The USGA was originally formed in 1894 to resolve the question of a National Amateur Championship. Earlier that year, the Newport Country Club and Saint Andrew’s Golf Club, Yonkers, New York, both declared the winners of their tournaments the “national amateur champion.” That autumn, delegates from Newport, St. Andrew’s, The Country Club, Chicago Golf Club, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club met in New York City to form a national governing body, which would administer the championship and also the Rules of Golf for the country. On December 22, 1894, the Amateur Golf Association of the United States was officially formed, and was shortly thereafter renamed the “United States Golf Association”.
The USGA has 8000 member clubs, courses and practice facilities in the U.S. There are also nearly 1 million golfing members that range from $10.00 yearly, to $2300.00 yearly, in 7 distinct membership categories. It is fairly difficult to find any accurate facts regarding the exact amount they earn but in 2013 it was said to be over $160 Million. Their recent TV deal with Fox was said to be worth almost $100 Million. The USGA is a non-profit entity that pays no U.S. taxes. Its mission is to grow, govern and protect the integrity of the great game of golf in our country. In the last 10 years the USGA has repeatedly been under fire from golfers at all levels of the game from PGA professionals to amateurs regarding rules changes and interpretations of rules in major tournaments.
After the huge response from both the media and the public at this years U.S. Open regarding the ruling on Dustin Johnson the USGA for the first time in years has had to do damage control. If you think they are not listening, think again. Our membership dollars represent tens of millions of dollars in yearly income for the USGA and our attendance at USGA major events is tens of millions more. Golfers who are not members who attend and watch USGA events on TV are also making it possible for huge media contracts each year for the USGA. Sometimes it may not seem like it but this USGA belongs to all of us. We have every right to question the decisions and policies made as members and players.