Difference Between USGA and PGA [Why Have Both?]

Sometimes, the game of golf can be a little confusing. With so many different organisations and acronyms, it’s hard to keep up with what it all means.

Two of those organisations are the USGA and the PGA. They’re both very important to the game, but both are very different.

In this article, we’ll have a look at the difference between the two.

Difference Between PGA and USGA

What’s The Difference Between USGA and PGA?

The USGA and the PGA are two separate golfing bodies which oversee different areas in the game of golf.

The United States Golf Association, known as the USGA, is the chief governing body for all professional and amateur golf in the US and Mexico. It’s the national association of golf courses, golf clubs and facilities, and also sets the rules of golf alongside the R&A.

Whereas the PGA, also known as the Professional Golfers Association of America, is a separate organisation which represents the teaching and golf club professionals in the US. It consists of nearly 29,000 professional golfers.

Both the USGA and the PGA are totally separate from each other, both carrying out different work to help grow and improve golf.

Although the USGA and the PGA are not to be confused with the PGA Tour, a totally separate entity, they do host their own major tournaments which feature on the PGA Tour during the regular season.

The PGA hosts the PGA Championship, Seniors PGA Championship and Women’s PGA Championship each year for the top players in the game, as well as many other smaller tournaments for club professionals.

The USGA hosts the US Open, US Women’s Open and US Senior Open every year, plus many of the top US amateur events including the US Amateur Championship.

Why Is There a USGA and PGA?

Having both the USGA and PGA is an important aspect of golf because they work in totally different areas.

The USGA is important as a governing body, setting and updating the rules of the game. These rules allow for the game to be played fairly at both a professional and amateur level, and are the foundations of the game.

The USGA helps to create and maintain amazing golfing experiences across the US, whilst also managing handicaps for amateur players. Without this, the game wouldn’t be able to grow and continually progress.

The PGA is an important body as they oversee the professional side of the game. It sets the standard for professional golfers at a club and teaching level, but also showcases some of the best golfers in the world.

They establish a level of quality for golf coaches across the US, with the aim to create the best teaching professionals and ultimately help in increasing sports participation.

Just like when I go for a golf lesson, I know that I’m going to be coached by a professional that knows their stuff when it comes to a golf swing. From technique to mindset, they’ll be fully qualified and have a great knowledge of the game. And this has a lot to do with the work the PGA does.

Final Thoughts

The USGA and the PGA are both hugely important bodies in the sport of golf but are very much different to each other.

They run some of the biggest golf tournaments in the world but also do the important things that help keep the game of golf growing, from updating the rules to giving coaches the chance to teach new golfers.


What is the relationship between the PGA and USGA?

The PGA and the USGA are two totally different entities, with one in charge of overseeing the game of golf in US and Mexico, and the other, the organisation for golf professionals in America. Both work alongside each other to help progress the game.

Is the Masters a PGA or USGA event?

The Masters is neither a PGA nor USGA run event. Instead, it’s run by Augusta National Golf Club and is played as part of the PGA Tour and European Tour schedules.

Why did PGA Tour split from PGA of America?

Following the 1968 PGA Championship, many of the top tour players decided the start a separate organisation from the PGA because they weren’t happy with how the increased money was being distributed and how the events were being run. This new organisation would later become the PGA Tour which we see today.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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