INSIDE THE ROPES
Compete or Volunteer? Pick Your USGA Championship Experience March 24, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By David Chmiel, USGA

Whether you compete or volunteer, there are many ways to enjoy a USGA championship. (USGA/Chris Keane)

Dating back to the first U.S. Amateur, contested in 1895 at Newport (R.I.) Golf Club, a critical part of the USGA’s mission has been to conduct exemplary championships on the finest courses. The mission is the same today as it was then, and players of varying ages and abilities have the opportunity to compete in the USGA’s three Open championships, 10 amateur championships, state team matches and international team competitions. The championship experience is second to none because of skilled players and passionate volunteers.    

Think competing in a USGA championship is out of reach? Think again. Here is a quick guide to show how you can be a part of USGA championships:

Competing in USGA Championships

You need a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, 2.4 or 3.4 to file an entry for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, respectively. That might not be your game, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up the chance to compete in a USGA championship. Players of various abilities – from a Handicap Index of 18.4 to file an entry for the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur championships, or a 7.4 Handicap Index for U.S. Senior Amateur hopefuls – spend their lives chasing, and occasionally fulfilling, their dreams of competing in a USGA championship. If you have been working on your game and are ready to test yourself, click here for entry requirements.

Volunteering at USGA Championships

As any USGA competitor knows, the championships simply could not function without the thousands of men and women who volunteer their time, energy and expertise to assist in many ways. Newly elected USGA president Diana Murphy, like everyone from people working in the merchandise tents to the standard bearers who walk the fairways with each group, is a volunteer. These are passionate golf fans who become an integral part of the action when a championship comes to their hometown. Local volunteers handle a variety of tasks, from scoring and player hospitality to transportation and spectator services. Volunteering for a USGA championship is a commitment to the game that is appreciated by every competitor, including some of golf’s most celebrated champions. Many 2016 championships can still use more volunteers, so click here to view the 2016 schedule and see where you can help, or call the host club for more information.

Whether you want to compete with the best golfers in the world or work together with others to make a championship memorable for players and fans alike, you can always find the right opportunity to lead by example and embrace your passion for the game.

David Chmiel is manager of Member content for the USGA. Please contact him at dchmiel@usga.org.