Thursday, November 10, 2011
Golf House & USGA Museum at Far Hills
The foundation of the United States Golf Association on Dec. 22, 1894 marked the formal organization of American golf, establishing a centralized body to write the Rules, conduct national championships and establish a national system of handicapping. The USGA also plays a prominent role as the game's historian in the United States, collecting, displaying and preserving artifacts and memorabilia at its Museum and Archives in Far Hills, N.J.
The USGA HQ was at Golf House in New York City (Left) until it moved to Far Hills, NJ.
About the USGA
The USGA is the national governing body of golf in the USA and Mexico. The USGA annually conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and 10 national amateur championships. It also conducts two state team championships and helps conduct the Walker Cup Match, Curtis Cup Match and World Amateur Team Championships.
The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System®, celebrates the history of the game, and administers an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program, which has allocated more than $65 million over 13 years to successful programs that bring the game’s values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities. For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.
The USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History showcases the nation’s largest and most significant collection of golf artifacts and documents. The interactive multimedia exhibits tell the story of the game’s development in the United States, highlighting the greatest moments in the game’s history, with a particular focus on United States Golf Association champions and championships. Visitors also have the opportunity to tour the USGA Research and Test Center and play a round on the Pynes Putting Course. For more information about the USGA Museum, or to visit the Museum in Somerset County, N.J., visit the Museum Web site at www.usgamuseum.com or call (908) 234-2300.
About The PGA of America
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold; to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry.
By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.
The United States Golf Association
P.O. Box 708
Far Hills, N.J. 07931
908-234-2300 Fax: 908-234-9687
Frequent Q & A
By Dr. Rand Jerris
What is the origin of the word 'golf?'
The word 'golf' is not an acronym for anything. Rather, it derives linguistically from the Dutch word 'kolf' or 'kolve,' meaning quite simply 'club.' In the Scottish dialect of the late 14th or early 15th century, the Dutch term became 'goff' or 'gouff,' and only later in the 16th century 'golf.'
The linguistic connections between the Dutch and Scottish terms are but one reflection of what was a very active trade industry between the Dutch ports and the ports on the east coast of Scotland from the 14th through 17th centuries.
Some scholars suggest that the Dutch game of 'kolf,' played with a stick and ball on frozen canals in the wintertime, was brought by the Dutch sailors to the east coast of Scotland, where it was transferred on to the public linkslands and eventually became the game we know today.
How did the terms 'birdie' and 'eagle' come into golf?
The term 'birdie' originated in the United States in 1899. H.B. Martin's "Fifty Years of American Golf" contains an account of a foursomes match played at the Atlantic City (N.J.) CC. One of the players, Ab Smith relates: "my ball... came to rest within six inches of the cup. I said 'That was a bird of a shot... I suggest that when one of us plays a hole in one under par he receives double compensation.' The other two agreed and we began right away, just as soon as the next one came, to call it a 'birdie.' In 19th century American slang, 'bird' refereed to anyone or anything excellent or wonderful.
By analogy with 'birdie,' the term 'eagle' soon thereafter became common to refer to a score one better than a 'bird.' Also by analogy, the term 'albatross' for double eagle - an even bigger eagle!
What is the origin of the word 'bogey?'
The term 'bogey' comes from a song that was popular in the British Isles in the early 1890s, called "The Bogey Man" (later known as "The Colonel Bogey March"). The character of the song was an elusive figure who hid in the shadows: "I'm the Bogey Man, catch me if you can."
Golfers in Scotland and England equated the quest for the elusive Bogey Man with the quest for the elusive perfect score. By the mid to late 1890s, the term 'bogey score' referred to the ideal score a good player could be expected to make on a hole under perfect conditions. It also came to be used to describe stroke play tournaments - hence, in early Rules books we find a section detailing the regulations for 'Bogey Competitions.' It was only in the late 1900s/early 1910s that the concept of 'Par' started to emerge - this being the designated number of strokes a scratch player could be expected to take on a hole in ideal conditions. In this way par was distinguished from bogey. The term par itself is a standard term in sports handicapping, where it simply means 'level' or 'even.'
What are the origins of the term 'dormie?'
Historically, the term dormie is derived from the French/Latin cognate 'dormir,' meaning 'to sleep,' suggesting that a player who is 'dormie' can relax (literally, go to sleep) without fear of losing the match.
Why do golfers shout 'Fore!' when they hit an errant shot?
The word 'fore' is Scottish in origin, and is a shortened version of the word 'before' or 'afore.' The old Scottish warning, essentially meaning "look out ahead," most probably originated in military circles, where it was used by artillery men as a warning to troops in forward positions. Golfers as early as the 18th century simply adopted this military warning cry for use on the links.
