Why is the USGA doing this?
The USGA, like SRGAs, is a mission-driven organization with the ultimate goal of serving the game of golf and golfers. We feel strongly that the time has come to advance the ways in which USGA and SRGAs serve that mission together, for the benefit of all golf constituents and particularly golf clubs and golfers. From the USGA’s perspective, this conversation should not be about the USGA or any SRGA; it should be about how we can best serve the golf community.
My SRGA has been licensed for handicapping for many years. Are you saying that is just going away?
The USGA values the services SRGAs have provided in handicap administration over the years. Under our new partnership vision, SRGAs will continue to provide the same handicap administration services, but under a different structure. The current handicap licenses held by many SRGAs are set to expire in December 2015 but will be extended for two more years, through 2017. After that we will offer a new partnership agreement with SRGAs, and handicap administration will be part of that agreement.
Will the USGA be entering into new agreements with all SRGAs that held handicapping and course rating licenses?
Simply put, no. The current system of licensing multiple SRGAs for multiple services, often in overlapping areas, is inefficient and doesn’t use any of our resources in an optimal way. The USGA will offer the opportunity to enter into “full service” partnership agreements with a select group of SRGAs, and those will be determined based on their ability/resources to provide a full range of services to the full golf community in a given area.
How many new partnership agreements? What about areas where SRGA overlaps occur now?
We have not predetermined how many SRGAs we will partner with, nor the geographic boundaries that are most appropriate. We recognize that the transition will take time. But we do know that overlaps reflect the inefficiency we have mentioned, and ultimately we would like to see one full service SRGA in any given area. It is up to SRGAs, which are led by independent boards, to take the information we are providing here and begin to collaborate with regional “brother” and “sister” SRGAs to determine how they can work together, combine resources, create new structures, etc. to serve all golfers in each area.
What will happen to SRGAs that are not USGA partners in the future?
Each SRGA will continue to operate as an independent association, governed by its boards of directors. As such, the priorities and activities of the association will be determined by its leadership.
Is the USGA forcing state and regional associations to merge?
Simply put, no. However, the USGA believes that strong SRGAs that are committed to serving all sectors of the golf community will be most effective at consistently delivering core USGA services to the golfers in their geographic area. The partnership structure is intended to increase effectiveness and consistency in excellent service to clubs and golfers.
How will this be branded? Will the SRGAs be able to retain their identity?
In short, yes. There is great value in combining the national scale of the USGA, with the local reach of the SRGAs to ensure golfers and clubs feel a close connection, while enjoying the scale of a large, national network. The branding strategy will follow from this philosophy.
Who can I speak with about the details of how this will impact my association?
The USGA Regional Affairs directors will play an integral role in this transition and should be your primary point of contact. They have been asked to work closely with the SRGAs in their regions throughout this process.
What is happening to GHIN as a part of all this?
In the relative near term, GHIN will be upgraded as discussed and will continue as a product sold to GHIN customers. Ultimately, we expect GHIN to be superseded and replaced by the new digital golfer engagement platform. The platform will include handicap computation and other GHIN functionality.
Not seeing a question that you'd like answered? Contact the USGA Regional Affairs director for your area.