Oldest Women's Golf Tournaments in the World

10 Oldest Women’s Golf Tournaments in the World

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Although golf is seen as a male-dominated sport, Mary, Queen of Scots was one of the first people to commission a golf course in the 16th century. Unfortunately, women did not truly have a space in the world of golf for several centuries. The first women’s golf associations were formed in the late 19th century and some of the oldest women’s golf tournaments also date back to this time. Today, women have come a long way in golf and there are women’s amateur and professional golf is serious business.

10. ANA Inspiration

Year Established: 1972
Location: Rancho Mirage, California
Course(s): Mission Hills Country Club
Organized By: IMG / All Nippon Airways
Format: Stroke Play

ANA Inspirationphoto source: ANA Inspiration

The ANA Inspiration, formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship and informally called the “Dinah Shore”, was established in 1972 by Colgate-Palmolive chairman David Foster and entertainer Dinah Shore. Foster and Shore offered a purse double that of the U.S. Women’s Open or LPGA Championship at the time. Since 1983, the ANA Inspiration has been one of the five majors of the LPGA Tour.

Every year, the ANA Inspiration is held at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. All Nippon Airways became the tournament’s title sponsor in 2014, hence the fairly recent name change.

Did you know?

Since 1988, the winner of the ANA Inspiration celebrates by jumping into Poppie’s Pond. The tradition was started by Amy Alcott, but other winners did not really start jumping into the pond until 1994.


9. Women’s PGA Championship

Year Established: 1955
Location: United States of America, exact location varies
Course(s): Varies, but was held at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2021
Organized By: PGA of America
Format: Stroke Play

Women's PGA Championshipphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The Women’s PGA Championship (branded as the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for sponsorship reasons), formerly called the LPGA Championship, was first held in 1955. It is the second-longest running tournament in the history of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Although the Women’s PGA Championship is one of the five majors of the LPGA Tour, it is not recognized as a major by the Ladies European Tour. However, the Women’s PGA Championship is open to international players.

Did you know?

Prior to 2005, the Women’s PGA Championship had a strict professionals only rule, but this was revoked to allow the then 15-year old amateur Michelle Wie to compete. The professionals only rule was put back in place the next year after Wie turned professional.


8. U.S. Women’s Open

Year Established: 1946
Location: United States of America, exact location varies
Course(s): Varies, but was held at Olympic Club in 2021
Organized By: USGA
Format: Stroke Play

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Women’s Open is one of the major tournaments in women’s professional golf. It was first held in 1946, but the U.S. Women’s Open was not added to the USGA’s roster until 1953. Before this, the U.S Women’s Open was organized by the Women’s Professional Golfers Association (WPGA) and then the LPGA. The U.S. Women’s Open is the oldest of the major women’s professional golf tournaments recognized by the LPGA.

The U.S. Women’s Open is the second major of the LPGA season and has the highest purse in women’s golf, at $5.5 million. The tournament is open to women from around the world and international qualifiers have been in place since 2014. Over 1,000 women enter to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open annually.

Did you know?

The first U.S. Women’s Open was the only one that featured match play, since then, the tournament has always had a stroke play format.


7. Women’s Southern Golf Association Amateur Championship

Year Established: May 1911
Location: Southern United States of America
Course(s): Varies, but was The Falls Club of the Palm Beaches in 2021
Organized By: Women’s Southern Golf Association
Format: Match Play

photo source: okstate.com

The Women’s Southern Golf Association was formed in 1910 by Mrs. George Harrington of Atlanta, Georgia and Mrs. Willard Parker Sullivan of Birmingham, Alabama (later of Richmond, Virginia). Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Sullivan were concerned over the lack of a championship golf tournament for the southern states and spent the next year putting together the first Women’s Southern Golf Association Amateur Championship. That inaugural tournament was held on May 15, 1911 in Atlanta, Georgia and has been held every year since, except for the war years 1918 and 1942-45.

In addition to the Amateur Championship, the Women’s Southern Golf Association also hosts a Mid-Amateur Championship as well as a Senior Amateur Championship.

Did you know?

Since 1928, the area of the membership of the Women’s Southern Golf Association spans 15 southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


6. Women’s Eastern Golf Association Amateur Championship

Year Established: 1906
Location: United States of America, exact location varies
Course(s): Varies, but was Cobblestone Park Golf Club in 2021
Organized By: Women’s Eastern Golf Association
Format: Stroke Play

Women's Eastern Golf Association Amateur Championshipphoto source: Women’s Eastern Golf Association

The Women’s Eastern Golf Association Amateur Championship was established in 1906 and traces its history to the Griscom Cup matches played between golf associations from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. These inter-city team matches began in 1902 and by 1906, these associations decided to form the Women’s Eastern Golf Association (WEGA). The tournament has always been a multi-day stroke play event.