What is the definition of a 'links' course?
'Links' is a term that refers to a very specific geographic land form found in Scotland. Such tracts of low-lying, seaside land are characteristically sandy, treeless, and undulating, often with lines of dunes or dune ridges, and covered by bent grass and gorse. To be a true links, the tract of land must lie near the mouth of a river - that is, in an estuarine environment. From the Middle Ages onward, linksland (generally speaking, poor land for farming) were common grounds used for sports, including archery, bowls and golf.
Because many of the early courses of Scotland were built on these common linksland, golf courses and links have forever been associated. The term 'links' is commonly misapplied to refer to any golf course. But remember that a true links depends only on geography.
What is the origin of the popular golf game called 'skins?'
As a format of golf gambling, 'skins' has been around for decades, but really only became popular after the creation of "The Skins Game" in the 1980s. In other parts of the country, 'skins' is also known as 'cats,' 'scats,' 'skats,' or 'syndicates.' Of these, 'syndicates' seems to be the oldest term, going back at least to the 1950s, and possibly earlier. It has been suggested that 'skins,' 'scats,' etc. are simply shortened, simplified versions of the term 'syndicates.'
Why are there 18 holes on a golf course?
The links at St. Andrews occupy a narrow strip of land along the sea. As early as the 15th century, golfers at St. Andrews established a customary route through the undulating terrain, playing to holes whose locations were dictated by topography. The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property. One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes. In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and were therefore combined. The number was thereby reduced from 11 to nine, so that a complete round of the links comprised 18 holes.
When golf clubs in the UK formally recognized the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews as the rule-making body for the sport in the late 1890s, it became necessary for many clubs to expand or reduce the length of their course to eighteen holes. Prior to this time, courses ranged in length from six holes to upward of 20 holes. However, if golfers were to play by the official R&A rules, then their appointed round would consist of 18 holes.
Where does the word 'mulligan' come from?
There is considerable debate about this topic, to say the least. There are several clubs and several people who have staked claims about the origin of the term 'mulligan.'
The story most widely accepted focuses on a gentleman named David Mulligan who played at the St. Lambert CC in Montreal, Canada during the 1920s. There are several versions of the David Mulligan story.
Mr. Mulligan was a hotelier in the first half of the century, a part-owner and manager of the Biltmore Hotel in New York City, as well as several large Canadian hotels. One story says that the first mulligan was an impulsive sort of event - that one day Mulligan hit a very long drive off the first tee, just not straight, and acting on impulse re-teed and hit again. His partners found it all amusing, and decided that the shot that Mulligan himself called a 'correction shot' deserved a better named, so they called it a 'mulligan.'
Story two: Mulligan played regularly with a group of friends at St. Lambert, and in the morning he drove to pick up his golfing buddies. The road into the club was reportedly bumpy and windy and just sort of generally poor, with bridge of bumpy railroad ties. An extra shot was allotted to Mulligan, the driver of the car, on the first tee because he was jumpy and shaking from the difficult drive.
Story three: this story again identified a specific moment, citing a day when David Mulligan showed up late to the course, having scrambled to get out of bed late and get dressed and get to the course on time. He was frazzled on the first tee, hit a poor shot, and re-teed.
Another version of the 'mulligan' story comes from the Essex Fells CC in N.J. This story is one of the latest, and may therefore be less credible. According to this version, the term was named after a locker room attendant at the club named John A. 'Buddy' Mulligan, who worked at the club during the 1930s and was known for replaying shots, particularly on the first tee.
Dr. Rand Jerris
Compiled by Dr. Rand Jerris, former USGA Museum Curator
Golf Etiquette 101
Unlike many sports, golf is for the most part played without the supervision of a referee, umpire or coach. The game relies on the individual golfer to show consideration for other players and to abide by the rules. New golfers are often in need of advice about customary behavior and practices to follow on course so that play proceeds safely and without delay. Here are 10 tips to help all players get the maximum enjoyment from the game.
The Spirit of the Game
Unlike many sports, golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.
Consideration for Other Players
No Disturbance or Distraction
Players should always show consideration for other players on the course and should not disturb their play by moving, talking or making any unnecessary noise.
Players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.
On the teeing ground, a player should not tee his ball until it is his turn to play.
Players should not stand close to or directly behind the ball, or directly behind the hole, when a player is about to play.
On the Putting Green
On the putting green, players should not stand on another player's line of putt or when he is making a stroke, cast a shadow over his line of putt.
Players should remain on or close to the putting green until all other players in the group have holed out.
In stroke play, a player who is acting as a marker should, if necessary, on the way to the next tee, check the score with the player concerned and record it.
Pace of Play
Play at Good Pace and Keep Up
Players should play at a good pace. The Committee may establish pace of play guidelines that all players should follow.
