| The history of the WTNGA has been a long and illustrious one. The original Tri-State Women’s Golf Association (Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas) formed the Missouri Valley Women’s Golf Association to admit Iowa and Nebraska. On June 9,1926, at the Annual Meeting while playing at the Omaha Country Club, the members decided unanimously to again expand. The Women’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association was officially organized February 17, 1927, at a meeting held in the Muelebach Hotel, Kansas City, MO. Those in attendance were Mrs. Robert Greenhouse, Kansas City, MO; Mrs. Blaine Young, Omaha, NE; Mrs. Claude Woodruff, Springfield, MO; Mrs. Charles Herndon, Kansas, City, MO; and Mrs. John Caldwell, Omaha, NE. Mr. James Nugent of Kansas City, an officer in the Men’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association, attended the meeting and assisted the ladies in the formation of the Association. This permitted many fine golfers to compete who were previously excluded as twenty states were now included, states bordering the east bank of the Mississippi to the eastern divide of the Rocky Mountains.
The first WTMGA Championship was played at Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City, MO, June 13-18, 1927. Soon clubs from more states requested membership and in 1953, under the leadership of Trans President Mrs. Dorothy Pease, Scottsdale, AZ, the Trans went “National” and included all states. With Mrs. Betsy McSpaden, Kansas City, KS, at the helm, the name was changed to Women’s Trans National Golf Association as the Championship became international in scope. It is now one of the Big Three national amateur tournaments for women played in the United States.
Trans sites are obtained by clubs submitting invitations to the Trans Association. The Trans then works with these clubs in arranging suitable dates. The host club provides the setting and facilities for the Trans Annual Championship and is host to any social activities. The Trans purchases all prizes and pays all Association expenses, including the mailing of invitations to all eligible golfers. The tournament proper is run by Trans Directors in accordance with USGA procedure. The Trans provides a souvenir Golf Annual.
The Trans rotates its tournament sites, thus acquainting golfers in all parts of the U. S. with the Trans Championship. This also gives local golfers the opportunity to see the top women amateur golfers in action. Fresh enthusiasm and interest in golf and its organizations are invariably instilled in golfers in the host club area. Much of the success of any Trans Championship is due to the full cooperation of its host club people. Players remember Trans tourneys and host cities because of their friendliness and hospitality.
The Women’s Trans National Golf Association is a tax-exempt non-profit organization, governed by a National Board of Directors that consists of no more than twenty-four women. There are five Associate Directors who perform special services on the National Board. Each state is represented in the Association by one or more women who are representatives of golf to their respective states. These women work diligently throughout the year endeavoring to improve each year’s championship, and to help promote amateur golf for women. They pay for their own expenses to Trans Championships. Executive board members may not compete in the tournament.
The Trans awards its Champion with a permanent prize plus custody for one year of the lovely George III Bowl Traveling Trophy. Traveling trophies and prizes are awarded to Tournament Medalist, Junior and Senior Medalists, and Howell Team winners. Information and pictures of these trophies may be seen in the Trophies section of our web site.
The Trans 50th Championship was played at the Country Club of Lincoln (Nebraska) with 144 players with handicaps of four and under, and included players from Ireland and the Dominican Republic. A record number of low handicap players as well as six foreign champions, representing Australia, Scotland, Colombia, Venezuela and Canada, played in the Trans 51st Championship hosted by The Ranch Country Club, Denver, CO. A highlight in news coverage occurred at the 1978 Championship at Wolfert’s Roost Country Club, Albany, NY, with two hours of “live” TV coverage of the quarterfinal matches transmitted over five states. The Trans conducted USGA Sectional Qualifying in conjunction with its own qualifying round in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
Robin Weiss, Palm Beach, FL, and Karen Noble, Brookside, NJ, scored 69 at Tiger Point Golf and Country Club, Gulf Breeze, FL, in 1990 to tie the Trans Medalist record held by Blue Kinander, Medinah, IL (Columbia C. C., South Carolina, 1989); Mary Budke, Dayton, OH (Mt. Snow C. C., Vermont, 1973); Jill Briles, Peoria, IL (Fairway Oaks C. C., Abilene, TX); and Penny Hammel, Decatur, IL (Mid Pines Resort, Southern Pines, NC, 1983). Eight Trans Champions have won the Women’s National Amateur: Miriam Burns Horn, Betty Jameson, Patty Berg, Babe Zaharias, Jo Ann Gunderson Carner, Martha Wilkinson Kirouac, Mary Budke and Pearl Sinn. Six women have won both the WTNGA and the British Amateur: Carol Semple Thompson, Wiffie Smith, Babe Zaharias, Carol Sorenson, Michelle Walker and Nancy Roth Syms. Claire Waite won both the WTNGA and the British Stroke Play Championship in 1984. Two women from the United Kingdom have won the WTNGA titles: Michelle Walker, Chatham, Kent, England in 1972 and Claire Waite, Willshire, England, 1984. WTNGA Champions Patrice Rizzo, 1988 U. S. World Team member and Carol Thompson, 1988 U. S. World Team member, won low scoring individual honors at World Team Matches. Claire Waite, 1984 Champion, was a member of the 1984 Great Britain and Ireland World Team.
Jane Bastanchury Booth, West Palm Beach, FL and Polly Riley, Forth Worth, TX, have each won the title three times. Opal B. Hill, Kansas City, MO, has been the most frequent champion, winning four times in the early years of the Association, 1928, 1929, 1931 and 1934. The two youngest to hold the title are 1975 Champion Beverley Davis, 17 years, 10 months, and 1960 Champion Sandra Haynie at 17 years, 3 months. Seven WTNGA Champions have also won the Women’s Western Championship the same year: Opal Hill (1929, 1931), Patty Berg (1938), Betty Jameson (1940), Lucile Robinson Mann (1941), Jane Bastanchury Booth (1969), Nancy Lopez (1976) and Amy Benz (1981). Jane Bastanchury Booth and her daughter Kellee Booth (1999) are WTNGA Champions.
Several former WTNGA champions are now pros. Others are well known amateurs who have won many fine tournaments. You are invited to review the list of Past Champions by clicking on the Amateur Hall of Fame link on the right side of this page.
Our WTNGA trophies have a history also. You are invited to review the list of Trophies. Click on the link to the Trophies on the left side of this page.