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Hats Are In The Mail! USGA Denies Report of Membership Program's Demise

Entering its 42nd year, the USGA members program once formed a strong bond between golfers, the Rules Of Golf and the best traditions of the sport. Plus, it gave us some stellar address labels and notepads.

However since the closure of Golf Journal magazine twelve years ago, there has been a gradual eroding of golfer-USGA relations in part because, well, how many US Open hats can one get excited about? In recent years, members have enjoyed some cool-on-site perks at the US Open.

But according to's Adam Schupak, the USGA has "disbanded its membership program and created a development initiative aimed at raising $100 million." The USGA, contacted by Schupak, denies the report and says hats are in the mail!

When reached for comment, USGA spokeswoman Janeen Driscoll said, "The USGA has no intention of eliminating the members program," and noted that renewals are out and hats are being mailed to members.

This part of the report was the most depressing given what a shining star this person was for the operation:

A USGA switchboard operator confirmed Tuesday that Fiona Dolan, the USGA's senior director of member programs since 2003, no longer was employed. Sources said another part-time membership position had been eliminated. When contacted by Morning Read, Dolan would not respond to questions.

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Reader Comments (16)

I just happen to be in Dionne Murray's neighborhood for the next 4 days. I'll stop by her house and tell her I'll happily rejoin when Golf Journal returns. Any other messages, just let me know.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Is there also a note from Ms Murray inviting members to join her at the next AA meeting included in this years packet? Or at least two free drink tickets to one of the years USGA sanctioned events included?
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon
This one surprised me a bit...have always sent in my check...never really cared about the hat and always gave it away to a local kid (IMHO the hat was sub-standard)....did like receiving a rules book every couple of years I think....always got a bag tag...but honestly just viewed it as a donation to support golf and not some kind of swag grab.....I wonder what this all means?....has membership been dropping off in big numbers....sounds like they put some golden handcuffs on Ms. Dolan since she could tell the real story....wonder how they plan to raise $100M and in what time frame...maybe POTUS will see opportunity opportunity for the brand here?
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
The USGA's decision to keep the US Women's Open at Trump's NJ course is as unforgivable as it is ironic. (The WOMEN'S Open? At a Trump course? Really?) This will be my last year as a member. I only reupped my membership this year out of respect for Arnie.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterR.P. Kelly
USGA never got my money. I'm not kicking in for high salaries to executives who certainly don't need the money. They seem to have other big money sources, anyway. I can't imagine that they need me to help. My league does send them money for my handicap services.

I do look forward to getting their annual notepads.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBud
And now they're going to beat the bushes, looking for $100 million? This would be tragic if it weren't so laughable.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered Commenterrgw
KLG & Brandon: did you guys mean Diana Murphy? Maybe you should go to the AA mtg...
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPops
This administration and leadership is eerily similar to another one in the news right now.

KLG, don't forget about the guard gate that's gone up. You know, to keep the riff-raff off the island.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterLema's Ghost
@ pops: She doesn't even remember her own name after she pumps a few gin & tonics in her and then proceeds to pound the chardonnay. She has taken the term "while we're young" to a whole new level.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon
Haven't joined in years. Not happy with the Ivy League good old boy fraternity. I'll support golf by other means.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Look for them to finally do the right thing, partner and revenue share with their real partners--State & Regional Golf Associations. Most of those are on USGA's GHIN System and think they are "National Governing Body" members anyway by being on GHIN. Talk about "Slow Play". This recommendation was first made to them about 40 years ago by those of us from the West Coast--NCGA.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterRRR
USGA's pampered execs don't know how to relate. They've never had to. $100M ain't chump change. They need an inter-office blind auction. I'd like to see the tab for the hats and notepads. I have used the pads. The hats are good for sifting garden soil I've discovered.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterOriginal AG
It's $20 right? I'll keep paying if they keep sending the hats.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
This sounds like the handy work of Sarah Hirshland. Why continue a program that engages hundreds of thousands of recreational golfers annually when, instead, you can raise a bunch of money from a few elite donors and take all the credit with the Executive Committee. Moreover, my guess is she's bringing in some high-priced consultants to do the work. Overpaid and vile!!
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDrJ
The Other Ghost: No, I haven't forgotten about the gate house. But I can have access to a pass. Reg might shoot me, though. I think I'll just let it go. This time.

Pops, never mind. But this is still a stupid idea. Like killing Golf Journal, which I've used to teach medical students about radiation poisoning, and dietary "supplements" in general. Eben Byers, look him up.
02.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
If Adam Schupak's reporting is untrue, then why is the USGA bringing on Marts & Lundy, a leading philanthropic consultancy?
02.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFarHillsFolly

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