Started in 1915 as a regional tournament for private club members to compete against the top amateurs from other southwestern golf clubs, the Southwestern Golf Association was organized in Douglas, Arizona. Pre-dating the Arizona and Sun Country Golf Associations, the Southwestern Golf Association was the original organizing body for the clubs around the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas.
Developed with volunteers from each member club, the Southwestern Golf Association's original mission was to annually conduct the Southwestern Amateur Golf Championship and promote golf throughout the amateur communities in the desert southwest. Today, the volunteer Board of Directors carries on this tradition.
Several of the original members of the association have histories longer than the states in which they reside. Original member clubs hosting the Southwestern Amateur include Phoenix Country Club, Tucson Country Club, El Paso Country Club, Arizona Country Club and Yuma Country Club. Several of the original member clubs represented have now become resort facilities including the Biltmore, Wigwam and San Marcos.
The tournament format was originally match-play between competitors and included a team competition. Some history of the tournament indicates the team competition was actually conducted as early as 1908, before the association of golf clubs was formally developed. The earliest competitions included only 30 to 40 players.
The tournament format was changed in 1966 to the current day format of stroke-play. Golf was becoming extremely popular across the United Sates and interest grew because of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. In an effort to make the tournament accessible to more players and many of the top-ranked amateur players from around the country, the tournament format was changed and the field size increased to 90 then later to more than 144 players.
As demand for top-ranked amateur players has increased, the tournament committee now issues invitations to participate in the exclusive tournament. Players not previously invited may still enter the tournament after March 1 each year through an application process. All players in the tournament field must possess a verifiable handicap index of 1.4 or less in order to submit an entry.
Although the tournament's popularity continues to grow, the Directors have limited the field size to 144 players for the past 10 years. The Directors concentrate on the quality of the players in the field and not just quantity. In the 1990's the Directors established an exemption list of players that meet certain qualifications or those that have obtained national status or reputation from their results in other top amateur tournaments.
With the continued growth and international popularity of the game, the field size has been increased through the 1970's to permit more players from around the world. In previous years, the tournament included over 200 players and has had as many as 14 different countries represented.
At the 2017 Shell Houston Open, Southwestern Golf Association President, John Ranslem, met with former Southwestern Amateur champion JT Poston (2013).
JT earned his PGTour card by ending up in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour in 2016. He has made the cut in most of the 2017 PGA events he has entered.
At the Genesis Open he was paired in the first two rounds with Kevin Dougherty, our 2012 champion and first runner up to JT in 2013. Read more....
Enjoy Desert Mountain for the week!
For players who miss the 36 hole cut, Desert Mountain has agreed to provide playing access to two of its other Jack Nicklaus Signature Courses on Friday and Saturday of tournament week. So plan to stay the week!
The longest running amateur golf tournament in the southwestern United States returns for a third year at Scottsdale's premier private golf and recreational community.