The Seniors Open Amateur Championship was
the first championship to be initiated by The
R&A. It made its debut at Formby in 1969 as a
qualifying event for the World Senior Amateur
Team Championship, which had begun in 1967
under the auspices of the World Amateur Golf
Council. The winner was Reg Pattinson, who
went on to play in the Team Championship.
Initially, the World Senior Amateur
Championship was to be played every two
years, alternating with the competition for the
Eisenhower Trophy. However, 1969 turned out
to be its final year. The success of the Seniors
Open Amateur Championship was evident from
the start and it became an event in its own
Today the championship attracts a wide
international field. Before the present format
was introduced, various alternatives were
tried, in order to satisfy increasing entry
It began as a 36-hole stroke play event, held
over two days. The handicap limit was five and
the field was restricted to 100. Two courses
were used in 1971, allowing an entry of 250.
The handicap limit was increased to nine.
In 1974, a limit of 130 was imposed. Subsidiary
competitions were introduced according to age
group: 55-59, 60-64 and 65 and over. A fourth
age group was added in 1975 for the over 70s
and the entry limit was increased to 140. The
special categories changed in 1999, to one
only for the 65 and over age group.