USGA History: 1894 - 1910

1894
  • In September, William G. Lawrence wins a "national amateur championship" at Newport (R.I.) Golf Club. In October, Laurence B. Stoddard wins a "national amateur championship" at St. Andrew's Golf Club.
  • C.B. Macdonald, runner-up in both events, calls for the formation of a governing body to run a universally recognized national championship.
  • The Amateur Golf Association of the United States - soon to be called the United States Golf Association - is formed on Dec. 22. Charter members are Newport Golf Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, The Country Club (Brookline, Mass.), St. Andrew's Golf Club (Yonkers, N.Y.), and Chicago Golf Club.
  • America's first golf magazine, The Golfer , is published in New York, N.Y.



1895
  • Charles B. Macdonald wins the first official U.S. Amateur championship at Newport Golf Club. The first U.S. Open is held the next day at the same club, almost as an afterthought to the Amateur. Horace Rawlins wins the $150 first prize over a field of 11.
  • Mrs. Charles S. Brown (Lucy Barnes) wins the first U.S. Women's Amateur championship at the Meadow Brook Club in Hempstead, N.Y.
  • Golf in America: A Practical Manual , by James Lee, is the first golf book written in the U.S.



1896
  • James Foulis wins the second official U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
  • John Shippen, an African-American professional, and his friend Oscar Bonn, a Shinnecock Indian, compete in the U.S. Open despite a threatened boycott by the other contestants. Shippen finished fifth.



1897
  • Yale wins the first collegiate golf championship.
  • Joe Lloyd is victorious in the third U.S. Open, held at Chicago Golf Club.
  • H.J. Whigham wins his second U.S. Amateur



1898
  • Beatrix Hoyt wins her third straight U.S. Women's Amateur at Ardsley Club in New York. Two years later, she retires at the age of 20.
  • Coburn Haskell and Bertram Work design and patent a wound-rubber golf ball, which flies farther than the gutta-percha ball.
  • The United States Open expands to 72 holes from 36 and is held for the first time at a separate course from the Amateur.
  • The term "birdie" is coined at Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey when Ab Smith says a fellow member hit a "bird of a shot" and suggests a double payoff for scoring one under par on a hole.



1900
  • British star Harry Vardon shows Americans how to play the game. In the country for an exhibition tour, he wins the U.S. Open over fellow Englishman J.H. Taylor. Vardon becomes the first sports figure in history to endorse a product, using his "Vardon Flyer" ball througout the tour.
  • Americans Charles Sands and Margaret Abbott win gold medals in golf in the Olympic Games in Paris.
  • Walter J. Travis, who took up golf in 1896 at age 35, wins the U.S. Amateur.



1901
  • Walter Travis wins his second straight U.S. Amateur Championship and publishes an instruction book, Practical Golf . He's the first to win a major championship playing a Haskell wound-rubber ball.
  • Willie Anderson ties Alex Smith with a record-high 331 in the U.S. Open and takes the playoff with an 85.
  • Pinehurst resort in North Carolina opens the first nine holes of its No.2 course.



1902
  • Willie Anderson wins the Western Open with a 299 total; the first time 300 is broken for 72 holes in an American event.



1903
  • Walter Travis, known as "The Old Man," wins his third U.S. Amateur at age 41.
  • Oakmont Country Club opens near Pittsburgh, Pa., quickly gaining a reputation as one of the nation's toughest tests because of its penal style of architecture.
  • Willie Anderson sets a U.S. Open record with a 72 in the final round and a 303 total.
  • Americans claim Australian-born Walter Travis as the first of their own to win the British Amateur. He uses the center-shafted Schenectady putter.



1905
  • Twenty-five-year-old Willie Anderson wins his third consecutive U.S. Open and fourth in five years. It is also his last Open victory; he dies in 1910.
  • Harry Vardon publishes The Complete Golfer , which explains, among other things, the Vardon grip.



1906
  • Three-time runner-up Alex Smith finally wins the U.S. Open, becoming the first to break 300 for the 72-hole championship. His brother, Willie, is second.
  • In Great Britain, William Taylor applies for a patent on a dimple design for golf ball covers.



1907
  • Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina adds the back nine holes to its No.2 course. It is the seminal work of Donald Ross, who goes on to design hundreds of courses in the United States.
  • Margaret Curtis beats her sister Harriot in an all-in-the-family final of the U.S. Women's Amateur.



1908
  • Jerry Travers wins his second consecutive U.S. Amateur.
  • Three-time U.S. Amateur champion Walter Travis shows he's jack-of-all-trades by founding American Golfer magazine and serving as its first editor. He's also a golf course designer.



1909
  • Robert Gardner becomes the youngest U.S. Amateur champion at age 19.
  • New U.S. President William Howard Taft is the first golf-loving occupant of the White House.
  • The USGA rules that caddies, caddie-masters and greenkeepers past the age of 16 are professionals. The age would be raised to 18 in 1930, 21 in 1945, until the ruling was rescinded in 1963.



1910
  • Arthur F. Knight obtains a patent for a seamed, tubular, steel golf shaft. Steel shafts, however, are still illegal.
  • The R&A bans the center-shafted putter, while the USGA keeps it legal, marking the first time that the USGA diverges from an R&A equipment ruling.
  • Alex Smith wins his second U.S. Open by beating his other brother, Macdonald.




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