USGA bucks the economy in '09

February 06, 2010

PINEHURST, N.C. -- In what could only be described as a trying year financially for the golf industry, the USGA managed to make a profit of $7.8 million in 2009 on revenues of $144 million, according to the financial information published in its annual report released this week on the eve of the USGA annual meeting.

"We went through a very detailed strategic budgeting process for 2009 and really refocused our efforts more around the core mission of the organization," incoming USGA president Jim Hyler recently told Golf World. "In a few cases revenue-wise we did a little better than we thought. At the U.S. Open, even with all the things we had to endure [at Bethpage], we were able to reduce our expenses there below budgeted amounts and all of that resulted in us having a very good year."

In 2008, the USGA made a profit of just $67,000.

Not surprisingly, given the unsettled economic environment of a year ago, revenues were down from $155.8 million in 2008. However, expenses decreased from $155.7 million to $136.4 million, or roughly 13 percent.

Another positive sign for the USGA: realized and unrealized income from investments turned around drastically in 2009 (a profit of $33.9 million) from the previous year (a loss of $83.9 million).

Hyler says that the strategic budgeting process the USGA undertook in 2009 has helped the association focus its efforts around conducting championships, making the rules and providing services to member clubs. The efficiencies he believes will help the USGA remain on solid financial footing over the next five to 10

"We are really thinking about budgeting and really living inside the budget," Hyler said. "I think we're becoming more streamlined, more efficient in what we're trying to do."

Interestingly, the biggest lineup percentage decrease in revenue from 2009 compared to 2008 was in publications and merchandising (including licensing). While making $3.2 million in 2008, the total in 2009 was slightly more than $2 million.

--Ryan Herrington