The California Seniors’ Golf Association was organized in 1943 while the California Golf Association’s annual Tournament was in progress at Pebble Beach. The “older” golfers 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. Cypress Point was selected as the site for a first tournament to be held the following year.
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.
The first tournament at Cypress Point in 1944 was thirty-six holes played in two days at stroke play. There were ninety-nine entries. Frank Lindsay, of the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, was 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.” Fifty-five years was selected as the minimum age limit. The membership was fixed at 250 (later increased to 300), divided equally between Northern and Southern California. The Monterey Cypress was adopted as the Association emblem.
Cypress Point, with a single course, was not suitable for a tournament with a large field, which quickly materialized. From 1945 through 1951, play was divided with half the field at Cypress Point for one round, and at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club 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 thirty-six 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 has designed, constructed and presented to MPCC, a new scoreboard adjacent to the first tee.
Presently, 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 when necessary. The tournament winds up with dinner that evening, which has been at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, where the Annual meeting is also conducted and the tournament prizes are awarded.
There are now two championship flights, for low gross and low net. In addition, twelve 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, also, 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.