Charter Members at Earlington GCC in 1927

The Washington State Women's Golf Association was established in 1922 by the following charter member clubs:

The elected officers in 1922:

President: Mrs. W.J. Pattereson, Grays Harbor CC
Vice President: Mrs. D.H. Moss, Seattle GC
Secretary: Mrs. M.L. Watson, Grays Harbor CC
Treasurer: Mrs. R.W. Thomas, Everett GCC

History of the Washington State Womens' Golf Association

At the turn of the 20th century golf was becoming more and more popular as a sport that included camaraderie, competition and relaxation. Each region of the country had some form of a recognized golf association that organized tournament golf for both men and women. For example, the United States Golf Association was founded in 1894 and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association was formed in 1899. By 1911, golf associations specific to fostering womens' golf were recognized and those included the Womens' Western Golf Association; Womens' Southern Golf Association; and Womens' Eastern Golf Association. The WSWGA was not far behind this trend as outlined in the copied letter below written by Mrs. Tucker, trustee member from Grays Harbor Country Club on the eve of the 50th championship anniversary dated July 1972.

"... Mr. Patterson, founder of Hayes and Hayes Bank, bought a ranch in 1911... developed the land as Grays Harbor Golf Club. Mrs. Patterson, president of thebank, and an aggressive feminist, urged the women of the state to have their own tournament. By 1920, exchange matches between women from various clubs throughout the state had a reputation for being the most united group of players in the Northwest. Golf in the area had become very popular and there were more entries in the Pacific Northwest Amateur at Waverly Golf Club, Portland in 1921 than any other tournament in the United States that year. On the wave of this enthusiasm for golf and much to the chagrin of then Seattle Post-Intelligencer Athletic Editor Mr. Rose, who felt that a tournament for women only would not be successful, all women golfers in the state were invited to play at Grays Harbor GC in 1922 and the Washington State Womens' Golf Association was born. Mrs. Patterson defeated Mrs. Young in the inaugural event. The following year Spokane GC hosted the championship tournament..."

By 1933, the women from the public course sector developed a golf organization for those players and from that time the Washington State Womens' Golf Association's membership became solely for the women members of the state's private golf clubs. The WSWGA's State Championship is the oldest state championship for women in Washington and one of the longest running match play competitions, not only in the state, but also in the region. There have been many worthy and storied champions of the WSWGA. These women have used their championships as stringboards to win USGA tournaments, British Amateur championships, collegiate championships, Womens' Western and Trans titles, as well as participate as Curtis Cup Team members, World Team members and participate on the Golf Channel's Big Break.

Member Country Clubs and WSWGA Regions

North: Bellingham, Everett, Kitsap, Mill Creek, Skagit, Useless Bay Metro NW: Broadmoor, Glen Acres, Inglewood, Rainier, Sand Point, Seattle, Wing Point Metro NE: Bear Creek, Fairwood, Glendale, Meridian Valley, Overlake, Sahalee Metro S: Canterwood, Fircrest, Linden, Tacoma, Twin Lakes Central: Lakeview, Wenatchee, Yakima, Yakima Elks Southwest: Grays Harbor, Longview, Olympia Southeast: Meadow Springs, Walla Walla

How did the Paula Nelson Trophy come to be?

During the WSWGA State Championship, the 3 low net scores from each club are combined. The club with the lowest combined net score is that year's winner of the perpetual Paula Nelson Trophy. In the 1940s, Mrs. Paula Nelson of Manito Golf Club donated a trophy to the tournament to give the players additional incentive to play well on qualifying day and represent their clubs in a friendly competitive spirit. To this day, winning the Paula Nelson Trophy is a big accomplishment for the winning club!

Winners of the Paula Nelson Trophy:

 Inglewood: 1949, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1966, 1981
Rainier: 1950, 1972, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Sand Point: 1952, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1968, 1997
Sahalee: 1975, 1977, 1982
Glendale: 1988, 1994
Glen Acres: 1995, 2004
Royal Oaks: 1991, 1992
Walla Walla: 1951, 1967
Spokane: 1958, 1980
Tacoma: 1948, 1974
Clarkston: 1954, 1978
Overlake: 1962, 1990, 2022
Everett: 1956, 1983
Fircrest: 1958, 1984
Yakima Elks: 1973, 2002
Wenatchee: 1965, 1993
Longview: 1971, 2000
Kitsap: 1969, 1998
Meadow Springs: 1999
Bellingham: 1976
Manito: 1964
Twin Lakes: 2005
Moses Lake: 1970
Oakbrook: 1979
Mill Creek: 1996
Skagit: 2010
Canterwood: 2021 (missing years 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989)

Who was Elizabeth Dwan?

Elizabeth Dwan was one of the original organizers of the Seattle Women's Golf Association and its first president in 1927 as a charter member of Rainier Golf and Country Club. She was a president of the WSWGA and the first vice president of the Western Women's Golf Association from Washington State. She devoted over two decades of volunteer service for the betterment of competitive women's golf. In her professional life, Elizabeth was a teacher at Broadway High School in Seattle. In January 1941, she fell near her home and fractured her hip. After convalescing at a local hospital, she returned to her home to pass away unexpectedly of an embolism on February 6, 1941.

Click the link below to view WSWGA Past President Ann Swanson's speech about the history of the WSWGA.