The United States Golf Association is the national governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico. The USGA’s most visible role is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open. The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System, celebrates the history of the game and administers an ongoing grants program.
What Does the USGA Do?
The USGA sponsors programs that benefit everyone who plays the game.
These essential services affect all golfers, whether they are amateurs or
professionals, public or private course players.
• Writes and Interprets the Rules of Golf
The USGA and R&A Rules Limited, jointly write and interpret the Rules of
Golf to guard the tradition and integrity of the game.
• Produces the Rules of Amateur Status
The Rules of Amateur Status reinforce the fundamental idea that an
amateur is one who plays solely for the enjoyment of the game, without
• Conducts National Championships
The USGA conducts golf’s national championships. These include the
U.S. Open, the U.S. Women’s Open, the U.S. Senior Open, 10 national
amateur championships and the State Team Championships. The USGA
also helps conduct four international competitions: the Walker Cup
Match, the Curtis Cup Match, and the Men’s and Women’s World
Amateur Team Championships.
• Provides a Handicap System
Thanks to the USGA Handicap System, all golfers can compete on an
equal basis. The USGA Course Rating System ensures that golf courses are
rated in relation to all other courses. The USGA Slope System adjusts a
player’s USGA Handicap Index according to the difficulty of a course. As a
result, no matter whom golfers play with — or where they play — they can
enjoy a fair game.
• Maintains Equipment Standards
The USGA continually tests golf equipment for conformity to the Rules.
Without such rigorous equipment testing and research programs, advances in technology could soon overtake skill as the major factor in success.
• Funds Turfgrass and Environmental Research
The USGA funds research that leads to improved grasses and playing surfaces that require less water and maintenance and can better endure diseases and pests. These grasses and playing surfaces can be used in a wide
variety of climates. The USGA is also the largest contributor to research
on the impact of golf courses on the environment.
• USGA Turf Advisory Service
The USGA has 18 skilled agronomists who make annual visits to more
than 1,500 golf courses. These experts offer recommendations that help
improve course maintenance and make it more cost-efficient.
• Preserves Golf’s History
The USGA Museum — featuring the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History
— is the world’s premier institution for the study and education of golf
history. With collections that encompass more than 42,000 artifacts, a
library of more than 20,000 volumes, more than half a million photographic images, and several thousand hours of film and video footage, the
USGA Museum is the preeminent place for golf enthusiasts and visitors of
all ages to experience the game both as it used to be and as it is today.
• Ensures Golf’s Future
Through its Grants and Fellowship initiative, the USGA funds a variety of
junior golf, caddie, physically challenged, and education programs that
foster the notion that golf is a game for everyone. Since 1997, the USGA
has provided more than $65 million in support of more than 1,000 junior
golf programs and programs for individuals with disabilities for the good
of the game.