USGA pledges $5 million in grants to help golf associations around the country
The USGA is king when it comes to overseeing national championships and governing rules. The foot soldiers of the entire American golf system, however, are the state and regional associations.
The work is enormously valuable, the USGA recognizes that, and its making a considerable investment to give the associations a boost in the troubled times of COVID-19. On Saturday, the USGA announced that it has established an emergency relief fund for its 59 Allied Golf Associations (AGA) and will give out up to $5 million in grants.
In a release, the USGA said the grants are intended to maintain business continuity and staffing levels. Individual AGAs can apply for up to $100,000 in relief, and additional financial assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The application process begins on Monday, April, 13, and will continue through the summer as needed. Should additional funding be needed if the disruption is prolonged, the USGA said it will consider further contributions.
“These golf associations are the backbone of the recreational and competitive golf communities at the local, state and regional level,“ USGA CEO Mike Davis said in the statement. "They play a vital role not only in delivering the USGA’s core services, but also in engaging millions of golfers across the country at the local level. This support will help enable the game to make a strong return once it’s safe to do so.”
There are AGAs in all 50 states, and as noted by the USGA, "they conduct events that welcome and connect juniors, women and players of all ages, backgrounds and abilities; educate countless golf professionals, officials and players; advocate for golf courses; and provide affordable opportunities to play."
The AGAs play a big role for the USGA, staging more than 600 qualifiers for the 14 USGA Open and amateur championships.
During the coronavirus crisis, some associations have been hit harder than others because playing golf has been deemed a "non-essential" activity by local or state governments. Other states or regions are allowing play.
The USGA is suffering its own effects of COVID-19. It already has canceled the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball for men and women, and postponed the U.S. Open from June to September, and the U.S. Women's Open from June to December.