These are some of the major golf organizations that run the game of golf and play major roles on how golf works. There are many others that are not even listed.
United States Golf Association (USGA) – This organization is responsible for running some of our most important golf tournaments in the U.S. like the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Open and the national amateur events like the Men’s and Women’s Amateur. The USGA determines what the Rules of Golf are for this country so they produce the rulebook. They also determine what golf balls and clubs are legal and how the handicap system works. They do various other things to promote golf. There are other affiliate organizations that are the local arm of the USGA and will do things like conduct state amateur events. In Michigan, this organization is the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM).
Professional Golf Association (PGA) – This organization represents the interests of its PGA members, runs some national and local professional tournament, and promotes the growth of the game. Membership into the PGA is a rigorous endeavor requiring several years of classes and internships. Nationally they conduct the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. Like the USGA, the PGA has local chapters. The president of the Michigan Section of the PGA in 2008 will be Dave Kendall, director of the Kendall Academy.
PGA Tour– This organization runs the Men’s Professional Tour and the Nationwide Tour in the U.S. At one time, these tours were run by the PGA, but years ago, they spun off from the PGA and are an independent organization from the PGA. Tim Finchem is the Executive Director of the PGA Tour. Oddly enough, the TPA does not run any of the four majors in golf. The USGA has the U.S. Open, the PGA has the PGA Championship, the Royal & Ancient (the USGA equivalent for the British Isles) has the British Open, and the Augusta National Golf Club has the Masters. The Tour owns some golf courses throughout the country like the TPC at Dearborn and the TPC at Sawgrass.
Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) – This is a combination of the PGA and the PGA Tour for women’s golf. They represent lady golf professionals and they operate the LPGA Tour and the Futures Tour.
Golf organizations no doubt have a large impact on how golf works.