VSWGA Office - PO Box 4224, Burlington, VT 05406-4224 - info@vswga.org

Posted:  4/18/17

Letter from Chris Johnson, VSWGA President

Hello members of the Vermont State Women’s Golf Association! The golf season is here, and it’s time to report on what’s happening with our organization.

Things will be somewhat different for us in 2017, and into the future.  

The biggest changes come as a result of new mandates from the United States Golf Association. To provide better services to golfers and golf facilities, the USGA is instituting more streamlined methods for GHIN handicapping and course rating procedures. It’s contracting with newly created Affiliated Golf Associations (AGAs) to achieve this goal. The contracts go into effect January 1, 2018.

State and regional associations were asked to provide the USGA with data on their organizational structure, services, golf events, and finances. The USGA used this data to determine which groups would make the best AGAs.

Most state women’s associations chose to merge all their operations with their respective men’s associations to create an AGA. We did not. Instead, we signed an agreement with the Vermont Golf Association under which our two groups will collaborate in several areas to fulfill our requirements to the USGA.

The VGA was named the official AGA for Vermont. The VSWGA remains a mostly independent entity with the same name, logo, Board of Directors and website, and with the same responsibility for running its own tournaments.

The VGA is now collecting fees from all Vermont women golfers who maintain a GHIN handicap and is compensating us accordingly. It’s coordinating with us on course ratings. And it’s providing technical support to clubs using the USGA’s new tournament software that will replace TPP. We’ll likely start using it in 2018.

The VGA is now handling all handicap questions and issues, and has already begun sending out a combined VGA-VSWGA e-revision on the 1
st and 15th of each month. I hope you’ve noticed. Look on the right side for VSWGA news and information.

An unfortunate downside to the collaboration is that the VSWGA will no longer have a Handicap Chair. So I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize Harriet Parot for the 15+ years she served in this capacity. Harriet was always ready to answer our questions and fix our mistakes asap. So a
huge Thank You to Harriet!

Another change on the horizon is the need for a new Web Administrator. Cindy Paquet has decided to “retire” at the end of this year. She, too, has served for many years -- creating and maintaining a site that keeps us up-to-date while preserving our history in photographs and text. It’s amazing. So another
huge Thank You to Cindy for a job well done! (and if you’re interested in the job, please let me know.)   

Other changes involve our State Day procedures. You’ll find this information in the Member Handbook, but here’s a re-cap.

-- To support the USGA’s efforts to increase golf opportunities for all players, we have opened State Days to women who maintain a handicap through the Lakeside Golf Club, which is administered through the VGA. This means you no longer have to join a real estate club to play. You still have to be a dues-paying member of the VSWGA and start the season with an index no higher than 36.0 unless you have been granted a handicap waiver.

-- There’s a small increase in the State Day fee this year. It’s now $8. You’ll pay this at registration, plus $2 for the Closest to the Pin contest if you choose to participate.

-- You’ll pay the course fee ($20 for 18-hole courses; $15 for 9-hole courses), and any cart fee, directly to the club in the Pro Shop.

-- You can register online for State Day tee times until noon on the Thursday before the event. Pairings will be made just once, and will be emailed on Thursdays at 5:00pm. Any changes after that must be made directly through the Pro Shop or other contact number in our handbook. Do not call or email the VSWGA office.

-- We’re hoping to schedule some “Bring a Friend to State Day” events so prospective VSWGA members can experience the fun. Stay tuned.

In other matters, we’re NOT scheduling any club rep meetings this Spring. It’s always fun to get together, but low participation doesn’t justify the expense.

We’re working on bringing our Facebook page back to life so our community of golfers can share their thoughts and photographs. And we’ve got a new volunteer committee to look into the future of women’s golf in the Green Mountain State.

The Board has been working hard on ways to put our association on a more profitable and sustainable financial footing. We’ve had losses in recent years, and that can’t continue or we’ll be out of business. And we can’t expect anyone else to subsidize our losses.

One suggestion was to ask for donations, and many of you have stepped up to the tee, so to speak. The Board is extremely grateful for this extra support. Thank you!

While a lot of things are changing, the VSWGA’s mission has not. We will continue to promote interest in golf and provide golf opportunities for as many women as possible here in Vermont – all the things we’ve been doing so well since 1930.

Here’s to another great season!

Chris Johnson