A very interesting and important women’s event will be played this week in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Northriver Yacht Club will host the fourth playing of the Amateur Golf Alliance Women’s Amateur Championship.
The Amateur Golf Alliance was created in 2014 with the intent to promote the amateur game at the highest level of competition. It conducts tournaments, provides financial support to competitive amateurs and pursues research as well as advocacy to have a positive impact on the amateur game.
The AGA is best known for conducting the Concession Cup, a Walker Cup-style match that pits American mid and senior amateur men against their European counterparts.
The association is the brainchild of Alan Fadel, a longtime competitor on America’s amateur landscape. Fadel, based in Toledo, Ohio, was inducted into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame in 2014 and is the current president of the Ohio Golf Association.
So why did the AGA take on a women’s event?
According to Fadel, “There were not enough opportunities for women to compete at a high level. We hope to provide an incentive for mid and senior amateurs to stay sharp, to work on their game.”
Fadel gives Rob Addington much of the credit for building the Women’s Amateur Championship. Addington is a longtime Texas golfer who was the executive director of the Texas Golf Association for 19 years. He left the association in 2018 to start a golf management company called Anera Sports. Anera oversees the Concession Cup and the Women’s Amateur Championship, as well as the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association.
“The tournament is growing nicely, and it is filling the void that the AGA saw.” – Rob Addington
A key decision by Addington was to lower the eligibility age for the Women’s Amateur Championship to 23 years old, down from the customary mid-amateur age of 25. This is a trend that is growing in America. The Florida State Golf Association did the same, all in an effort to keep former college players who don’t turn pro in the game. It is making a real difference.
In its short history, the Women’s Amateur Championship has produced some brand-name winners. Elite mid-amateur Lauren Greenlief won the inaugural tournament and Megan Stasi, a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, captured the second playing of the championship. Greenlief scored her second win in 2022, while seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port won the senior division that year.
“The tournament is growing nicely, and it is filling the void that the AGA saw,” according to Addington.
Observed two-time winner Greenlief: “The AGA Women’s Amateur Championship has quickly become one of the highlights of the mid-am tournament schedule. It was a much-needed addition as there are very few national-level tournaments available outside of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. Each year, the event continues to grow. It plays an impactful role to welcome more players, 23 and over, to post-collegiate competition.”
The 2023 senior field is probably the best yet, as 15 of the top 21 senior women in the world amateur golf rankings entered. This is arguably the strongest senior amateur women’s field apart from the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. The field continues to make progress but has just 18 entered players.
One player to keep an eye on is Susan West. The veteran competitor, a six-time Alabama Golf Association champion and five-time Alabama Senior Women’s Player of the Year, will be competing on her home course. She will be profiled by Emilia Migliaccio on May 27 at GGPWomen.
The AGA has announced that the Concession Cup will include women beginning with this fall’s match at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida. Many of the women playing this week in Tuscaloosa will have that in the back of their mind as they compete.
© 2023 Global Golf Post LLC
Top: Lauren Greenlief (left) won two of the first three Amateur Golf Alliance Women’s Amateur Championships, including the first one in 2020. Photo: Jeff Haynes, USGA
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