Golf has two rules governing bodies – The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal & Ancient (R&A) Golf Club. In my opinion, two associations (and not just one) are needed for the following three reasons:
Golf is a global game. The R&A can’t be everywhere. Neither can the USGA. It makes geographical sense for the USGA to govern golf in the United States and Mexico. The USGA is headquartered in Far Hills, New Jersey. It makes geographical sense for the R&A to be the ruling authority for golf throughout the rest of the world. The R&A currently works in collaboration with national amateur and professional golf organizations in more than 110 countries. The R&A is headquartered in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
The game of golf is played differently in different parts of the world. Golf really got started on the links courses of Scotland. Players were force to play the ball low, underneath the wind. The United States changed the game into a more aerial attack. Players are forced to get the ball up in the air and to carry different hazards or other landscapes course architects wants to come into play.
The Rules of Golf are too complex to be governed by one association as opposed to two. The Rules are complex enough as it is. Ideally, two associations should provide more clarity than just one. Since 1952, the two bodies have jointly issued the Rules. The Rules of Golf are revised on a four-year cycle, and with the revision that became effective on January 1, 2012, for the first time ever, a single common set of Rules applied throughout the world. The two bodies also collaborate on the rule interpretative work, Decisions on the Rules, which is currently reviewed on a two-year cycle.