The Women’s Eastern Golf Association Amateur Championship field is eighty players and is open to women amateur golfers with a USGA Handicap Index of 11.5 or lower who are affiliated with a club, group, school, or university that pays WEGA dues. In 1993, WEGA formed the Senior Championship for women 50 and older.

Did you know?

The Women’s Eastern Golf Association came up with the idea for the Curtis Cup – the international competition between Great Britain and the United States – in 1927.


5. Women’s Western Amateur Championship

Year Established: 1901
Location: Illinois, USA
Course(s): Varies, but was at Park Ridge Country Club in 2021
Organized By: Women’s Western Golf Association
Format: Stroke Play and Match Play

Women's Western Amateur Championshipphoto source: Women’s Western Golf Association

The Women’s Western Amateur Championship is one of the oldest U.S. women’s golf tournaments and dates back to 1901. Initially, the tournament was sponsored by the Western Golf Association and held at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. Two years later, the Women’s Western Golf Association was formed and they have organized the Women’s Western Amateur since then. Unlike most of the other women’s golf tournaments on this list, the Women’s Western Amateur has been held every year since its inception, including during the years of the world wars and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the Amateur Championship, the Women’s Western Golf Association also holds a junior and senior championship.

Did you know?

Originally, membership in the Women’s Western Golf Association was limited to clubs within 500 mils of Chicago, west of the Allegheny Mountains, which is where the association’s name comes from.


4. Canadian Women’s Amateur

Year Established: October 1901
Location: Various provinces in Canada
Course(s): Varies, but was Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club in 2021
Organized By: Golf Canada
Format: Stroke Play and Match Play

photo source: amateurgolf.com

The first Canadian Women’s Amateur was held in 1901 at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. That inaugural tournament was won by Canada’s Lillas Young. It is the second oldest golf tournament in Canada, after the men’s Canadian Amateur Championship (established in 1895). Over the years, the Canadian Women’s Amateur grew and it is now open to amateur female golfers from all countries. Winners of the Canadian Women’s Amateur receive the coveted Duchess of Connaught Gold Cup as well as an exemption into the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.

Did you know?

World Golf Hall of Fame member Marlene Streit has won the Canadian Women’s Amateur 11 times and also has five runner-up finishes. Streit’s record still stands today.


3. U.S. Women’s Amateur

Year Established: 1895
Location: United States of America, exact location varies
Course(s): Varies, but currently Westchester Country Club
Organized By: USGA
Format: Stroke Play and Match Play

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Women’s Amateur was first held in November 1895, just one month after the men’s U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. This makes it the third oldest USGA championship and the U.S. Women’s Amateur is over a century older than the U.S. Women’s Open. For most of the history of the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the format has been stroke play qualifying before match play for the final rounds. However, from 1953 – 1963, the tournament was all match play.

Like the (British) Women’s Amateur Championship, the U.S. Women’s Amateur was one of the most important tournaments for women’s golf before the rise of professional women’s golf. In women’s amateur golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur is still a high honor.

Did you know?

Since 1896, the Robert Cox Cup – which was donated by Robert Cox of Edinburgh, Scotland, a member of the British Parliament and a golf course designer –  has been awarded to the winner of the U.S. Women’s Amateur


2. Australian Women’s Amateur

Year Established: 1894
Location: Various states and territories in Australia
Course(s): Varies, but was Kooyonga Golf Club in 2021
Organized By: Golf Australia
Format: Stroke Play and Match Play

Australian Women's Amateurphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The first Australian Women’s Amateur (initially called the Australian Ladies’ Amateur Championship) was held just one year after the inaugural Women’s Amateur Championship in Great Britain. The Australian Amateur, which is Australia’s national amateur golf championship, was also established in 1894.

For the first few years, the Australian Women’s Amateur was held at either the Geelong or Caulfield golf course. By the beginning of the 20th century, the venues for the tournament changed and its now held in different courses in different Australian states.

Did you know?

In 1935, all of Australia’s states were represented for the first time by players at the Australian Women’s Amateur, along with six players from Great Britain.


1. The Women’s Amateur Championship

Year Established: 1893
Location: The United Kingdom, exact location varies
Course(s): Varies, but currently Hunstanton
Organized By: The R&A
Format: Stroke Play and Match Play

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Women’s Amateur Championship, previously known as the British Ladies Amateur, was established in 1893, making it the oldest women’s golf tournament in the world. The tournament was put together by the Ladies’ Golf Union, which was founded that same year and served as the governing body for women’s and girls’ amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland. The Ladies’ Golf Union merged with The R&A in 2017.

For nearly a century, the Women’s Amateur Championship was the most important golf tournament for women in Great Britain. Along with the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the Women’s Amateur Championship is the most prestigious honor in women’s amateur golf.

Did you know?

The first non-British woman to win the Women’s Amateur Championship was Simone de la Chaume of France, who won the tournament in 1927.


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