Charles Blair MacDonald won the 1st Amateur 12 & 11 over Charles Sands at Newport Golf Club
The United States Amateur Championship is the oldest and most prestigious event for amateur golfers that was first founded in 1895 after much controversy…
See, in 1894 two different clubs the Newport Country Club and the New York St. Andrew’s Golf Club (not to be confused with any sort of establishment in Scotland) had proceeded with their own invitational tournaments and by the end both clubs proclaimed their winners at the “national champion.” The event that was played at Newport Country Club was won by William G. Lawrence, while the other took place at St Andrew’s Golf Club and was won by Laurence B. Stottard of the host club. This series of events is what sparked the idea of a national govern body to conduct these type of events & set a standard for rules. By the end of 1894 representatives from Newport Golf Club, St. Andrews Golf Club, The Country Club of Brookline, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and Chicago Golf Club had founded the USGA on December 22nd, 1894.
By the end of 1894 golfing amateurs and admirers alike got their wish. In 1895, The United States Golf Association was formed and in that inaugural year it hosted its first Amateur Championship, U.S. Open, and Women’s Amateur. Interestingly a man by the name of Charles Blair MacDonald who finished runner-up in both (Newport Amateur & St. Andrews Amateur) unofficial amateurs in 1894 was the victor of the first official U.S. Amateur. MacDonald beat a man by the name of Charles Sands 12 & 11. He returned to Chicago Golf Club the following year and was the low amateur at the U.S. Open.
In conclusion, amidst all the controversy it all stayed together 121 years later. Although the pro’s dominate the tour circuit, this event still stands to the test of time.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.