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The Structure of England Golf

We are the national governing body for amateur golf in England. We have a strong relationship with golf clubs and county bodies throughout the country.

Each of the men’s county golf unions, the women’s county golf associations, and the merged county bodies make up the voting members of England Golf. The County bodies vote on how England Golf acts in governing the game of golf in the same way that company shareholders vote on the way that their business conducts itself.

Golf clubs then affiliate to their local men’s county union and women’s county association, or unified county body. Golf clubs affiliate to England Golf through their affiliation to their county bodies.

This means that when a player becomes a member of an affiliated golf club, they also become a member of both their relevant county body and England Golf. A small part of a golfer’s club membership fee will be passed on to both England Golf and the County Body.

You can read more about your England Golf affiliation fee.

Men’s County Unions and Women’s County Associations

In 2012 England Golf, then known as the English Golf Union, merged with the English Women’s Golf Association. Most county bodies were formed prior to this merger, and most counties had both a men’s union which affiliated to the English Golf Union and a women’s association which affiliated to the English Women’s Golf Association.

Some county bodies have chosen to merge their men’s union and women’s association to become a unified county body.

Professional Golf

England Golf is a national governing body for amateur golf. In golf, there is a greater distinction between the amateur game and the professional game than in many other sports. The R&A, one of golf’s international governing bodies, maintains the Rules on Amateur Status, which set out the requirements of being an amateur golfer.

Professional golfers can be members of England Golf, but professional golfers are not able to maintain a handicap.

International Governing Bodies

The European Golf Association (“EGA”) is the European federation for golf governing bodies in Europe. England Golf is a member federation of the EGA.

The International Golf Federation (“IGF”) is the international governing body for golf across the world. England Golf is a national member of the IGF.

The R&A, based at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, Scotland, is an international governing body for golf. The R&A is responsible for maintaining the rules of golf, the rules of amateur status, and the development of the World Handicap System.

The Council of National Golf Unions (“CONGU”) is an organisation made up of the national governing bodies for golf in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. CONGU is responsible chiefly for implementing the World Handicap System in the United Kingdom and Ireland.