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Big changes for Southern Cal handicapping systems
14 Nov 2008
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STUDIO CITY, CA, November 14, 2008 — Six Southern California golf associations, which collectively represent nearly one-quarter million golfers, will shift to receiving support for their handicapping operations to the United States Golf Association’s Golf Handicapping Information Network® (GHIN) beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

Together, the Desert Women’s Golf Association (DWGA), Public Links Golf Association of Southern California (PLGASC), San Diego County Women’s Golf Association (SDCWGA), Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), Women’s Public Links Golf Association of Southern California (WPLGASC) and Women’s Southern California Golf Association (WSCGA) represent approximately 230,000 golfers in more than 1,700 golf clubs.

Southern California will be the largest region of clubs and golfers in GHIN’s stable of 68 state and regional associations and two international associations, which currently constitute nearly two million golfers. Earlier this year, GHIN announced that the Virginia State Golf Association and the Federacion Dominicana de Golf will join the service beginning Jan. 1, 2009.

The Southern California associations’ contract with its current handicap provider, Integrated Data Company (IDC), expires at the end of 2009. During the past year, all six associations individually undertook thorough analyses of several handicap computation vendors for 2010 and beyond. Many discussions and presentations took place before they chose GHIN.

“Although we have had a long, positive relationship with our current vendor,” says Kevin Heaney, SCGA executive director. "In the end our board and staff felt unanimously that GHIN offers the best package of products and services as we move into 2010 and beyond.”

Founded in 1899, the SCGA has more than 170,000 members in more than 1,200 clubs in Southern California and Baja California.

“One of the determining factors in choosing GHIN is that a large number of our members belong to other associations, such as Northern California, that already use GHIN." said Heaney. "These members will now have just one membership number and their scores will be integrated seamlessly among the various associations.”

The PLGA currently serves 185 clubs and 20,000 golfers, the WSCGA has about 30,000 members in 198 clubs, the WPLGASC has 6,800 members in 131 clubs, SDCWGA has 2,100 members in 35 clubs and the DWGA has 700 members in five clubs.

“[We] are excited by the prospect of linking with the largest provider of USGA Handicapping Services in the nation,” said PLGASC Executive Director Craig Kessler. “And about the process of creating not only a seamless web among USGA-licensed golf associations here in Southern California, but a seamless connection to the vast majority of USGA-licensed golf associations throughout the United States.”

WSCGA Executive Director Pat Blalock concurred.

“The WSCGA is excited to move forward with this positive business decision.” Cheryl Wohlgemuth, executive director of the SDCWGA. “We felt that GHIN had more to offer our members and provides the services we are looking for. We are looking forward to our association with GHIN.”

In addition to touch-screen posting monitors at each club, the ability for clubs to authorize online posting and for members to use online handicap lookup, two important changes will be instituted under the new system. Beginning in 2010, there will be twice-monthly revisions instead of the current monthly revisions and GHIN’s tournament software program, TPP®, will be available to all association clubs.

“We are confident that the handicap technology and the peripheral services that GHIN provides will be extremely beneficial to the golfers who are members of WPLGASC,” said Clare G. Itner, WPLGASC executive director. “As part of a national network with an excellent resource and development reputation, our clubs will also have access to many new and exciting options that will continue to enhance their golfing experience.’

Sharon Fries, president of the DWGA, agreed: “The DWGA looks forward to being part of the largest handicapping network in the world.”

Steve Smyers, GHIN Committee USGA Chairman, said of the announcement: “We are very proud of the service we offer golf associations along with its diverse and technically forward composition of products. Plans are under way to make this significant transition go as smoothly as possible.”

--Courtesy SCGA

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