Disputes were frequent when a national amateur championship was to be held. In 1894, St. Andrews (the New York City club which had been formed in 1888) and the Newport, R.I., Golf Club each held invitational tournaments, and each declared its winner to be the national amateur champion. The runner-up in both events, Charles Blair MacDonald, called for a national governing body that would administer the championship.
So to clear up the confusion, five clubs met in New York to resolve the situation: the two feuding clubs ' Newport and St. Andrews - plus Shinnecock Hills Golf Club of Southampton, N.Y., The Country Club of Brookline, Mass., and the Chicago Golf Club. The date was Dec. 22, Theodore A. Havermeyer was elected president, and the United States Golf Association was formed.
The next year, 1895, saw the first U.S. Amateur, and held conjointly, the first U.S. Open. Charles Blair MacDonald won the Amateur, and the next day the first Open was won by an Englishman, Horace Rawlins. Both championships were played at the Newport Golf Club.
One month later, a hastily arranged field played the first U.S. Womens Amateur. Lucy Barnes was the winner in the competition, played at Meadow Brook Club in Hempstead, N.Y.
The USGA currently conducts 13 national championships, ranging from youth titles to senior champions of both genders.
In addition the USGA formulates rules for playing the game; is responsible for handicapping; is responsible for improving the playing conditions of courses in the U.S., and is devoted to preserving the elements of skill in golf by means of testing balls, clubs and other equipment.