Difference Between USGA And PGA

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Alex PT

The USGA (United States Golf Association) governs the rules of golf and conducts national championships. The PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) is a professional organization for golfers and runs the PGA Tour. They have distinct roles within the golfing community.

Difference Between USGA And PGA

AspectUSGA (United States Golf Association)PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association)
PurposeTo govern the rules of golf and promote the game’s integrity and amateur status.A professional organization primarily focused on serving the needs of golf professionals.
Rules and HandicapsDevelops and maintains the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System.Focuses on promoting professional golf and does not govern the rules but follows them.
ChampionshipsOrganizes and conducts various national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, and U.S. Amateur.Organizes the PGA Tour and various professional golf tournaments, such as The Players Championship.
Amateur vs. ProPrimarily concerned with amateur golfers, ensuring fair play and rules compliance.Primarily serves professional golfers, providing support, education, and tournament opportunities.
MembershipOffers memberships to golf clubs and individual golfers, including amateurs.Offers memberships to golf professionals, including club pros and teaching professionals.
GovernanceFocuses on the governance of the sport, including equipment standards, course ratings, and rules interpretations.Primarily focuses on supporting and advancing the interests of golf professionals and their careers.
FundingReceives funding from golf club memberships and sales of rules books, equipment testing fees, and charitable contributions.Receives funding from professional golfer membership dues, tournament revenues, sponsorships, and merchandise sales.

What Does The USGA Do?

The USGA, known as the United States Golf Association is the US’s national association of golf clubs, facilities, and courses and the governing organization of golf for Mexico and the United States. In association with the R&A, the USGS develops and interprets the rules and regulations of golf. Also, the USGA offers a national handicap operation for golfers, conducts fourteen championships, comprising the U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Open, and U.S. Women’s Open, and examines golf equipment for conformity with rules and regulations. The USGA Museum and the USGA are located in Liberty Corner, New Jersey. 

When Was The USGA Created?

Initially, it was in 1894 that the USGA was created to unravel the issue associated with a national amateur championship. In the first part of that season, the Saint Andrew’s Gold Club, New York, Yonkers, and Newport County Club had been the winner of the first competitions of theirs named “national amateur champion”. It was that the fall, representatives from Newport, St. Andrew’s, The Country Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and Chicago Golf Club, all met in New York City to build a national governing organization, which could perform the guidelines as well as regulations of Golf for the nation and the tournament. On December twenty-two, 1894, this particular governing body created the Amateur Golf Association of the United States, then its title was transformed to “United States Golf Association”. The very first president of this company was Theodore Havemeyer, and also to honor him, the Amateur trophy was named.

When Did The Very First United States Amateur Take Place?

In 1895, the very first U.S. Amateur was held at the Newport Country Club, with Charles B. Macdonald winning the tournament, having been the 2 times runner-up in the competitions in prior seasons. Only practically as an afterthought, the initial U.S. Open was held the following day. It had been after 3 years later the 2 events were held at various clubs. Nowadays, the United States Golf Association administers 14 distinct national championships, 10 of which are terrific for amateurs.

Not quite long after, this organization hurriedly broadened its membership from the former 5 clubs. In 1910, there were 267 club members, and before 1932, there were 1,130 already. The club membership was nearly God-droyed during World War II and the Great Depression but reclaimed by 1947. Surprisingly, there were more than 5,000 clubs in 1980, and today, they have a spectacular 9,700 members.

When Did Ann Gregory Competed In The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship?

It was on September 17, 1956, that an African-American woman named Ann Gregory competed in the U.S.  Women’s Amateur Championship, having been the first-ever black woman to play in a national championship conducted by the United States Golf Association

The United States Golf Association organizes or co-organizes the following competitions:

1. Open Championship

 The amateurs and professionals may both enter the Open Golf Championship. In practice, the events are mostly won by professionals nowadays. The two Opens that are leading in the United States are;

U.S. Open – no gender or age restrictions, has a handicap index requirement of 1.4 or less. It was founded in 1895, U.S. open is the second-oldest of the four major championships. 

U.S. Women’s Open – majorly for females, with no age restrictions, have a handicap index requirement of 2.4 or less. It was established in 1946 and has been conducted by the United States Golf Association since 1953. The U.S. Women’s Open is the oldest of the five women’s major championships. 

The professionals dominated the U.S. Women’s Open championship and the last amateur that won the U.S. open was it 1933, which was 87 years ago. There is only one amateur who managed to win the women’s event once, in 1967, about 53 years ago. The United States Golf Association also administers the U.S. Senior Open for over 50 competitors. The PGA Tour Championship is the most recognized among the top five major championships by the world’s dominant your for golfers 50 and over. 

Most participants of this tour we’re the overwhelming majority of the competitors. European counterpart of the PGA Tour Championships, the European Senior Tour, is where the remaining players compete, which honors the U.S. Senior Open as one of its best three majors. In 2018, the United States Golf Association augmented a women’s counterpart. 

