The AWGA is governed by a Board of Directors elected from the three (3) regions in the state of Arizona: Northern, Central, and Southern. The Officers comprise the Executive Committee and the remaining Directors each chair a committee to administer the various affairs of the Association.
We are a not for profit 501(c)(3) public charity. We maintain a small staff to administer the Association programs and business details of running the association office, retaining the services of an Executive Director to manage the staff and assist the Board of Directors in determining policies and strategies for growth and maintenance of the association.
The organization was born in 1924, but under a different name. Records are fuzzy from those days, so the original name is unknown and, as it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind, we have functioned under four different names over the years, The organization was formed at the Hollywood club following the Phoenix Country Club Invitational in 1924. Mrs. Laura Chalmers, an honorary member of the Phoenix Country Club, daughter of former Phoenix mayor, George F. Coates and wife of prominent Phoenix attorney and bank official Louis H. Chalmers, was the organization's first president. Mrs. Chalmers was a prominent citizen of her day, serving as a charter member of the board of visitors of St. Luke's Hospital and an honorary member and president of the Phoenix Fine Arts Association. Records indicate that Mrs. Chalmers traveled by covered wagon from Mount Pleasant, Iowa in 1871, at which time her father settled the family in Yuma, AZ. He moved the family to Phoenix in 1879. Mrs. Chalmers died in the spring of 1953 at the age of 85 in her home near the intersection of Third Street and McDowell, which, coincidentally is only one block from the current location of the AWGA Headquarters, located at Third Street and Palm Lane.
In 1950, the Arizona Women's Open was held at El Rio Golf and Country Club. After this tournament the association closed to women outside the state and became the Arizona State Women's Golf Association. The ASWGA held it's last meeting on May 22, 1960, when with the assistance of Joseph C. Dey, then Executive Secretary of the USGA, formed a committee to formulate and adopt the constitution of the Women's Golf Association of Arizona, the WGAA. We adopted our current name, the Arizona Women's Golf Association, in 1991 when the association was incorporated.
The first State Match Play Championship was held at Phoenix Country Club, March 6-9, 1924. In the championship match, Mrs. Lorraine McArthur, Jr., defeated Mrs. Jo Goldwater 5 & 4. Jo Goldwater, mother of Barry & Bob, was a prominent figure in the early years of the AWGA, finishing second in both the 1924 and the 1926 Championships. She was a medalist in 1924 with a score of 93, exceptional for the times
The 1928, the State Match Play Championship, also held at Phoenix CC, was the first ever played on grass greens. According to the Arizona Republican, (yes, that was the name), “the new grass greens hampered the visitors from other clubs, and none of the players approached the women's par for the course – 85.” Barbara Williams was the medalist for the tournament shooting 94 (47-47).Tournaments were held annually by the original association until 1950, including the 1939 Championship conducted in Canada, Sonora, Mexico.
In 1958 a junior flight was added to the championship tournament, after which in 1963, a separate State Junior Girls Championship was conducted by the association. In the late 1980's, the Junior Golf Association of Arizona took on that role. During the years the AWGA conducted the State Junior Girls Championships, champions included, Denise Martinez, Lauri Merten, Heather Farr, Kay Cornelius, and Danielle Ammaccapane. The AWGA continues to sponsor the Junior Girls America's Cup team each year, which is selected from the members of the JGAA.
Our first Seniors Championship was held in October of 1963 at the North and South Courses in Sun City. Imagine, if you can, a golf tournament with the theme of “Lavender and Old Lace” carried out with pastel flags trimmed with black lace! The first Seniors Champion was Madge Hammon, who won the event in 1963, 1964 and 1969.
The first State Stroke Play Championship was held in 1974 at Desert Forest Golf Club. The Champion was Evie Hill. Ms. Hill, still active in the AWGA, was also State Match Play Champion in 1964, 1966, and 1968, and president of the association in 1963-65 and 1977-79.