Warning: USGA Annual Meeting Blog

It's always scary when the USGA dares to be hip, which is why a click on the USGA Annual Meeting blog link is taken at your own risk.

To spice up USGA spinman Marty Parkes's posts, I first tried to plug his eloquence into the Ali G Tranzlata.

da usga is organized dig a lot of non-profit organitazions. dat is, it is an association of a crew of people and/or facilities involved in a particular industry or business. in our case, da usga is legally an organitazion of memba golf courses. dey come in all shapes and sizes: some is wealthy and private, udders is public and poa.

Ah, but why resort to that when the humor is found in plain old English? 

The USGA is organized like a lot of non-profit organizations. That is, it is an association of a bunch of people and/or facilities involved in a particular industry or business. In our case, the USGA is legally an organization of member golf courses. They come in all shapes and sizes: some are wealthy and private, others are public and poor.

Most are poor because they've spent so much money making changes to accomodate technology we failed to regulate.

Oh wait, how did that last sentence get in there?

We have nearly 10,000 such member facilities that legally comprise the Association. Each one of them – regardless of whether they are public or private; nine or 18 or 36 or 54 holes; or a driving range or “short course” where you can take lessons and hit balls -- receives a ballot each year that they can cast toward the election of USGA officers for the next calendar year. Many courses receive this ballot, fill it out, and mail it back. Representatives from each facility can also attend the Annual Meeting, if they so choose. Our courses also receive a copy of the Association’s Annual Report at the meeting or in the mail afterwards.

This situation isn’t much different than what you see in the private or corporate world. Most companies have stockholders. These shareholders receive an annual report each year along with a ballot to cast concerning the election of members of the board of directors as well as other governance issues that may be out there (such as whether to merge with another company). Shareholders can choose whether or not to attend the meeting, who to vote for, and express their opinions about the general state of things.

Oh I see. We're like corporate people, you know?

So this means any USGA member or media member can come to the meeting, right?

Most of the folks who attend our Annual Meeting come from member facilities located near the site of the meeting (San Francisco in this case). Certain USGA staffers like me attend, as do many USGA committee volunteers. We invite certain members of the media (especially local ones) to come. Officials from many state and regional golf associations (again mostly local ones) come as well. And, by the way, the folks who attend are one and the same with our invited list of guests. We have few, if any, gatecrashers…

Oh, so really you make sure to only invite likeminded shareholders and the media you invite? Huh. 

The Annual Meeting is held on a Saturday each year. Its main purpose is for election of incoming members of our Executive Committee (better known as XC around Golf House). This XC has the final say on all USGA matters, great and small. During the meeting, we also recognize those who are retiring from the Committee and thank them for all their hard work and sacrifice of time and money. This year, for example, we have three people retiring from the XC and three new folks joining.

The retiring members had trouble getting along with the president and disagreed with him on many points, which, as in the corporate world, is strongly discouraged.

There I go again! 

This is humorous, and like the rest of the blog, was not intended to be:

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that most staffers and several volunteers arrive a few days before Saturday. We are sequestered in various committee meetings during those days, conducting discussions and deciding upon policy for the future.

Why would that be a full disclosure deal? Here I thought he was going to mention that they arrive early to analyze the halfway house burger at Olympic Club or sample those cookies laid out in the San Francisco Golf Club locker room. 

Several years ago, my boss and our executive director, David Fay, asked me to take the minutes of our XC meetings. That is, to be blunt, hardly a coveted post at the USGA. To my utter amazement, I retain this duty to this day. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’ve done a good job or David just can’t find anyone else that he feels deserving of being saddled with this task. He once told me, in fact, that even if I leave the Association, I will still be required to return to take XC minutes.

Hahahahahaha. That jokester! 

Since the curtain is about to rise on our Annual Meeting tomorrow, I will wrap it up for today. I will drop back for a few minutes late tomorrow night after our meeting held in the City by the Bay…

Wow, can't wait. Maybe a Gavin Newsom post might liven up this affair?  Oops, bad pun, I'm sorry.