Including the Colorado Women’s Golf Association
The CGA’s mission is to represent, promote, and serve the best interests of golf in the state of Colorado, and has been throughout its history.
The Colorado Golf Association was re-established on January 1, 2018 when the CGA and the Colorado Women’s Golf Association, each with more than 100 years in business, came together to jointly serve the more than 60,000 Colorado golfers belonging to over 600 different clubs. Both associations have a long and proud history dating back to 2015.
The Colorado Golf Association was established in August 1915. It’s first official function was to take over the administration of the state’s amateur match play championship, which was begun 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 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 CGA merged with the Denver District Golf Association to create one 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. Also in 1962, the CGA assumed a leadership role for a statewide handicap system as it began measuring and rating all of the state’s golf courses in accordance with United States Golf Association (USGA) procedures. In the late 1960s the CGA assumed responsibility for the statewide handicap system.
In 1961, the CGA established the Eisenhower Scholarship to provide financial aid to 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 established the Eisenhower Chapter House on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder, that continues today 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” from course to course. 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 CGA programs. As an outcome of this, in 1995 the CGA was selected 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 selected Tom Doak to redesign it and add a nine-hole short course for junior golf and player development. 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 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 established through 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.” Today, the CGA manages this “gift to golf” for generations to come.
In 2015 the Colorado Golf Association celebrated 100 years of serving golf in Colorado along with all the allied golf associations of Colorado, including the CWGA, with a Century of Golf Gala.
On March 14, 1916, a group of eight women representing five clubs came together to form the Colorado Women’s Golf Association: Colorado Springs Golf Club, Lakewood Country Club, Denver Country Club, Interlochen Golf Club and City Park Golf Course. The first order of business, as with the CGA, was to establish the CWGA match play championship with the inaugural event to be held at Colorado Springs Golf Club.
Women’s par was established in April 1916 based on recommendations from the Women’s Western Golf Association: any hole under 150 yards, par 3; 150 to 285 yards, par 4; 285 to 420 yards, par 5; 420 to 550 yards, par 6; over 550 yards, par 7.
World War I proved to be a worthy cause for association revenues during these early years. The tournament entry fee for the second CWGA championship was $2 per player. The total revenue from was $84 and the entire sum was given to the Mountain Division of the National Red Cross. During World War II, the CWGA gave defense bonds and stamps as trophies in the state championship. A transportation committee was formed at each club for its members participating in the tournament in order to conserve tires and gasoline.
From the beginning, tournament planning and administration encompassed many hours of hard work by countless volunteers and board members. In 1959, the first state match play championship was conducted. The first state best ball championship was held in 1967 and was so popular that another was added to the tournament schedule in 1975. In 1980, the CWGA adopted the Denver Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament and renamed it the CWGA Stroke Play Championship. In 1983, the first senior stroke play championship was contested.
The Course Rating and Handicap Committee was formed in 1956 and in 1980, the Rules Committee was established. The duties of this six-member committee included officiating at all CWGA tournaments and conducting rules seminars. To further assist with administering championships, the Tournament Committee was established in 1994. By 2018, more than 80 volunteers statewide serve as committee members.
Through the years the association has evolved into a full-service golf association. In the late 1980’s, the association had grown enough to require full-time employees to facilitate the volume of business in the office. At this time the CGA and the CWGA “moved in together” in offices in Cherry Creek, while still operating independently. In addition to the five founding clubs, on record as early joiners to the CWGA were The Broadmoor GC, Ft. Collins CC, Cherry Hills CC, Boulder CC, Wellshire GC, and Patty Jewett GC. By 2018, more than 17,000 women representing over 200 clubs, were members of the CWGA.
In 2016, the CWGA celebrated its centennial at the Annual Meeting, honoring past presidents, volunteers and tournament players. The video below illustrates the 100 years of history.