It is a group's responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group.
Be Ready to Play
Players should be ready to play as soon as it is their turn to play. When playing on or near the putting green, they should leave their bags or carts in such a position as will enable quick movement off the green and towards the next tee. When the play of a hole has been completed, players should immediately leave the putting green.
If a player believes his ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, he should play a provisional ball.
Players searching for a ball should signal the players in the group behind them to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found.
They should not search for five minutes before doing so. Having allowed the group behind to play through, they should not continue play until that group has passed and is out of range.
Priority on the Course
Unless otherwise determined by the Committee, priority on the course is determined by a group's pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round.
Care of the Course
Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others. If a rake is within reasonable proximity of the bunker, the rake should be used for this purpose.
Repair of Divots, Ball-Marks and Damage by Shoes
Players should carefully repair any divot holes made by them and any damage to the putting green made by the impact of a ball (whether or not made by the player himself). On completion of the hole by all players in the group, damage to the putting green caused by golf shoes should be repaired.
Preventing Unnecessary Damage
Players should avoid causing damage to the course by removing divots when taking practice swings or by hitting the head of a club into the ground, whether in anger or for any other reason.
Players should ensure that no damage is done to the putting green when putting down bags or the flagstick.
In order to avoid damaging the hole, players and caddies should not stand too close to the hole and should take care during the handling of the flagstick and the removal of a ball from the hole. The head of a club should not be used to remove a ball from the hole.
Players should not lean on their clubs when on the putting green, particularly when removing the ball from the hole.
The flagstick should be properly replaced in the hole before players leave the putting green.
Local notices regulating the movement of golf carts should be strictly observed.
Conclusion; Penalties for Breach
If players follow the guidelines in this Section, it will make the game more enjoyable for everyone.
If a player consistently disregards these guidelines during a round or over a period of time to the detriment of others, it is recommended that the Committee consider taking appropriate disciplinary action against the offending player. Such action may, for example, include prohibiting play for a limited time on the course or in a certain number of competitions. This is considered to be justifiable in terms of protecting the interest of the majority of golfers who wish to play in accordance with these guidelines.
In the case of a serious breach of Etiquette, the Committee may disqualify a player under Rule 33-7.
NOT A MEMBER OF A GOLF CLUB?
START YOUR OWN.
Forming a golf club is not at all difficult. A "golf clubis an organization of at least ten individual members that operates under bylaws with committees (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System™ (see Compliance Checklist, Section 8-2m; Decision 2/7). A golf club must be licensed by the USGA® to utilize the USGA Handicap System. A club can obtain a license agreement directly from the USGA or through its membership in an authorized golf association that is already licensed by the USGA and that has jurisdiction in the geographic area that includes the principal location of the golf club.
Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. They must be able to return scores personally. These scores must be readily available for inspection by others, including, but not limited to, fellow members and the club's Handicap Committee.
Each golf club must determine its type. A golf club is one of three (3) types:
1. It is located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating™ and USGA Slope Rating® where a majority of the club's events are played and the club's scoring records reside; or
2. Its members are affiliated or known to one another via a business, fraternal, ethnic or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club; or
3. The members had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign-up of the membership is done by solicitation to the general public (e.g., Internet, newspaper).
An organization of amateur golfers at a public course is considered a golf club if it satisfies the above conditions. If a "golf club" which utilizes the USGA Handicap System is not readily available to you, you can create such a club with a minimum of ten golfers. The club can be formed from business associates or just golfing friends, provided that they live in a close geographic area and play golf regularly together.
Click to review a sample set of possible bylaws . The USGA Handicap System manual, which explains all procedures, can be purchased for $3.00 plus shipping through the USGA Order Department (Golf House, P.O. Box 708 , Far Hills , New Jersey 07931 ).
We want to make it possible for every golfer to get a USGA Handicap Index®. Golf is much more fun when you can compete equitably with any other golfer.
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
(Note 1: A newly forming golf club should modify and adapt the following Articles to fit its particular circumstances and review the document with its own counsel).
(Note 2: Statements in parenthesis are recommendations and may be modified as decided by the club).
Article I - NAME
The name of this golf club shall be ___________________________________________ Golf Club.
Article II - PURPOSE
FIRST: To stimulate interest in golf at the ____________________________________ (course or company) by bringing together a group of golfers desirous of forming a golfing organization.
SECOND: To promote and foster among the members a closer bond and fraternity for their joint and mutual benefit, and to promote and conserve the best interests and true spirit of the game of golf as embodied in its ancient and honorable traditions.
THIRD: To encourage conformance to the USGA Rules of Golf by creating a representative authority.
