1. WELCOME: As a new member to the Senior Golfers Association of Atlanta, you are given this booklet in the hope that it will answer many of the questions that you may have concerning the SGAA. We hope that you will have a long and pleasant membership finding new friends and many rounds of enjoyable golf. Although you are 55 or older it is not unusual for us to have members who have enjoyed more than 35 years of playing golf as members of SGAA. Hopefully you will break the record.
2. ANNUAL DUES & MEMBERSHIP: Your membership fee is $25.00 per year and must be paid prior to December 1st every year. Failure to pay your dues by December 1st will result in your being dropped from membership. When you sponsor a member he must be 55 years or older by January 1st of the year his application is submitted. New Member Applications are available from the Table crews. SGAA historically has a backlog of applications and frequently a new member application will not be accepted until the second year after being submitted. Currently, membership is immediate membership. A new member membership will be effective the month following the acceptence of his application. There are two categories of membership in SGAA. Currently we have 304 regular members, of which 134 are Emeritus members. Emeritus members do not have to meet the minimum fifteen round requirement to maintain membership. In order to be Emeritus, a member is required to be a member for five years and be 75 years old. The most important things you need to be familiar with when the season starts are your membership index number, and your assigned handicap/dogfight points. These are on the handicap sheet that is provided by the table at every tournament. Your $3 entry fee should be accompanied by a scorecard bearing the date, your full name, your index number and your required dogfight points, when signing up for a round of golf. All members of your group should be submitted together, unless you are being added to a threesome. Your handicap/dogfight points will be frozen until the first of the month following your initial three rounds. During this period you will only get credit for plus or minus 3 points. (Complete three round in January, handicap/dogfight points will be unfrozen in February) You must report to the table at least 30 minutes before tee time to be accepted to play. It is expected that your first two or three rounds will be played with your sponsor; but if your sponsors are not available don’t worry, just let it be known that you are a single. There is always someone looking for one or two partners to make up a foursome. Next, you must play a minimum of 15 rounds by the end of the season in order to maintain your membership. The 15 round requirement has been waived since 2018. You will have ample opportunity since there will be approximately 90 local play dates plus 12 out of town play dates. If this booklet does not answer your questions please ask your sponsor or an SGAA Officer or Member of the Board of Directors or refer to the Bylaws that are available to you on the SGAA website.
3. HANDICAPS & POINTS: Until the month following your first three rounds of play your handicap is frozen to the number that you reported on your membership application minus 3 strokes. Each round that you play goes into our computer and builds your real SGAA handicap. At the end of each month of play all handicaps are updated for everyone that played and that will be your handicap the following month. You will notice that there are two numbers that will be updated on the handicap sheet. The first is your handicap for stroke play and the second is the number of dogfight points that you must make to play to handicap. The sum of these two numbers is always 36. Since all of our tournaments, except the annual tournament, are dogfights you will post your required dogfight points on your scorecard. A useful item to remember when totaling and checking your scorecard is that the total of score and points for each nine holes on a par 36 nine is always 54. On a par 35 it is 53. There are no exceptions. The term “POINTS” as established by our founders some 50 years ago has two different definitions and frequently causes confusion for new members. The two types of points may be further defined as “scoring points” and “award points.” In the typical dogfight tournament you will use “scoring points” to determine your result for the day. For this purpose, a bogie is worth one point, par 2 points, and a birdie 3 points, etc. With an established handicap of 16 you will be required to make 20 dogfight points. If you make 18 then you are minus 2. If you make 24 you will be plus 4. No awards are given to match these points. However, they ARE used to determine how many “award points” you win in competition with others in your handicap group (flight) from the amount contained in that day’s pool. Those “award points”, each worth $1.00, are distributed in the following manner: one for each birdie, 8 for an eagle and 12 for a double-eagle or hole-in-one. Four award points are given for being closest to the pin on the designated hole and one award point for being closest to the hole for each of the four handicap groups (flight) on the other par 3s. The remainder of the available pool is distributed on the basis of the plus-or-minus standings of all players within the handicap groups—i.e. A, B, C, and D flights. All of these “award points” accumulated by members are paid by check at the end of the year at the rate of $1.00 per point.
