NJSGA Womens Committee History
Times have changed… and the history of the New Jersey Women’s Amateur Championship traces a circuitous route reflecting the evolution of women’s golf. Under the aegis of the Women’s New Jersey Golf Association from 1923 to 1953, the championship reflected the genteel, privileged, private club aura surrounding women’s golf; a time in which golf occupied a large portion of sports coverage in the Star-Ledger and New York Times. The champions’ on-course exploits on the sports pages were mirrored by their social endeavors on the society pages. A list of champions from that era reads like the social register: Mrs. Thomas Hucknall, Maureen Orcutt, Charlotte Glutting, Helen Hockenjos, Sophie Untermeyer, Marge Mason and Carolyn Cassidy Cudone.
In 1953 the Garden State Women’s Golf Association was established and worked with the WNJGA to administer the championship. That partnership endured until 1966 when the New Jersey State Golf Association assumed administrative control of the event. For whatever reasons, that arrangement was terminated three years later and gave birth to the New Jersey State Women’s Golf Committee.
In 1969, funded by the WNJGA and the GSWGA, and operating independently from the NJSGA, the NJSWGC conducted the first truly “open” Women’s Amateur Championship, welcoming players regardless of club affiliation. Since then, all women’s and junior events have been open, with an ever-increasing number of public course players participating.
An 18-hole, stroke play Junior Girls’ Championship was added in 1969 as well, a move that has proved especially prescient. Three of the early Junior champions—Cindy Ferro, Laura D’Alessandro, and Diana D’Alessio—subsequently went on to win the Amateur title. Since 2005, the Junior Girls’ has been a two-day 36-hole contest. A 9-hole category for novice players was reintroduced in 2010 in a nod to the growing popularity of girls’ golf.
A two-day, 36-hole stroke play Senior Women’s Amateur was added in 1970 to accommodate players 50 years of age and older. It has proved to be one of the more successful events, consistently drawing large fields from throughout the state.
In an acknowledgement of the growth of the public golf population and the lack of competitive opportunities, the New Jersey State Golf Association established a Women’s Public Links Championship in 2004.
As times have changed, so has the administration of the championships. In 2008, the NJSWGC merged with the New Jersey State Golf Association and became the NJSGA Women’s Committee. This union helped the Committee in gaining access to the myriad of tools and capabilities from computer programs to Rules officials. Currently, the chair of the Women’s Committee sits on the Board of the NJSGA and several Committee members are on the Advisory Board to form a symbiotic relationship that will enhance both men’s and women’s competitive experiences. It is proving to be a win-win situation for both.
In 2013, the NJSGA added the Women's Four-Ball Championship to the annual championship schedule, and in 2014 the Women's Mid-Amateur Championship was created. We continue to create more opportunities for players to compete in our championships throughout the state.