow-the-game initiatives including PLAY9.
One of the alliance’s most significant benefits to golfers will be the centralised computation of USGA Handicap Indexes in the United States to improve efficiency, consistency and governance oversight. The move to a more modernised, digital platform will also empower Allied Golf Associations to more deeply engage golfers within their community through rich, real-time player data.
An AGA Council has been formed to share information, help on-going service delivery and provide continuous feedback directly to the USGA to better serve golfers and golf clubs.
The 12-member council consists of AGA executive directors who will represent regions and markets throughout the United States.
The alliance marks the latest step by the USGA to more deeply engage the local and regional golf community. It complements the USGA’s existing presence in all five major golf regions in the United States – Northeast, Great Lakes, Southeast, Central and West – where dedicated Regional Affairs directors currently serve in residence.
In addition to its five Regional Affairs directors, the USGA also supports golf clubs and facilities through the USGA Green Section, providing agronomic expertise through 13 regional offices.