4. RULES: The rules of play for the SGAA are the rules of the U.S. Golfing Association with certain exceptions as provided to you in the first newsletter and also in the Bylaws that have been provided to you. Please, please familiarize yourself with these rules and do your best to comply with them. We have frequently heard “I am just playing to have fun – to heck with the rules.” There is no contradiction to having fun and playing by the rules. Furthermore, not playing by the rules is called “cheating”.
5. OFFICERS, DIRECTORS & COMMITTEES: Overall management of SGAA is the responsibility of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and nine members of the Board of Directors plus the immediate Past President. The President, with the concurrence of the Board, appoints committee chairmen such as in- town Tournament Chairman, out-of-town Tournament Chairman, Handicap Chairman, Awards Chairman and some 14 other committee positions. Both the weekly local tournaments and the out of town tournaments require a lot of work that is essential to every play date that we have scheduled. The table crew arrives 1-½ hours before tee time and usually cannot leave for an hour or more after most of us have gone home. You help the table when you get there early, maintain a pace of play to keep up with the foursome ahead of you, and turn your cards in promptly. Hopefully, that as you become more familiar with the SGAA operations you will make yourself available for one or more tasks in the coming years.
6. TYPE OF PLAY: The SGAA schedule starts in mid January with play scheduled every week until the season ends in mid December. During this period there will be some 100 or more dogfight tournaments scheduled. (It will vary slightly from year to year) In addition there will be 21 special play dates consisting of four out-of-town tournaments including the Presidents Member Guest Tournament and the Annual Tournament. The out-of-town tournaments are all three-day events. The Annual Tournament is 9 rounds of play over a three-week period. The format of out-of-own Tournaments will vary and is determined by the out-of-town Tournament Chairman or by the President for the Member Guest. All tournaments are in the dogfight format.
7. SPECIAL TOURNAMENTS: The Annual Tournament is a dogfight event and has 9 dates scheduled in September or October. Your strokes are limited to double bogie. You must have an SGAA established handicap to be eligible to play in this event and you must play a minimum of 4 rounds. You may play all 9 rounds; but the best 4 of your rounds played will determine your tournament score. Unlike other tournaments you pay a onetime $10.00 table fee on your first day of play and only pay green fees thereafter.
8. OTHER EVENTS: At present there are two banquets a year for members only--the Tee Off Banquet prior to the beginning of the season and the Annual meeting at the end of the season. The President has the option of having two more Banquets per year that may include wives if he so chooses. In addition there is a minimum of four Board of Director meetings a year. As a new member you have the prerogative of calling an officer or board member and requesting a business item or change be considered. You also have the option of running for office by contacting the Chairman of the Nominating Committee who is the immediate past President and ask that you be considered. Historically, the committee has favored those who have worked as table members or in other capacities to aid the membership.
9. SGAA HISTORY: Eight members organized the Senior Golfers Association of Atlanta in the winter of 1956. This means that 2020 will be our 64th year. Growth was slow with membership only increasing to 86 in the first 10 years. After the first 10 years there was a Board request every couple of years to increase the membership as specified by the Bylaws. The membership limits have slowly increased to 120, 160, 190, 225, and is limited to between 325 and 350. The original eight began their play at the Bobby Jones Golf Course and subsequently played other courses such as Berkeley Hills C.C. in Norcross, Green Valley in McDonough, West Pines in Douglasville and Monroe C.C. in Monroe. As membership grew the number of rounds played and the number of different courses visited also increased. The early prizes were golf balls that were awarded to the winners. This soon got out of hand as it is not unusual to have 250 points won on a given day. Just think of the chore that the awards chairman would have giving 250 golf balls to some 50 golfers. Another feature of the early days was the serving of beverages at several locations on the course during play. There was considerable cost associated with this treat and it was reported there were a couple of incidents that were negative to our sterling reputation and as a result the good time treats were discontinued. Criticisms of the SGAA have been few and far between over the years. 99% or more of our members exemplify good sportsmanship and gentlemanly behavior, which is a must in golf and necessary to maintain membership. Over the years we have received many compliments from golf courses on our efficient golf management, our respect for other golfers, and our course etiquette whereby we try to leave the course equal to or better than the way we found it.