Club Membership History

The history of United States Golf Association club membership cannot be discussed without reference to the birth of golf in the United States and the beginnings of the USGA as a golf organization.

The origin of golf clubs in North America can be traced to the year 1786 with the founding of a club in Charleston, S.C., and the charter of the Royal Montreal Golf Club in 1873. Golf was played at Oakhurst, W. Va., in 1884, the Dorset Field Club, Vt., in 1886, and in Foxburg, Pa., in 1887. The St. Andrews Club in Hastings-on-the-Hudson, N.Y., has been documented as the longest continually running club since its founding in 1888.

As much as historians focus on golf history in the Northeast, USGA club members have told us that the game was introduced to other areas, some not often referenced in history books, including Brookline, Mass., in 1882; Princeton, Ind., 1883; Tacoma, Wash., 1884; Kingman, Kan., 1887; Fullerton, Neb., 1887; St. Paul, Minn., 1888; Rockwood, Maine, 1889; Indianapolis, Ind., 1891; Chicago, Ill., 1892; Gearheart, Ore., 1892; Southampton, N.Y., 1892; Burlingame, Calif., 1893; Newport, R.I., 1893, and many more cities prior to 1900.

In 1894 both St. Andrews and Newport, R.I., golf clubs declared that the winner of their respective invitational tournament was the Amateur Champion of the United States. This dilemma, as well as the need to codify, interpret and modify the Rules of Golf and the Rules of Amateur Status, reinforced the need to create one authoritative body governing golf in the United States.

Delegates from five clubs: St. Andrews, N.Y.; Newport, R.I.; Shinnecock Hills, N.Y.; Chicago Golf Club, Ill.; and the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., met in New York City in the fall of 1894. The Amateur Golf Association of the United States, later to be known as United States Golf Association, was formed on Dec. 22, 1894. Championship play began at Newport Golf Club where both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open were played in October 1895.

The United States Golf Association, founded in 1894, evolved to be a golf service organization of member clubs, courses, and qualified training facilities, incorporated as a non-profit organization. The USGA is guided by 30 committees, comprised of 1,400 volunteers, under the direction of a 15 member Executive Committee. The USGA is governed by nine articles that comprise its formal organizational by-laws.

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image