The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the United States' national association of golf courses, clubs and facilities and the governing body of golf for the United States and Mexico. Together with The Royal & Ancient (R&A), the USGA produces and interprets the rules of golf. The USGA also provides a national handicap system for golfers, conducts 14 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open, and tests golf equipment for conformity with regulations. The USGA is headquartered at Golf House in Far Hills, New Jersey.
The USGA was originally formed in 1894 to resolve the question of a national amateur championship. Earlier that year, the Newport Country Club and Saint Andrew's Golf Club, Yonkers, New York, both declared the winners of their tournaments the "national amateur champion." That autumn, delegates from Newport, St. Andrew's, The Country Club, Chicago Golf Club, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club met in New York City to form a national governing body, which would administer the championship and also the Rules of Golf for the country. On December 22, 1894, the Amateur Golf Association of the United States was officially formed, and was shortly thereafter renamed the "United States Golf Association." Theodore Havemeyer was the first president, and the U.S. Amateur trophy is named in his honor.
The first U.S. Amateur was held in 1895 at the Newport Country Club, with Charles B. Macdonald (who was runner-up at both of the previous year's tournaments) winning the championship. The first U.S. Open was held the following day, almost as an afterthought. It was not until 1898 that the two events were held at separate clubs. Today, the USGA administers 14 separate national championships, ten of which are expressly for amateurs.
The USGA gradually expanded its membership from the original five clubs. There were 267 club members in 1910, and 1,138 clubs by 1932. Membership fell off during the Great Depression and World War II, but recovered by 1947. By 1980 there were over 5,000 clubs, and today membership exceeds 9,700.
On September 17, 1956, Ann Gregory began competing in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, thus becoming the first African-American woman to play in a national championship conducted by the USGA.
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