|The Ladies National Golf Association (LNGA) has a rich and illustrious 90-year history as evidenced by the many recognizable names throughout our historical records. Patty Berg, Babe Zaharias, Betsy Rawls, Judy Bell, Barbara Barrow, Nancy Lopez, Carol Semple Thompson, Ellen Port, Grace Park, Brittany Lang, Paige McKenzie, Lorena Ochoa, and Bethany Wu depict the LNGA Amateur Champions who have gone on to professional careers, Curtis Cup players/captains, golf stage newscasters, and World Golf Hall of Fame.
The original Tri-State Women’s Golf Association (Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas) grew rapidly and formed the Missouri Valley Women’s Golf Association to admit Iowa and Nebraska on June 9, 1916. Later, expansion was again needed for championship golf tournaments, and the group became known as The Women’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association when officially organized on February 17, 1927. The twenty states included provided an opportunity for many excellent golfers to compete who had been previously excluded. The organization now included states bordering the east bank of the Mississippi to the eastern divide of the Rocky Mountains. Then again, in 1973, the Trans-Mississippi was renamed Women’s Trans National Golf Association as the association attracted national and world-wide attention.
2019 brings excitement for the association as the Ladies National Golf Association honors tradition with a logo that depicts a modern golfer exemplifying moving into the future at the center of the traditional shield and purple colors. A 24-member board of directors is comprised of volunteers from across the United States who conduct highly competitive championships with elite players from around the globe.
The first Amateur Championship was a match play format and conducted in 1927 at Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, MO with Mrs. M. Burns Horn of Kansas City, MO as Champion. Many prestigious venues across the United States have hosted this WAGR listed championship while crowning elite golfers as Champions. Locations such as Mid Pines, Stonewall, Pinehurst and San Diego CC are among the list of notable hosts.
The Board of Directors voted to change the Amateur format from Match Play to a 72-Hole Stroke Play Championship in 2012. The final Match Play Championship was contested at The Members Club at Woodcreek in Elgin, SC. The inaugural Stroke Play Championship was held at Schaffers Mill Golf and Lake Club in Truckee, CA. Miss Breanna Elliott from Melbourne, Australia was the 2012 Amateur Champion.
Amateur Championship history was made when both a mother and daughter became Champions. Jane Bastanchury Booth was the LNGA Champion in 1967, 1969 and 1971, and her daughter Kellee Booth took the Championship honor in 1999. Team Winners have been awarded since 1927 with Sr Medalists honored since 1950 and Junior Medalists since 1953.
SENIOR FOUR BALL
The LNGA Senior Four Ball Championship, added in 1992, was played at Tides Inn, Irvington, VA. The duo of Marguerite Willoughby and Betty Wren, both from Williamsburg, VA, captured the title. This popular format has captured the hearts of players as evidenced by participation and their forging of friendships and great camaraderie. Locations in California, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia have provided great venues for this event.
The Ladies National Golf Association continues its dedication to providing players with exemplary golf championships while providing opportunities for great fellowship and encouraging good sportsmanship – all while maintaining the best interests of the game of golf.
The history of the LNGA has been a long and illustrious one. The original Tri-State Women’s Golf Association (Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas) formed the Missouri Valley Women’s Golf Association to admit Iowa and Nebraska. On June 9,1926, at the Annual Meeting while playing at the Omaha Country Club, the members decided unanimously to again expand. The Women’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association was officially organized February 17, 1927, at a meeting held in the Muelebach Hotel, Kansas City, MO. Those in attendance were Mrs. Robert Greenhouse, Kansas City, MO; Mrs. Blaine Young, Omaha, NE; Mrs. Claude Woodruff, Springfield, MO; Mrs. Charles Herndon, Kansas, City, MO; and Mrs. John Caldwell, Omaha, NE. Mr. James Nugent of Kansas City, an officer in the Men’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association, attended the meeting and assisted the ladies in the formation of the Association. This permitted many fine golfers to compete who were previously excluded as twenty states were now included, states bordering the east bank of the Mississippi to the eastern divide of the Rocky Mountains.
The first WTMGA Championship was played at Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City, MO, June 13-18, 1927. Soon clubs from more states requested membership and in 1953, under the leadership of Trans President Mrs. Dorothy Pease, Scottsdale, AZ, the Trans went “National” and included all states. With Mrs. Betsy McSpaden, Kansas City, KS, at the helm, the name was changed to Women’s Trans National Golf Association as the Championship became international in scope. It is now one of the Big Three national amateur tournaments for women played in the United States.
