New WWSGA History
The Wisconsin Women’s State Golf Association was born in 1909 when twenty-five women from five private clubs met at the Algoma Country Club in Oshkosh, WI, for a “golf rally”. The three day event ended with Mrs. George Niedecken winning the championship flight and becoming the first women’s Wisconsin State Champion. During that “rally” and with assistance from the Western Association, the Wisconsin Women’s Golf Association (WWSGA) was formed to promote the game of golf among women in the state. And indeed, starting with that first event, the WWSGA very successfully took on the important role of providing golf opportunities and tournaments, attracting large numbers of women golfers from private clubs throughout the state. Tournaments were held during the summer months and in the course of years have expanded to include individual match and stroke play, team play plus events with husbands, sons, and daughters.
The game of golf attracted more women on public courses as well. Public Links women had no other venues in which to play except for tournaments on their own course. So in 1961 two public links women golfers contacted other clubs and by July of 1962 had organized 14 charter clubs into the Wisconsin Women’s Public Links Golf Association (WWPLGA). Their first official tournament was at Brown Deer Park Golf Course where Miss Dorothy Klas became the first WWPLGA State Champion. The Association also grew in numbers and tournament offerings including individual stroke play, team play and a variety of senior events. Early membership was limited to member clubs, and later was expanded to individual membership for those in the work force.
While originally each organization served a specific group of golfers, as time went on, it became apparent that both Associations shared identical goals of encouraging and promoting the game of golf among women in Wisconsin in addition to providing support for young golfers. The leadership of both organizations began to foster interaction among all golfers and encouraged inclusion in tournaments. Starting in 2002, a regular series of meetings began with members from both Associations forming a committee to lay the groundwork for a merger. It was a thorough and productive effort, but the differences in membership structure and governance resulted in a mutual agreement to temporarily suspend the merger process. It was, however, agreed to have a single State Stroke Play Championship with alternating responsibility by each Association and to also continue co-sponsorship of other events.
The dual tournament efforts continued for several years with no further action. It was the implementation of a computerized state golf registration system, increasing each organizations financial commitment, which brought attention to another important benefit of a merger. In 2011 a WWPLGA member (Joy Kegler) drafted a working paper, outlining new ideas for the structure of a single state organization and circulated it to both Associations for consideration. The paper was the catalyst for the formation of an ad hoc committee (Syd Wells, Judy Liethen, Pati Ohme, Judy LaValley, Elaine Koepke, Sandy Nass, Barb Hussin, and Joy Kegler) charged with establishing a single women’s state golf organization.
In 2012 the committee held a series of meetings which resulted in a new set of bylaws with redefined elements of governance and a new membership structure. Taking advantage of the computer age, members of both organizations were kept updated. It was agreed that due to an established tax status, the name of the new organization would remain the Wisconsin Women’s State Golf Association. Then in the fall of 2012, after thorough dissemination of the bylaws of the new organization, membership of both the WWPLGA and WWSGA voted to become one golf association. The first official board meeting of the New Wisconsin Women’s State Golf Association was held November 14, 2012.
Brown Deer Golf Course