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Bringing Women and Golf Together Since 1950
History of the NCWGA by Kim Clarke
The North Carolina Women's Golf Association was formed on June 14, 1950, at a meeting organized by Estelle Lawson Page at Alamance Country Club. Mrs. Page contacted various members of the Piedmont Golf Association, a group that included golfers from Winston-Salem, High Point, Greensboro, Durham, Burlington, Siler City, Asheboro, Mount Airy, and Salisbury, and arranged that initial meeting at Alamance Country Club. With 70 golfers in attendance, Mrs. Page was appointed the first president of NCWGA, which was organized for the purpose of conducting a championship that would determine the best female amateur golfer in the state. Winning the tournament that she helped found for the first three years of its existence, Estelle Lawson Page was the first multiple winner of the North Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship. Her early success as a champion was soon followed by Marge Burns, who, from 1953 until 1963, won the tournament eight times in 11 years, eventually winning the state amateur title a record setting 10 times. Marge Burns is considered the most dominant champion in the history of the event.
From 1950 until 1970, the North Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship consisted of a Match Play competition. In the early years, the competitors played a qualifying round on Monday, after which the field was divided into flights of 16, whenever possible. Match Play began on Tuesday, and continued on Wednesday, with a 36-hole final on Friday. The championship match was played over 18 holes rather than 36, beginning in 1966. Shorts were worn for the first time in the state tournament in 1954 at Waynesville Country Club, after the United States Golf Association ruled that shorts were acceptable attire for women to wear while playing golf. In 1964, the age of senior eligibility was raised from 45 to 50, where it remains today. Prior to 1971, players were allowed to choose their own qualifying partners. However, since the NCWGA’s adoption of Medal Play in 1971, players have been paired according to handicaps and in groups of four.
The player who holds the record for the lowest round ever shot in the North Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship is Burlington native, Jessie Vincent, who posted a nine under par 64, during the second round of the 2005 Championship, held at Sedgefield Country Club. Adrienne Millican set a new NCWGA record for the lowest 54-hole score ever shot in the 2007 North Carolina Women’s Amateur Championship held at Mimosa Hills Golf and Country Club. She bested by two strokes the previous 21-year-old record of 212, set by Page Marsh in 1985 at the 36th Championship played at Cypress Lakes Golf Club in Fayetteville.
Since 1999, the state tournament has been conducted from two sets of tees, but only those competitors playing from the longer tees are eligible to win the regular, senior, or junior championships.
The NCWGA was incorporated on March 25, 2002, and became North Carolina Women’s Golf Association, Inc. In 2003, the NCWGA was recognized as a 501 (c)(3) organization and is exempt from federal and state income tax.