The CGA's purpose is to represent, promote, and serve the best interests of golf in the state of Colorado, and has been throughout its history. The organization is the official representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) for the state of Colorado.
The Colorado Golf Association (CGA) was established in August of 1915. The CGA's first official function was to formally take over the administration of the state's amateur match play championship, which started in 1901. This tournament is still conducted by the Colorado Golf Association, making it the oldest golf tournament in the state of Colorado. In 1937 the Denver District Golf Association formed to conduct a medal (stroke) play championship. For the next 21 years the two organizations conducted their tournaments separately.
In 1961, under the leadership of Richard C. Campbell, the Colorado Golf Association merged with the Denver District Golf Association. The merger created a streamlined golf association dedicated to the management of golf statewide. In 1962, the Colorado Golf Association was officially incorporated and adopted the mission of representing, promoting and serving the best interests of golf in the state of Colorado. In the late 1960s the CGA assumed responsibility for the statewide handicap system. Prior to that, handicapping in the state was done on a club-by-club basis with great disparity from one club to the next. Beginning in 1962, the CGA began measuring and rating all of the state's golf courses in accordance with United States Golf Association (USGA) procedures, creating a uniform rating system which laid the foundation for the CGA to assume the leadership role in handicapping.
In 1961, the CGA established the Eisenhower Scholarship to provide financial aid to selected college-bound junior golfers. This program was merged with the Western Golf Association's (WGA) Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship program (a scholarship awarded to deserving caddies) in 1963, creating the Eisenhower-Evans Caddie Scholarship program. In 1968, the WGA purchased the Phi Gamma Delta house on the C.U. campus which continues to serve as the home for Colorado Evans Scholars. The CGA and WGA continue to work together to raise funds and promote the Evans Scholarship and the Eisenhower Chapter House in Boulder.
In 1956 the Colorado Section of the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was formed and was administered under the umbrella of the CGA and a single executive director. In 1978, the CGA and the Colorado PGA created separate governing bodies for amateur and professional golf in Colorado. In the 1980s, the CGA continued to expand its role through handicapping, annual publications for its membership, interpretation of the Rules of Golf including amateur status, local/national golf organization interface including the coordination of the statewide tournament schedule, golf statistics and informational support. In 1984 the CGA led the effort to create the Colorado Junior Golf Association - establishing a comprehensive program for junior golfers including tournaments, education on rules and etiquette, and introductory golf opportunities.
The early 1980s also brought significant advancement in the arena of handicap computation. In 1981 the USGA implemented the "Slope" rating system which created the ability for handicaps to "travel" by establishing a relative difficulty rating for courses and factoring obstacle difficulty as well as effective playing length into the handicap computation. In 1982 the CGA became the first golf association in the country to rate all of its golf courses in accordance to the USGA's new Slope system and in 1983 the CGA joined the USGA's Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN) to provide handicap services to all its member clubs.
In the early 1990s the CGA embarked on an exciting new chapter. A capital development fund was created for the purpose of developing an association-owned golf course that could serve as a laboratory for current and emerging CGA programs for the good of the game. With the closure of the Lowry Air Force Base in 1995, the CGA was selected by the Lowry Redevelopment Authority to take over operations of the former Lowry Air Force Base golf course. In 2005, in partnership with the Colorado Women's Golf Association, the CGA purchased the course and began planning a major renovation. The associations selected Tom Doak to redesign the course and add a nine-hole short course for junior golf and player development, and in 2009 "CommonGround Golf Course" was opened. Today, CommonGround Golf Course serves as a learning laboratory for such programs as the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy, the Hale Irwin Elite Player Program, the Colorado PGA Golf in Schools program and dozens of Community Outreach programs that partner with non-profit associations to bring golf to those who not otherwise have access to the game.
In 2012 the Colorado Golf Foundation was formed and seeded with a $2 million gift from George and Carol Solich. George, a former caddie and an Evans Scholar alumnus, wanted to make a gift to golf by creating a foundation that "provides funding for Colorado-based golf organizations and programs that use golf to build important life skills and character, with an emphasis on instilling hard work and self-reliance in young people." That same year the CGA entered into a management services agreement with the Colorado Golf Foundation that entrusts the CGA to manage this "gift to golf" for the generations to come.
In 2015 the Colorado Golf Association celebrates 100 years of serving golf in Colorado. The association has come a long way in the last 100 years and will celebrate these accomplishments along with all of the allied golf associations of Colorado on November 14, 2015 with a Century of Golf Gala.