FOURTH: To maintain a uniform system of handicapping as set forth in the USGA Handicap System and issue USGA Handicap Indexes to the members.
FIFTH: To provide an authoritative body to govern and conduct club competitions.
Article III - MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Membership shall be available to all (men/women) 18 years of age or older. There shall be a least 10 members with a maximum membership of (300).
Section 2. Memberships in the club are individual and non-transferable (which is associated with the ________________________________________ privately owned and operated golf course).
Section 3. Only golfers with a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with fellow members and who can personally return scores for posting may be members and receive USGA Handicap Indexes from the club.
Section 4. Membership confers no voice in the operation of any golf courses, clubhouses nor any facilities of the courses.
Section 5. Membership confers no special privileges in connection with any golf course.
Section 6. Memberships in the club are for a calendar year only, with all memberships expiring on (October 31st).
Section 7. The fiscal year for the club will be (November 1st through October 31st).
Section 8. Each candidate for membership shall be proposed and seconded by two active members in good standing. The Board of Directors shall act upon each proposal by vote and two negative votes shall disqualify any candidate.
Section 9. The Board of Directors may confer honorary memberships upon those whom they feel have contributed to the advancement of golf. The unanimous affirmative vote of the Board shall be required to approve such action.
Section 10. In the event that any member of the club shall commit any act which reflects discredit or disrepute thereon or shall refuse or neglect to comply with the rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Directors or the duly appointed officers, such member shall be subject to suspension or expulsion after (ten days) written notice and the right to be heard, by a vote of two-thirds of the Board of Directors at any regular meeting or special meeting called for such purpose.
Section 11. The annual meeting of the ________________________________________ shall be held on the (third Wednesday in the month of October). The Board of Directors shall provide for the holding of such other meetings as may be deemed necessary or desirable, and they shall call special meetings upon written petition signed by not less than (ten percent of the membership).
Section 12. A legal quorum at any meeting shall be (twenty) members present in person or by proxy. Each active member in good standing shall be entitled to one vote.
Section 13. All membership fees and dues shall be established by the Board of Directors from time to time in such amounts as they deem to be adequate to operate and maintain the club. Members shall be liable for dues until their written resignation has been received and accepted. All monies collected shall accrue to the benefit of the membership.
Article IV - BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1. The Board of Directors shall consist of five members in good standing of the _______________________________________________ and they shall exercise all powers of management of the club not specifically excepted by these By-Laws. The Board of Directors shall include the General Manager of the golf courses or his nominee.
Section 2. At least five weeks prior to the Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of five members of the organization. At least four weeks prior to the Annual Meeting, this committee shall submit to the Board and shall post upon the club bulletin board a list of nominees to fill any vacancies for the term o office beginning on the day of the meeting. Names of other members in good standing may be nominated by petition signed by a least (ten) members and submitted to the Board at least two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. At least one week prior to the Annual Meeting, a list of all candidates nominated shall be mailed to each member at their last known address and a copy of such list shall be posted on the club bulletin board.
Section 3. Voting shall be written ballot and those names receiving the greatest number of votes cast shall be declared to be elected. The Board shall appoint a committee of three judges who are not members of the Board or candidates for election to supervise the election.
Section 4. The Board of Directors shall meet at such times and places as they may select and a majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum at any meeting.
Section 5. In the case of any vacancy through death, resignation, disqualification or other cause, the remaining directors, even though less than a quorum, may elect a successor by majority vote to hold office for the unexpired term of the director whose place shall be vacant, and until the election of his successor.
Article V - OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
Section 1. Within (ten days) after the annual meeting and election, the Board of Directors shall meet and elect the officers.
Section 2. The officers shall consist of president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, and their duties shall be such as their titles would indicate or such as may be assigned to them respectively from time to time.
Section 3. The Board of Directors shall authorize and define the powers and duties of all committees. Chairmen and members of all committees shall be appointed by the president, and the president shall be an ex-officio member of all committees except the nominating committee.
Section 4. The following committees shall be appointed each year, with such other committees as the president may deem necessary or advisable:
Tournament Committee to arrange and schedule with the management of any golf course as necessary, and conduct all intra-club and inter-club competitions.
Handicap Committee composed primarily of members with the responsibility to establish a fair and proper system of handicaps in accordance with procedures set forth in the USGA Handicap System Manual.
Membership Committee to investigate and act upon all applications for membership and to recommend appropriate action to the Board of Directors.
Social Committee to encourage and arrange social entertainment features and events for special occasions.
Article VI - AMENDMENTS TO BY-LAWS
Section 1. The Board of Directors shall have the power to repeal or amend any of these By-Laws provided that such action shall not be effective until approved by a majority vote of the members of _______________________________ club at a meeting held in accordance with the provisions contained herein.