The USGA has established an emergency relief fund of up to $5m to support its 59 Allied Golf Association members during the Covid-19 crisis.
The funding will come in the form of grants to help ensure business continuity and staffing levels during this time of hardship. Individual AGAs may apply for up to $100,000; additional financial assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The application process began on April 13 and will continue through the summer as needed. The USGA is committed to providing additional funding should the business disruption be prolonged.
“These golf associations are the backbone of the recreational and competitive golf communities at the local, state and regional level,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “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.”
AGAs operate in all 50 states and function as non-profit organisations. 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 USGA partners with its network of AGAs to deliver key golf resources and programmes at the regional level, including conducting more than 600 qualifiers for 14 USGA Open and amateur championships and providing Rules education. AGAs also serve as the only golf associations authorised by the USGA to offer a Handicap Index to golfers, and support USGA initiatives to grow and sustain the game.
Many of these golf associations are experiencing temporary hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic as golf events are postponed and member golfers, abiding by governmental and health directives, are staying off the course during the crucial spring season.