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The Georgia State Golf Association, founded in 1916, is a non-profit organization dedicated solely to serving the game of golf and its membership of nearly 350 Member Clubs and their 75,000 members.
The mission of the Georgia State Golf Association is to promote and preserve the traditions and integrity of golf in Georgia and to enhance its enjoyment.
A committee of interested golfers from around the state formed the Georgia State Golf Association in 1916 following the first Georgia Amateur Championship. According to early records, the primary purpose of founding the Association was to conduct a state amateur championship. A 14-year-old Atlantan named Bobby Jones captured that first Georgia Amateur at Capital City Club in Atlanta. The GSGA was incorporated in 1924 and was managed solely by volunteers over the next five decades. Among its milestones, the GSGA began supporting turfgrass research in 1959, rating courses in 1961, added the Junior Championship in 1966 and began administering the handicap system in 1972 before adding its first full-time staff director in 1973. The following decades saw extensive growth in members, volunteers, staff and services as the GSGA expanded its competitions program to include 18 statewide events and four interstate matches, computerized the handicap system, formalized the course rating program, established a charitable foundation, started publishing Golf Georgia magazine and began managing the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.
The GSGA is an organization consisting of nearly 350 Member Clubs – private, public, semi-private, military and associate. There are more than 75,000 men and women who are individual members at these clubs. Member Clubs are billed annually by the Association for membership dues based upon the club's total number of golf members at the current annual individual rate of $25.
The GSGA is governed by a Board of Directors, which meets annually to review the activity of the Association and to conduct business. The Board of Directors elects an Executive Committee to manage the business affairs of the Association during the year and to report to the Board at the Annual Meeting. Other categories of volunteer service include Directors Emeritus and Committeemen. The GSGA has a staff of 15 to administer day-to-day operations.
GSGA Core Services
GSGA Member Clubs and individual members receive the following benefits as part of their membership dues:
The GSGA utilizes the Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN) for its handicap services, which are administered in accordance with the USGA Handicap System. Individuals receive handicap revisions twice per month, on the 1st and 15th. These revisions are transmitted to Member Clubs and via e-mail to individuals who sign up for the GSGA's eRevision service. Included in the GHIN service package is software for tournament administration, rules of golf decisions and other sources of information for golf professionals, course managers and club officials.
As part of its service to Member Clubs, GSGA provides computer hardware and technical support to all clubs that have at least 100 members.
Course Rating and Measuring
Each member course in the state is laser-measured when it joins GSGA and again whenever major changes are made. The course is rated every 5-7 years by a trained team of raters, usually consisting of six men and four women, working in accordance with the USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating System. Approximately 80 courses are rated each year, with ratings issued for all sets of tees in play for both men and women at each course. There is no additional charge beyond the aforementioned membership dues to Member Clubs for course rating and measuring services.
The GSGA annually conducts 18 competitions that are open for statewide participation for men and women of all ages and skill levels, four interstate team competitions, a statewide Junior Sectional Program for boys and girls and 17 qualifying events for all USGA championships. Entry fees are charged for each competition and registration is available online at www.gsga.org.
A number of GSGA volunteers, both men and women, serve as well-trained and highly-qualified rules officials at GSGA competitions. GSGA also annually provides rules officials, equipment and administrative assistance for the Georgia Women's Golf Association Amateur championship, the Georgia High School Association state championships and various other events as approved by the Championship Committee.
The GSGA recognizes Players of the Year for men, women, senior men, senior women, junior boys and junior girls during a luncheon following its Annual Meeting. The Tommy Barnes Award is presented to the overall Player of the Year.
Membership Magazine and Other Publications
Golf Georgia, the membership magazine of the GSGA, is published six times a year. Golf Georgia includes reports and features on individuals and events which impact the game, with an emphasis on amateur golf in Georgia. Each issue includes articles on different Association activities, GSGA Member Clubs, the rules of golf and golf course maintenance. Golf Georgia has earned several awards from the Magazine Association of the Southeast, including the 2005 GAMMA Award for Overall Excellence. Golf Georgia is sent to each individual member who has provided the GSGA or their club with a mailing address.
Other GSGA publications include:
The Georgia State Golf Association's website, www.gsga.org, is a comprehensive source of golf information, with full coverage of Association activities. It is also a useful resource for GSGA members to take full advantage of their membership benefits. GSGA members can check their USGA Handicap Index and register for GSGA competitions. Golfers can research golf courses in Georgia and find links to other golf organizations on the local, state and national levels. Interested individuals can sign up for GSGA membership through the website.
The GSGA also manages The 19th Hole blog, and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Anyone interested in Association activities is encouraged to interact with the GSGA via these social networking sites.
Recognition and Rewards
GSGA maintains an awards program for individuals who score holes-in-one, win club championships, are their club's most improved golfers or achieve other unique feats on the golf course. Individuals who have garnered these honors are submitted by their Member Clubs, and GSGA recognizes them with a certificate and listings in Golf Georgia magazine and on the GSGA website. GSGA also provides RewardLinks (a members-only discount program), TravelLinks (members-only travel opportunities) and DealFinder (links to special offers from GSGA member clubs) via its website.
Georgia Golf Industry Support
The GSGA provides financial support to the junior and adult golfer development programs and services of the Georgia Section, PGA of America and contributes to turfgrass research through the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association. It has also joined with other golf industry organizations in the state to form the Georgia Allied Golf Council, which represents the golf industry to the Georgia General Assembly and state administrative agencies.
The GSGA conducts educational seminars on golf-related subjects such as the rules of golf, handicapping and course rating. It also can provide answers to questions about these subjects, in addition to amateur status, tournament operations and course marking. The Association serves as a clearinghouse of information about major golf tournaments in the state and provides a guest speaker service for golf-related activities to GSGA Member Clubs at no charge.
Georgia Golf Hall of Fame
In 2010, the GSGA entered into an agreement with the Georgia Department of Economic Development to manage the ongoing activities associated with the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. The terms of the agreement authorize the GSGA to host the banquet to honor inductees; store memorabilia of the members of the Hall of Fame and display as available; and to have right, title and interest to the trademarks, trade names and logos associated with the GGHOF. For more information on the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, visit www.gghof.com.
Georgia State Golf Association Foundation
The GSGA Foundation, the GSGA's charitable affiliate, uses contributions from individuals, corporations and the Association for the following educational opportunities:
The GSGA Foundation has its own website and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Those interested in Foundation activities can visit these sites to learn more about the GSGAF's scholarship programs, read about current scholars and make a secure online donation.
The GSGA headquarters building houses a library with various golf publications, golf literature and a modest museum with artifacts from some of the Association's players and volunteers. A collection of video discs with interviews of past Georgia golf champions and volunteers is available for viewing. Throughout the building, there are displays on Georgia connections to the Walker Cup and Curtis Cup as well as reigning GSGA Champions.
United States Golf Association
Though not a branch office, the GSGA serves as the arm of the USGA in Georgia, providing the following areas of assistance and cooperation: