The California Seniors’ Golf Association was organized in 1943 during the California Golf Association’s annual State championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Those who spearheaded the idea were Roy Pickford of Coronado, Charles Lathrop and Ray Williams of Pasadena and Brace Carter of San Francisco. Samuel F.B. Morse, head of Del Monte Properties Company, was an enthusiastic supporter. Other supporters who helped in the organizing program were Marion Gray, Ray Hornby, Ralph Hewell, Walter Egan, Cal Reed, Del Griggs, Jim Lowrie and H. T. Havside.
A perpetual trophy was donated by Gray and Cypress Point was selected as the site for an inaugural tournament. The first tournament at Cypress Point in 1944 was 36 holes of stroke play over two days. There were 99 entries, with Frank Lindsay of the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles walking away as the winner with a score of 156.
Following the first tournament, a non-profit corporation was formed. The by-laws stated the objects of the Association were “to encourage friendly competition in golf among senior players residing in the State of California, and to hold an annual tournament.” Age 55 was selected as the minimum age limit. The membership was fixed at 250 (later increased to 300), and divided equally between Northern and Southern California. The Monterey Cypress was also adopted as the Association emblem.
Due to large participation, Monterey Peninsula Country Club would join Cypress Point Club as a championship venue to accommodate the bigger fields. From 1945 through 1951, play was divided—half the field at Cypress Point for one round and at MPCC for the second eighteen. From 1952 through 1960, play was at MPCC and Pebble Beach. In 1961, two courses–the Dunes and Shore–became available at MPCC which made it ideally suited for a 36-hole tournament in which the field alternates, playing one round on each course. MPCC has been our gracious host through 1997. In appreciation, at the 40th Annual Tournament in 1983, the Association designed, constructed and presented to MPCC officials a new scoreboard adjacent to the first tee.
Currently, the tournament’s format begins with a welcoming cocktail party on Sunday evening, the first round of play beginning on Monday, and the final round played on Tuesday. There is a playoff for the championship if necessary. The tournament winds up with dinner that evening at MPCC, where the annual meeting is also conducted and the tournament prizes are awarded.
There are now two championship flights: Low Gross and Low Net. In addition, 12 different flights provide low gross and low net trophies.
The Association is managed by a nine-man Board of Governors, with one new Governor elected each year to replace the President who retires. Here too, the North and South alternate. It has become policy for Governors to move “up the ladder,” and barring unusual circumstances, the new nominee each year will become President his ninth year of service. This ensures knowledgeable, experienced management attested to by the success and stature the Association has achieved.
For many years, there has been a substantial waiting list of applicants for membership from both Northern and Southern California. Applications are considered on a chronological basis, but special consideration may be extended to an applicant who has given a major and outstanding contribution to the game of golf through his activities in golf clubs and golf associations.