The USGA Men's State Team Championship, as
well as the Women's State Team Championship,
grew out of the Association's Centennial
celebration in 1995. It was believed that a new
championship, one in which each state could be
represented by non-college, amateur golfers,
was a good way to cap the USGA's year-long
birthday celebration. In enthusiasm and fine
golf, the State Team Championship proved such
a success that it has been instituted to return
every two years.
The championship was fashioned after the
biennial World Amateur Team Championships.
Each state is invited to send three players; 46
states and Puerto Rico responded and sent
teams to compete at Lake Nona Golf Club in
Orlando, Fla., in 1995, and 50 states and Puerto
Rico sent teams to compete at SunRidge
Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Ariz., in
State associations were given the option to
choose their teams by any method. College
players, however, were ineligible due to NCAA
bylaws. Under current NCAA rules, a player may
only participate in an international team match
when that team is sponsored by the national
governing body, such as in the Walker Cup
Otherwise, the player is faced with being
declared ineligible for the remainder of the
season of the infraction, as well as the following
Some states chose their players on a point
system. Some selected the top finishers from
their state championships or conducted
qualifying tournaments. Virginia and a few other
states empanelled selection committees that
sifted through the year's results.
The first State Championship, conducted
October 25-28, 1995, gave a decided advantage
to southern teams as it came beyond the
competitive season for many states. The South
Dakota team, for example, had left home with
six inches of snow on the ground, and the
Alaskans hadn't played since mid-September.
Based on the World Amateur Team format, in
which each team fields four players, with only
the best three scores counted each of three
rounds, Virginia prevailed in the inaugural.
Minnesota, with nationally decorated amateur
John Harris leading the way, won the 1997
event with a cumulative score of 416, 10 under
No individual prizes are awarded, but it is
important that many of the best amateurs in
the country have supported these early
Championships. In 1997, four members of that
year's U.S. Walker Cup team played, including
Jerry Courville Jr. of Milford, Conn., has played
in both 1995 and 1997, setting an unofficial
USGA record by making the State Championship
his fifth USGA competition. He also had
competed in the Open, Amateur, Mid-Amateur,
which he won, and the Walker Cup Match.
Players of all ages have shown their interest.
Bob Hullender of San Antonio was a member of
the 1997 Texas team, at age 60. And several
players have been high school students.