LNGA sites are obtained by clubs submitting invitations to the Ladies National Association. The LNGA then works with these clubs in arranging suitable dates. The host club provides the setting and facilities for the LNGA Annual Championship and is host to any social activities. The LNGA purchases all prizes and pays all Association expenses, including the mailing of invitations to all eligible golfers. The tournament proper is run by LNGA Directors in accordance with USGA procedure. The LNGA provides a souvenir Golf Annual.
The LNGA rotates its tournament sites, thus acquainting golfers in all parts of the U. S. with the LNGA Championship. This also gives local golfers the opportunity to see the top women amateur golfers in action. Fresh enthusiasm and interest in golf and its organizations are invariably instilled in golfers in the host club area. Much of the success of any LNGA Championship is due to the full cooperation of its host club people. Players remember LNGA tourneys and host cities because of their friendliness and hospitality.
The Ladies National Golf Association is a tax-exempt non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors that consists of no more than twenty-four women. There are seven Associate Directors who perform special services for the Board. Each state is represented in the Association by one or more women who are representatives of golf to their respective states. These women work diligently throughout the year endeavoring to improve each year’s championship and to help promote amateur golf for women. They pay for their own expenses to LNGA Championships. Executive board members may not compete in the Amateur Championship.
The LNGA awards its Amateur Champion with a permanent prize plus custody for one year of the lovely George III Bowl Traveling Trophy. Traveling trophies and prizes are awarded to Tournament Medalist, Junior and Senior Medalists, and Howell Team winners. Information and pictures of these trophies may be seen in the Trophies section of our web site.
The LNGA 50th Amateur Championship was played at the Country Club of Lincoln (Nebraska) with 144 players with handicaps of four and under, and included players from Ireland and the Dominican Republic. A record number of low handicap players as well as six foreign champions, representing Australia, Scotland, Colombia, Venezuela and Canada, played in the LNGA 51st Championship hosted by The Ranch Country Club, Denver, CO. A highlight in news coverage occurred at the 1978 Championship at Wolfert’s Roost Country Club, Albany, NY, with two hours of “live” TV coverage of the quarterfinal matches transmitted over five states. The LNGA conducted USGA Sectional Qualifying in conjunction with its own qualifying round in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
Robin Weiss, Palm Beach, FL, and Karen Noble, Brookside, NJ, scored 69 at Tiger Point Golf and Country Club, Gulf Breeze, FL, in 1990 to tie the LNGA Medalist record held by Blue Kinander, Medinah, IL (Columbia C. C., South Carolina, 1989); Mary Budke, Dayton, OH (Mt. Snow C. C., Vermont, 1973); Jill Briles, Peoria, IL (Fairway Oaks C. C., Abilene, TX); and Penny Hammel, Decatur, IL (Mid Pines Resort, Southern Pines, NC, 1983). Eight LNGA Champions have won the Women’s National Amateur: Miriam Burns Horn, Betty Jameson, Patty Berg, Babe Zaharias, Jo Ann Gunderson Carner, Martha Wilkinson Kirouac, Mary Budke and Pearl Sinn. Six women have won both the LNGA and the British Amateur: Carol Semple Thompson, Wiffie Smith, Babe Zaharias, Carol Sorenson, Michelle Walker and Nancy Roth Syms. Claire Waite won both the LNGA and the British Stroke Play Championship in 1984. Two women from the United Kingdom have won the LNGA titles: Michelle Walker, Chatham, Kent, England in 1972 and Claire Waite, Willshire, England, 1984. LNGA Champions Patrice Rizzo, 1988 U. S. World Team member and Carol Thompson, 1988 U. S. World Team member, won low scoring individual honors at World Team Matches. Claire Waite, 1984 Champion, was a member of the 1984 Great Britain and Ireland World Team.
Jane Bastanchury Booth, West Palm Beach, FL and Polly Riley, Forth Worth, TX, have each won the title three times. Opal B. Hill, Kansas City, MO, has been the most frequent champion, winning four times in the early years of the Association, 1928, 1929, 1931 and 1934. The two youngest to hold the title are 1975 Champion Beverley Davis, 17 years, 10 months, and 1960 Champion Sandra Haynie at 17 years, 3 months. Seven LNGA Champions have also won the Women’s Western Championship the same year: Opal Hill (1929, 1931), Patty Berg (1938), Betty Jameson (1940), Lucile Robinson Mann (1941), Jane Bastanchury Booth (1969), Nancy Lopez (1976) and Amy Benz (1981). Jane Bastanchury Booth and her daughter Kellee Booth (1999) are LNGA Champions.
Several former LNGA champions are now pros. Others are well-known amateurs who have won many fine tournaments. You are invited to review the list of Past Champions by clicking on the Amateur Hall of Fame link on the right side of this page.
Our LNGA trophies have a history also. You are invited to review the list of Trophies. Click on the link HERE.