Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Amateur Golf in Mexico is Alive and Well

By Mary Armstrong – Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 3/11/2011

While researching my article a couple of weeks ago, I noted that the USGA administers the rules and assists with xhampionships in Mexico.  Allison Jarrett is the Director of Regional Affairs for the South Region of the USGA, which includes Mexico.  I interviewed her this past Monday to find out how extensively the USGA is involved in Mexico. 

First of all, let’s establish the USGA’s place worldwide.  The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the national governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico.  The R&A does the same for the rest of the world, including Canada.  The USGA does this by:

● Conducting 13 national championships each year

● Writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf

● Regulating and testing all golf equipment for conformance to the Rules of Golf

● Maintaining the USGA handicap and course rating system

● Providing research-based turf management expertise

● Celebrating the history of the game

In Mexico, the USGA is assisted by and cooperates with two major golf organizations.  La Federación Mexicana de Golf (FMG) and La Asociación Mexicana Femenil de Golf (AMFG) have seven regions similar to the USGA.  Their local organization are similar in operation and scale to our local USGA region – Sun Country Amateur Golf Association (SCAGA) is a region.  According to Ms. Jarrett, the USGA sends representatives to Mexico for three or four events per year.  Recently, the USGA, FMG and AMFG jointly announced that beginning this year the winners of the Mexican men’s and women’s amateur championships will get an automatic exemption for USGA sponsored championships as they may be otherwise eligible, through the local qualifying rounds. 

The two organizations also announced that the Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf are now available in Spanish.  They can be downloaded from the USGA website (www.usga.org) in pdf format by selecting the rules tab and then choosing either document.  As precise as the rules are, you can imagine the difficulty and magnitude of such an undertaking.  The USGA has been very complimentary of the FMG and the President of the FMG in turn very proud of his organizations effort:

“This is wonderful news for us,” said Fernando Ysita, president of the Federación Mexicana de Golf. “I feel very enthusiastic about the work that has been done by our Comité Nacional de Reglas in partnership with the USGA.”

The FMG has implemented the USGA handicapping system for Mexico golfers.  The USGA has licensed the FMG to operate the handicapping system including performing course ratings.  

The USGA also distributes several types of grants for programs and projects that benefit their mission.  The FMG and AMFG have received grants through the USGA’s P.J. Boatwright Internship program. 

Former LPGA star, Mexican Lorena Ochoa became the 57th recipient of the USGA’s coveted Bob Jones award this year.  The award is given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.  The first award was given to Francis Ouimet in 1955 and the 2010 award to retired LPGA Hall of Famer Mickey Wright. 

From our perspective here in the Southwestern U.S., it’s hard to get past the drug violence in the border towns which now seems to be spreading to Mexico’s interior.  Despite these distractions, when it comes to golf, the FMG and AMFG are helping the USGA to promote the game.

In other USGA news:

  • The “Miracle at Merion” has won the 2010 USGA Herbert Warren Wind Book Award.  The book, by David Barrett, features the inspiring story of Ben Hogan’s amazing comeback and victory in the 1950 U.S. Open. 
  • Mike Davis, 46, has been chosen to succeed David B. Fay as Executive Director of the USGA.  Fay retired last year after 32 years with the USGA.  Davis, from Clinton, N.J., has been doing course setup (among other duties) for the USGA major championships since taking over for Tom Meeks in 2006.  He will continue doing course setup for the U.S. Open, but delegate the remaining tournaments.  Davis was born and raised in Pennsylvania and played college golf at Georgia Southern.

At NMSU Golf Course:

Karl Olson, Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS), was recently hired to fill the post of retired long-time NMSU super Bruce Erhard, CGCS.  Olson has a stellar resume’, having served as superintendent at the National Golf Links of America on Long Island, Tucson Country Club, and most recently at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, AZ.  He is a graduate of NMSU’s Department of Agriculture and he played on the NMSU Golf Team during his education.  Karl is originally from Roswell.  I want to take this opportunity to wish Karl favorable weather and an ample budget!

MyBad!

I erroneously reported Erica Blasberg’s death as being on Saturday May 9th, 2009.  The correct day and date was Sunday, May 9th, 2010. 

A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010.  She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects.  You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: https://roadholeshorts17.wordpress.com/

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