The original charter, set forth in 1906, stated that the mission of the Texas Golf Association would be to “promote the playing and advancement of the Royal and Ancient Game of Golf in Texas.” Today the TGA is one of the largest and most respected golf associations in the country, with an ongoing commitment of ensuring that the top resources and most dependable staff are in place to meet current and future needs of its members, contestants, volunteers and all who strive to preserve the great traditions of the game. Our mission for the future of golf in Texas is to continue bringing the game to all those who love to play. The Texas Golf Association and TGA Foundation has taken another step in the right direction by joining forces with the Northern and Southern Texas PGA Sections to support the Legends Junior Tour. The Legends Junior Tour not only allows junior golfers the chance to compete in the state’s top tournaments, but it also promotes the tradition, rules, integrity, and honesty that has helped golf become the game it is today.
We all have been given the opportunity to promote the game of golf in Texas, be it as players, volunteers, or staff; it is our goal to continue to teach, learn, and strive to help future generations preserve the game as we know it today. The TGA promises to continue providing its participants, supporters, and volunteers with the best facilities possible and the greatest tournaments imaginable.
History of the TGA
Back in 1906, golf had just been introduced to the Lone Star State ten years earlier and was enjoyed by a relatively small number of people. To change that, a group of forward-thinking members, representing the country clubs of Beaumont, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, met in Houston to form an alliance that would encourage others to take up the game.
On February 2, 1906, the Texas Golf Association was formally organized with a simple mission: “To promote the playing and advancement of the royal and ancient game of golf in Texas, by bringing the clubs and players of the state together.” Membership eligibility was open to “all regularly organized Golf Clubs of the State.” There was to be at least one annual meeting of the representatives of each club to take place in the spring, at which time “there shall be held a three day’s tournament to decide the championship of Texas for men.”
The first annual meeting was held in Dallas in April 1906. Forty-six players from the five original member clubs plus two clubs who had joined in the preceding month, showed up to compete for the State Championship on the links of the Dallas Golf and Country Club.
H.L. Edwards, an Englishmen transplanted to Dallas by way of the cotton business and who was also a member and founder of the host club and the first TGA President, shared the medalist award at 87 with F.M. Lewis of San Antonio. Fittingly, Edwards went on to defeat Lewis 3 and 2 in the finals of the match play event, for it was Edwards who is credited with introducing the game to Texas. In honor of the first TGA President and amateur champion, the TGA still presents the H.L. Edwards trophy to the winner of the Amateur Championship.
The amateur championship has produced a notable list of winners. The first four-time winner was the remarkable R.H. Connley of Austin (1908-11), who played every shot cross-handed. Connley, a member of Austin Country Club, was also the state’s trap-shooting champion and after a round would often have his caddie, a young Harvey Penick, throw clay pigeons so he could keep his aiming skills sharp. Five-time champion George V. Rotan, originally from the Waco club, also won four straight (1912-1915), then won again in 1919 representing Houston. Rotan, the first Texas amateur with a significant international reputation, was a member of the second U.S. Walker Cup Team in 1923, which won the Cup on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Of more modern vintage, Masters champions Charles Coody and Ben Crenshaw, along with PGA Champion Mark Brooks have won the Texas Amateur. So, too, have Earl Stewart, Jr., Don Massengale, Bruce Lietzke, Bob Estes, John Grace and U.S. Amateur champions Scott Verplank and Kelly Kraft, who captured both the Texas Amateur and U.S. Amateur titles in the same year. Ralph Guldhal, who never won but was medalist in 1930, later claimed two U.S. Open titles. From the inaugural Amateur Championship in 1906 and the first Senior Championship in 1937, the Association has expanded its statewide competitions calendar to include a Mid-Amateur (both stroke and match play), the Father-Son, Four-Ball, Super Senior, Stableford Handicap, League Play and the Texas Shootout, the lone invitational event on the schedule.
The Association also added to its lineup nine regional tournaments, which include: the North and South Amateur, North and South Mid-Amateur, North and South Senior Amateur, North and South Four-Ball, and the West Texas Amateur. Additionally, every two years from 1995 to 2016 the TGA sent a team of three to represent the Lone Star State in the USGA’s biennial Men’s State Team Championship. From the inaugural U.S. Men’s State Team Championship in 1995 until the event was halted in 2016, Texas was the only state to have captured the national title four times, in 1999, 2005, 2007 and 2014, with Bob Kearney and Terrence Miskell capturing the individual titles in 1999 and 2005, respectively.
The number of member clubs has grown from the original five in 1906 to over five hundred (and counting), and the membership base is as diverse as Texas and includes every type of facility – from historic private clubs to the newest daily fees, from rural 9-hole family operations to multi-course resorts, and from military courses to local municipals. And while conducting the state’s most prestigious championships may have been the first and most visible role of the Association, it has grown right along with its membership, increasing the number of valuable services it provides over the years to now include Amateur Status reinstatement, Communications, Course and Slope Ratings, Educational Seminars, GHIN Handicapping, Junior Golf, Representation, and charitable work through the TGA Foundation, to list but a few.
