More Proof The USGA Has Lost Its Way

Geoff Shackelford has some choice quotes from a recent interview USGA Executive Director Mike Davis that just reinforce my belief that the USGA has lost its way.

When I started at the USGA 25 years ago, we were a golf association and there really wasn’t a corporate way of doing things.

That one sentence encapsulates the whole thing. They USED to be a golf association; now they’re a multimillion dollar business with $250 million in the bank. It is now all about the money.

Davis continues:

Back then, we didn’t have a legal department or a marketing department. There was a skeleton communications department. It was all about golf

It is SUPPOSED to be all about golf. You know “for the good of the game,” and all that.

We’ve moved to a time where we now have these corporate functions that really do support the golf part. I would argue that golf vs. corporate, well, it needs to be both. … We’ve really focused the last two years on making the USGA more efficient and more business savvy. We have to evolve because now we’re running a $200 million organization.

Given their apparent abandonment of the average golfer, (the anchoring ban and the death of the Publinx Championship are exhibits A and B), I have a new slogan for the USGA: For The Good of For High Revenue Championships For Highly Talented Players So That We Can Make Our Corporate Plunder Sustainable.”

Davis does say that the extra profits from FOX will “go back into the game.” That’s a good thing, but I am skeptical of the corporate suits’ ability to relate to the 99% of golfers who don’t play in USGA Championships or belong to a country club. If you take a look at who is on the USGA board of directors, the disconnect makes sense: doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, and moguls of various sorts. There’s no one there who is a truck driver, small shop keeper, nurse, clerk, teacher or a anyone else who represents the average daily fee golfer.

I’ll give them a hint, based on my own experiences: Golf as it is takes too long, is too expensive and too hard for your average person. The USGA should plow that money into helping munis and daily fee courses solve their problems. Start with the munis, which typically can’t afford high priced consultants.

Former USGA director David Fay has some other ideas. I like most of them.

Finally, in the recent tradition of the USGA, Davis also takes a pot shot at former television partner NBC. Davis talks about the USGA’s new friends at Fox:

While there may be a new group, in some ways they’ll be more knowledgeable than what we’ve seen in the past.

That’s a direct shot at NBC’s announcing crew—one of several that USGA officials have made. It seem so imply that Johnny Miller, Gary Koch, Dottie Pepper, et. al. are not so knowledgeable.

This organization has completely lost its way.

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