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UGA and the Utah Golf Foundation

by Jim Harland, UGA President

It’s hard to believe that the 2015 golf season is at its mid-point. It has been my pleasure to serve as the UGA President for the past two years, during which, and thanks to our great staff and board of directors, we have continued to see growth in the association and consistent improvement in the mechanics of how we operate. We appreciate your use of the GHIN Mobile App, and our newly redesigned website. Renewing your membership and entering your scores using the app or website is now quick and easy and you can do it from any location. You may also notice at your local club or course that some of the UGA computers have been replaced with 10” tablets by our Member Services staff.   We will continue to update other golf courses with tablets over the next two-three years.  These units are more cost effective and easy to use.  Please see your local golf course Utah Section PGA professional for instructions if you need assistance using this new technology. 

The UGA’s Tournament Director, Jacob Miller, continues to provide outstanding tournament operations for the association. He provides leadership to over 20 volunteers who regularly work at our championships and USGA qualifiers. Jacob has continued to focus on accuracy and efficiency for all UGA tournaments and his work (as well as all of the staff and volunteers) at the recent 117th State Amateur at Solder Hollow was an outstanding example of what they can accomplish. Along with this we congratulate Jordan Rodgers winner and Darrin Overson, runner up, at this year’s event. Both of these gentlemen are very fine examples of skill, accomplishment and courtesy of Utah amateur golf. 

Leading the UGA staff is Executive Director Bill Walker. We are thankful of Bill’s dedication, creativity and consistent goal of improving what we do and how we do it. Bill’s contributions to the association are immeasurable. Over the past three years, we have focused on member services and benefits, asking ourselves, “what can we do for our UGA members that are recreational golfers?” Annually for your $32 membership fee, we continue to provide many for “two for one” golf and range benefits offered by our Utah Section PGA Professionals, Uinta Golf merchandise and apparel discounts, access to unique playing opportunities through the country club Member Day events, discounts at Wingate Hotel St. George and the Utah Section PGA’s Golf Pass. This year, a regular UGA membership has nearly $1,200 in member benefits.  A Gold Club Membership for $150 also provides free rounds of golf at Soldier Hollow and TalonsCove, lessons, golf club fitting and merchandise. 

Part of the mission of the UGA is to support and grow the game of golf in Utah.   As part of this responsibility we have teamed up with Golf Alliance of Utah (GAU).   This is a group of golf industry organizations and specialists who promote Utah golf and work with local governments and decision-makers for better awareness of the importance and value of golf to the Utah economy.  This past year GAU lobbying efforts under the direction of Mike Bailey and Ryan Petersen helped defeat three bills in the legislative sessions to eliminate Daylight Savings Time which would have adversely affected the outdoor recreation industry. The UGA and GAU have also provided testimony at several recent public meetings concerning Salt Lake City golf operations and potential course closures. Our organizations will continue to fight for the availability and affordability of quality public golf courses. 

In 2014 the Utah Golf Foundation (a 501 c 3 non-profit organization) which has been in existence for over 25 years, was reorganized. Although the current UGA officers were designated as initial members, we have worked this past year to elect several new board members who will be able to help the Foundation move forward to accomplish its stated mission: “To provide financial support to programs that expand opportunity and access to those who wish to play the game of golf in Utah.” Initial efforts included financial support of The First Tee for 2014 and 2015. The foundation has also contracted with Youth On Course (a California based organization) who will work with the Foundation to provide reduced pricing for junior greens fees at several courses throughout the state. Youth On Course will subsidize the green fee discount so that no junior will pay over $5.00/round. The Foundation is also working to develop golf programs for disabled veterans who are golfers or those Vets who want to learn. 

Did you know that one dollar of your $32 UGA membership fee goes directly to the Foundation?   Any additional amount you can provide will be greatly appreciated and it is tax deductible, contributions can be made at UGA.org. As a kick-off to the Foundation’s fund raising and program development efforts, we are hosting a charity Pro-Am on October 5, 2015 at the Salt Lake Country Club. This event will showcase the focus of the Foundation’s mission and participants will have the opportunity to meet and play with several golf notables in Utah, including Zac Blair, Jimmy Blair, Daniel Summerhays, Bruce Summerhays, Tony Finau, Bob May, Dan Forsman, BJ Staten, and Kelli Kuehne.  Foursome and single player entries are now available. Please view the brochure below or contact the UGA office at 801-563-0400 for additional information and to sign up.

We at the UGA sincerely appreciate your membership and involvement. Your contributions to the game are essential for keeping Utah golf strong.