U.S. Senior Open – no gender constraint, accepted players age 50 and older, has a handicap index requirement of 3.4 or less, founded in 1980. 

U.S. Senior Women’s Open – women’s players age 50 and older, founded in 1018. 

What Does The PGA Do?

Professional Golfers’ Association is the term used for the professional association in men’s golf. It is usually shortened to PGA. However, there are different PGAs around the globe, including: 

1. Professional Golfers’ Association of America 

2. Professional Golfers’ Association (Ireland and Great Britain) 

Different organizations rule the world’s two top professional gold tours and they have the initials PGA in their titles, but they are now separated independently from the Professional Golfers’ Associations which founded them: 

PGA European Tour (which runs the Challenge Tour, European Senior Tour, and European Tour)

PGA Tour (which runs PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour China, Web.com Your, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, and Championships Your) 

The women’s synonymous term is Ladies Professional Golf Association, popularly shorted to LPGA. LPGA is what the United States association is called. However, all other women’s organizations have territorial appointments in their names, such as LPGA of Korea or LPGA of Japan. Initially, PGA was the prominent body for all other sorts of professional golf in their territories, but there are some, including those of the United Kingdom, United States, and Ireland, that are focused on the necessities of the prevalence of professional golfers who work as teaching or club professionals, instead of being tournament professionals. 

A lot of things in life come in all sizes and shapes except for today’s golf balls. Dramatically, golf balls have changed from what they used to be in their origin as smooth rocks and pebbles whacked around the fields of 15th century Scotland; today, golf balls are now made with responsive cores with multiple layers. As a natural reaction to progress in technology, modern-day golf balls are designed with laboratory-proven features that help modern players get the best out of their games. However, advancements in the manufacturing processes and technology could potentially cause an inrush of different compounds and sizes that would take away from the uniformity of modern golf balls, concealing players’ genuine ability caused by the usage of unreliable and inconsistent equipment. 

That’s why the United States Golf Association(USGA), the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), and the Royal and Ancient Gold Club of Saint Andrews (R&A) have developed a set of rules and regulations that all the bodies involved in professional golf today must follow and abide by. 

Professional Golf Ball Regulations 

So what are the regulating rules and regulations behind modern-day golf ball rules? Is there any difference between the USGA and PGA golf ball rules and regulations? 

In short, the answer is no! The LPGA and PGA (which are the bodies of individual golfers) alongside the USGA (the non-profit organization of golfers) and the R&A all united to follow the same set of rules, regulations, and standards for acceptable golf balls in today’s play. 

 The standards, rules, and regulations were formulated to keep brands and manufacturers of golf balls in line while simultaneously delivering players with gold balls that are consistent and reliable. According to the USGA Equipment Standards, golf club top manufacturers like Bridgestone and Titleist have submitted two-dozen golf ball samples to the R&A and the USGA for each of them to ensure they in a good fit for use. 

The rules heeding rules and regulations are rather succinct and straightforward;

1. Golf balls should not be asymmetrical 

2. Golf balls must strictly follow specific measurements of velocity and distance capabilities through vigorous examinations. 

3. Golf balls are prohibited from having weights that exceed 45.93 gm, or 1.720 ounces, although there’s no minimum weight. 

4. Golf ball diameter must surpass 42.93 mm, or 1.680 inches, although golf balls do not have the maximum required size. 

How Many Dimples On A Regulation Golf Ball?

The regulations seem pretty simple, but according to the book of USGA hold ball regulations, there is nothing related to golf ball dimples… or is there? 

There are, of course, regulations of golf ball dimples, and players need to know that before buying golf balls for play – whether recreational, tournament, or professional. After all, you wouldn’t want to make use of a non-regulation ball during your leisure rounds if you were not permitted to use it in tournament play. The basic rule regarding the regulation of golf ball dimples is that the pattern must not be asymmetrical.

This credence was precisely composed in the late 1970s after a golf ball manufacturing brand named Polara built an asymmetrical golf ball. It was planned as a self-correcting ball to help golfers hit straighter by lessening their odds of shredding it off the tee, simultaneously offering them an unjust benefit against fellow competitors.

Are you wondering how an irregular simple design can give you an edge rather than cause harm? The positive impact was created by making golf ball dimples that have normal depth around the ball’s equator but were very shallow somewhere else on the ball. This technological advancement adjusted the spin while in flight, correcting the trajectory of the ball designed by an incorrect shot off the tee.

  While most amateur players we’re happy about the biased result from these balls, the USGA rightly considered these biased advantages as breaking the rules.

The great thing we loved about these modern-day USGS golf ball regulations is the fact that they are adopted by all the governing organizations and authorities affected in professional golf. Whether a golfer teeing up in the Americas or playing a tournament in Scotland, he or she can rest assured that the same rules and regulations will be applied to everyone who holds the modern-day USGA golf ball regulations in high regard.


We’ve come to the final session of this article. We hope you found resources in it. And most importantly, you now know the difference between USGA and PGA.




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