Montana State Golf Associations Merge

Helena, Mont. (Aug. 18, 2017) – A merger of the Montana State Golf Association and the Montana State Women’s Golf Association was approved by the MSGA Board of Directors by a unanimous vote during the 100th Annual Meeting of the MSGA, August 16, 2017, at Green Meadow Country Club in Helena.

After various discussions during recent years, the MSGA and MSWGA decided to form an exploratory committee regarding a merger of associations. Over the past year, the MSGA/MSWGA Merger Committee has met nine times.

The committee’s focus was to discuss the advantages/disadvantages of merging the two organizations and to determine what a merged organization might look like. The committee, which was made up of board of directors from each organization, determined that the positives outweighed the negatives and that a merger would be in the best interest of golfers across Montana.

The committee focused on four areas of a merged organization: governance, committee structure, finances, and tournament administration.

“From 1917-1951 the two associations were together, then they split into two. In 2017, that doesn’t make sense. Combined we can do more together to further golf in Montana,” MSGA Executive Director Jim Opitz said.

Committee discussion yielded a consensus that one merged organization will have the opportunity to focus on growing golf among women and juniors, which will strengthen the success of golf courses and golf programs throughout the state.

Women will have the opportunity to develop and implement women’s programs, instead of concentrating on the women’s championship. Additionally, the women’s association will have additional leadership opportunities. Carla Berg of Sidney and Mary Bryson of Helena were the first two female board members of the MSGA. Other female members will join them as committee and board structures are revised and determined.

“The goals of both organizations are to enrich all aspects of golf in the state of Montana. Since our purposes are the same, it’s a benefit for Montana for us to be joined as one association — we can be more effective and efficient and provide better service as we grow the game for all golfers in Montana,” MSGA board member Mary Bryson said.

Benefits/Advantages of a Merger

The Committee recommends the MSGA and MSWGA merge into one organization primarily because a merged organization allows for more efficient use of existing resources to encourage the growth of golf in Montana. There are several benefits identified by the Committee. These include:
– One membership fee for clubs;
– One handicap fee for individuals which represents their membership fee in the organization;
– Centralize tournament administration, including consistent and professional championship and event administration;
– Coordinated site selection, extending further into the future;
– Growth of competitive and recreational golf opportunities for all, encouraging greater participation in MSGA/MSWGA sponsored events;
– An expanded source of volunteers with the opportunity to more efficiently use volunteers;
– Greater financial stability of the organization with the opportunity to obtain corporate sponsorship and build the endowment program; and
– The power and resources to grow and impact golf in Montana with the combined effort and energy of the two organizations.

Prior to the merger, there were three amateur championships in Montana conducted by the MSGA and two championships conducted by the MSWGA.

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Montana State Amateur and Montana Women’s State Amateur. Each organization recognized their centennial achievement with a celebration in Missoula and Laurel respectively.