For over 100 years, the Texas Golf Association has functioned to promote the best interests and true spirit of the honorable sport throughout the state of Texas. We cooperate with the United States Golf Association and the Northern and Southern Sections of the Texas PGA, and many others to help make the game more enjoyable for all golfers. That the Association has thrived and flourished since 1906 is a testament to the strength and character of not only its dedicated volunteer base, but to the cooperation and support of member clubs, their individual members, and other local, regional, state and national golf associations as well. The Texas Golf Association will begin its second century of service just as it did its last, by adhering to its original purpose: “To promote the playing and advancement of the royal and ancient game of golf in Texas, by bringing the clubs and the players together.”
History of the WTGA
February 19, 1916, “Dear Madam: For several years there has been some discussion of forming a Golf Association for the women golfers of Texas and realizing that there is now a strong demand for the association, the women players of the River Crest Country Club and the Glen Garden Country Club of Fort Worth have decided to call a meeting for the purpose of formally organizing the Texas Woman’s Golf Association, electing officers, adopting bylaws, arranging for the first annual tournament, and transacting such other business as may be deemed proper…”
This 1916 meeting was the beginning of organized golf for women in Texas. Later that year, the new organization hosted the first State Amateur Championship. Mrs. Edna Lapham won the inaugural event, and never played more than 12 holes in any match. For much of its history, the Women’s Texas Golf Association endeavored primarily to identify the best female golfer in Texas – a very difficult task given the heritage of great players in our state.
Since the first championship in Fort Worth, the Women’s Texas Golf Association has hosted State Amateur Championships on Texas’ finest venues, seen the names of golf’s greatest women etched onto championship trophies, and grown to offer competitive opportunities for women of all ability levels. Starting with the very first meeting, dedicated volunteers have worked to reach female members of Texas golf clubs and provide relevant services to connect them to the game and to each other. Since 2008, the WTGA has also been actively “paying it forward” and developing the next generation of golfers. The Winners’ Program, Junior Girls Travel Fund and Doris Kallina and ‘Nez Muhleman Scholarships are initiatives designed to promote junior golf skill development, good grades, and higher education for young women. More than $150,000 has been directed to these programs since 2008, with a vision for an even greater impact in the future.
Since the beginning, the caretakers of organized women’s golf in Texas have believed that golf enriches the lives of those who play. The organization has existed “…not only for the good of the game but because the game is good. Good for connecting people. Good for building character. Good for building bridges between generations. Good for mind and body.” In 2014, the WTGA merged with the Texas Golf Association, forming a unified governing body for every golfer in Texas. The TGA brings more than 100 years of stewardship of the game, its own impressive heritage and significant resources to a relationship focused on securing the best interest of the game of golf for all golfers. With the Women’s Committee, the TGA provides championship opportunities, course rating and handicapping services, educational activities and individual member benefits to men and women across the state, ensuring that the game will be sustained and accessible for the next 100 years and beyond.
History of the Legends Junior Tour
The Legends Junior Tour (LJT) was established under the umbrella of the TGA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1999 as part of an initiative to promote the game of golf and all of the personal and social skills the game provides to those who might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience all the benefits the game has to offer.
Proceeds generated from the LJT and our corporate partners go toward supporting a number of worthy causes, including The First Tee programs and the NTPGA run Golf-In-Schools program, which introduces elementary and middle school students to the game of golf through the physical education curriculum.
Since its inception in 2005, the Legends Junior Tour has given back more than $250,000 to non-profit groups, including the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, The First Tee of Tyler, The First Tee of Dallas, the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Foundation, Shriners Hospital, the Neo-Natal ICU at Plano Medical Center and the Autism Society.
Today the LJT is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance; a joint venture between the TGA, Northern and Southern Texas PGA Sections and the Houston Golf Association. The Tour still operates as part of the TGA and its Foundation. The LJT is home to such prestigious events as the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Cup Invitational, Jackie Burke Cup and Texas Junior Amateur Championship. The LJT is part of the AJGA Performance Based Entry process, with the majority of events on the schedule awarding AJGA Performance Stars to top finishers.
Eligibility will be open to young men and women ages 19 & under, who meet the minimum handicap requirements and have distinguished themselves in local, regional, statewide and national competitions. The LJT also serves as a natural progression for those players who have competed successfully in the HGA, NTPGA and STPGA’s developmental junior series.
Objectives of the Legends Junior Tour
- Utilize the strengths of the HGA, NTPGA, STPGA, and TGA to establish a professional, competitive environment where the state’s best junior players can develop and demonstrate their skills.
- Provide innovative resources and services to junior golfers in search of college scholarships.
- Foster golf’s fine traditions of integrity, character, self-reliance, and sportsmanship.
- Recognize notable individuals from the past and present who have made a significant impact to the history of golf in Texas.
- Continue to advance the game to a wide variety of boys and girls from all socioeconomic backgrounds.