Tony Romo and his dad, Ramiro, who was serving as his caddie, survey the fairway during the first round of the WSGA Match Play Championship being played at The Bog. Romo defeated Matt Behm of Janesville, 2 and 1, to advance.
Fifty-nine regional golf associations, including the Wisconsin State Golf Association, have entered into a new relationship with the United States Golf Association aimed at improving the golfer experience at the state and local levels in the United States.
The 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 programs 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, the chief executive officer of the USGA. “As the game moves forward into the future, we feel this formalized new alliance of working together on grassroots programs will improve how we serve golfers and providing a healthy foundation from which the entire golf community can grow.”
The WSGA has long served in that role as Wisconsin's governing body for amateur golf. In other states, especially those with large expanses from border-to-border, those duties are shared between regional organizations.
According to a USGA news release, newly recognized AGAs were identified through a nearly year-long discovery process that encouraged collaboration among existing golf organizations within each state and region, sharing best practices and leveraging programs that have made a positive impact.
Those relationships 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 modernizing golf’s rules, the new World Handicap System and related governance functions.
Each AGA will also have direct access to USGA research, funding for programs such as USGA P.J. 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 centralized computation of USGA Handicap Indexes in the United States to improve efficiency, consistency and governance oversight. The move to a more modernized, digital platform will also empower AGAs to more deeply engage golfers within their community through rich, real-time player data.
An AGA Council has been formed to share information, help ongoing 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 U.S.
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.