9 Ways to Connect With the USGA in 2017 January 3, 2017 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By DAVID CHMIEL, USGA

The USGA and R&A work together to make the Rules of Golf helpful to golfers everywhere, in any situation. (Courtesy USGA)

With a new year upon us, it’s never too soon to plan your golf calendar for 2017. Here are nine ways to sync up with what the USGA is offering to help you enjoy a great year in the game:

1. We are keeping the Rules of Golf at the top of our list: The R&A and the USGA have established the Rules Modernization project to assess ways in which the Rules of Golf might become easier to use and understand. The project arose from the recognition that the effort to be precise, comprehensive and fair in revising the Rules over the years has made them lengthy, complex and confusing for many golfers. We also hope to strengthen the role of the Rules in efforts to improve pace of play and enhance environmental stewardship. Stay tuned for more exciting news!


USGA Champion Tom Watson has enjoyed time spent visiting the USGA Golf Museum. (USGA/John Mummert)

2. The USGA Golf Museum has something for everyone… The USGA Golf Museum, home to the world’s premier collection of golf artifacts and memorabilia, gets a significant boost in 2017 through a long-term loan from The PGA of America to house and care for the Otto Probst Library. This collection of more than 6,000 books and periodicals dates to the 1700s and covers a wide range of topics – from instruction, art and golf club histories to fiction, humor and travelogues. One highlight of the Probst collection is three 18th-century printings of The Goff, one of the earliest golf poems. Access to the Probst collection will be available to researchers later this year. The Library is open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by appointment only at library@usga.org. Interested in visiting the Museum? Click here for more details.

USGA agronomist Brian Whitlark takes a soil profile at Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose, Calif. (USGA)

3. The USGA Green Section continues to drive next-generation innovation: In 2017, the USGA will fund more than $1.2 million in turfgrass and environmental research at universities across the country. USGA-funded research improves playing conditions and helps golf courses become more economically and environmentally sustainable. USGA funding helps develop new turf varieties that deliver better playing conditions while using less water and resources. USGA-funded research also establishes best management practices that help golf courses protect and improve the environment. Click here for more information on our commitment to course care.

Matthew Pringle, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research, Science and Innovation for the USGA, will help lead the 2017 Innovation Symposium. (USGA/Mariah Tauger)

4. The USGA celebrates and inspires innovation in all facets of the game: The 2017 Golf Innovation Symposium, to be held March 6-7 in Vancouver, British Columbia, will focus on the golfer experience, facility sustainability and innovation in governance. Supported by Golf Canada and the Mexican Golf Federation, the fourth USGA symposium will promote innovative thinking for a healthy future for the game. The USGA will introduce technologies and tools and present results from its strategic partnership with the University of Minnesota. For more information on the symposium, click here.

P.J Boatwright interns learn about the USGA before they begin working for golf associations across the country. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

5. We help identify the next generation of leaders in golf: In 2017, the USGA’s P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program, named for the late USGA executive director, will mark its 26th year. The program provides entry-level opportunities in golf administration, while delivering significant support to the state/regional golf association community in the promotion of amateur golf. Think you, or someone you know, might be the perfect candidate for a Boatwright internship? Click here for more information.

Erin Hills, the Wisconsin daily-fee course, will wow golf fans during the U.S. Open. (USGA/John Mummert)

6. Erin Hills, an American original, is poised to host the 2017 U.S. Open: The daily-fee public golf course, about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, Wis., has hosted two previous USGA championships – the 2011 U.S. Amateur and the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links – but it will provide golf’s grandest stage in June. Designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten and opened in 2006, Erin Hills sits on 652 acres of rolling topography in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine region. To learn more about the 117th U.S. Open, click here.

2015 U.S. Open Champion Jordan Spieth gave volunteers a moment to cherish after the trophy presentation. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

7. Our championships give everyone a chance to give back: If you have the game to attempt to qualify for one of our championships, we wish you the best of luck as you chase your dream. But there are a variety of ways that you can support the game. Serving as a USGA volunteer gives you the opportunity to make the event special for competitors and spectators and be a witness to golf history. Click here to find the best options for you.

A beautiful day with friends on the course is just one of the many things to love about golf. (USGA/Steve Gibbons)

8. We all know there’s a lot to love about golf: Maybe you can’t wait to be the first to walk down a dewy fairway in the morning or love to chase the setting sun as you sneak in a few holes after work. Or you could be thrilled to get someone you love hooked on golf. No matter where you find inspiration in the game, you can count on us to remind you that “there’s a lot to love about golf.” You can stay connected 24/7 with the USGA across a variety of platforms, from the USGA Member Clubhouse to usga.org or our YouTube page, where you can find “The 9,” our original show that debuts a new episode on the 9th of every month.

The USGA's PLAY9 program helps give everyone the chance to play more golf.(USGA/Darren Carroll)

9. There is always time to PLAY9: Whether you are an avid player short on time, new to golf or finding your way back to the game, the USGA’s PLAY9 initiative is a perfect way to enjoy a round of golf. Whether you PLAY9 on the 9th of every month or make time to PLAY9 whenever you can, it is just another way to enjoy golf. The USGA recognizes and celebrates the many virtues of the 9-hole round, especially since you can post a nine-hole score to establish or maintain your Handicap Index. Click here to learn more about PLAY9.

David Chmiel is the manager of members content for the USGA. Email him at dchmiel@usga.org. Interested in becoming a USGA member? Click here for more information.