Headline: 2016 Massachusetts Amateur Championship Set for July 11-15 at Taconic Golf Club; A Spectator's Complete Guide

For Immediate Release: July 8, 2016

Taconic Golf Club will host the 108th MGA Amateur Championship.

Click the magazine cover below to read a feature story on the host club - including a sneak peak at some of the key holes in Williamstown.

Norton, MA — The #RoadToTaconic will culminate in the playing of the 108th Massachusetts Amateur Championship at Taconic Golf Club on July 11-15.

Over a period of five days in Wiilliamstown, a field of 144 competitors will vie for The Massachusetts Cup, which is awarded to the champion of the MGA's most prestigious and oldest Championship Proper. This event was introduced in 1903 and stands as the third oldest state amateur championship conducted in the United States.


108th MGA Amateur Quick Links


This year’s edition of the MGA Amateur Championship will be one to remember as the event will make a return to Taconic Golf Club which had previously hosted this event in 1959, 1971, 1981 and 2004.

A new champion will also be crowned as Nick McLaughlin – winner of the 2015 Championship Proper – has since turned his attention to the professional circuit and is no longer eligible for amateur competitions.

Since its introduction in 1903, a total of 74 individual competitors have claimed the title as their own.

Notable former champions from the past include Francis Ouimet, Jesse Guilford, Eddie Lowery, Fred Wright, Eddie Lowery and Ted Bishop.

Current touring professional players have also had their names etched on The Massachusetts Cup including current and past PGA Tour and Champions Tour players such as James Driscoll, Rob Oppenheim, Justin Peters, Kevin Johnson and Fran Quinn, Jr.

The championship has also proven to be not only a launch pad for professionals but amateurs as well. After all, a total of 17 competitors who have captured the MGA Amateur Championship have gone on to win the Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year award.

In the age where professional teams dominate headlines, sport enthusiasts should plan to attend one or many days of the MGA Amateur Championship. The weather is scheduled to be pleasant, the golf course is second to none, the competition will be superior and the price of entry is zero.

Here is more information to help competitors and spectators (from near and far) prepare for what should be a very special Championship Proper.

Spectator Amenities

  • Admission throughout the five-day event is free of charge for the general public.
  • This is a unique opportunity for golf enthusiasts to visit Taconic Golf Club and walk the grounds of this historic layout that was originally designed in 1927 by Wayne Stiles of Stiles & Van Cleek and renovated in 2009 by renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse of Hanse Golf Course Design, Inc.  
  • To help spectators plan ahead, starting times for Round 1 and Round 2 are now available (see links to the right) as well as a special Taconic Golf Club Program Guide.
  • To view an enlarged view of the course map at Taconic GC, click here.
  • A scoreboard area will be set up outside of the clubhouse so that all spectators and players can follow all of the action. There will also be an electronic scoreboard set up inside the clubhouse.
  • Food and Beverage will be available each day in the clubhouse (Cash or Credit) and The Halfway House (Cash Only).
  • Parking will be available on club property. Please limit the number of cars between competitors, caddies, and spectators.
  • Restrooms are available in the clubhouse.
  • Golf carts are available for rules officials only. If you need transportation or require special attention, please see the MGA's Mobility Impaired Spectator Cart Policy
  • Here is a summary of the ways you can keep track of all the action throughout the five-day event.
    • MGAlinks.org
      • Stroke Play: Full-field results, including 9-hole splits and hole-by-hole scores on Monday & Tuesday
      • Match Play: 3-hole splits on Wednesday; hole-by-hole scores on Thursday & Friday
      • Daily summaries, interviews event news and notes
      • Photo galleries - courtesy of David Colt - will be posted on Monday and Wednesday
      • Video highlights - courtesy of Don Coyne - will be posted following play on Thursday and Friday.
    • Social Media - be sure to tag @mgalinks and use the hashtag of #MassAm

Amateur Resources

An event that has been contested since 1903 is rich in history and memorable moments. Here are helpful resources about the current and past events.

About the MGA Amateur Championship

This year marks the 108th playing of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. The first MGA Amateur, played in 1903 at Myopia Hunt Club, was conducted for a total of 54 golfers. The championship was held every year except for 1917 and 1918 and 1942-45 due to WWI and WWII, respectively.

The Massachusetts Amateur Championship was first contested in 1903 and is the third oldest state amateur championship in the United States behind only the Golf Association of Philadelphia (114 years) and The Metropolitan Golf Association (112 years).

Eligibility: Entries are open to amateur golfers who hold membership in an MGA member club and have an up-to-date MGA/USGA GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 4.4 (as determined by the May 1, 2016 Handicap Revision), or who have completed their handicap certification.

Prizes: The Massachusetts Cup and a gold medal will be presented to the Champion. Merchandise certificates will be awarded to the 32 Match Play Qualifiers and are only redeemable at the host site.

Entries: The MGA accepted 682 entries for the 2016 Massachusetts Amateur Championship. The most entries received in the past decade was 887 in 2010 when the championship was hosted at The Country Club. Last year, the MGA accepted a total of 737 entries when the Championship Proper was held at Oak Hill Country Club.

Sectional Qualifying: Sectional qualifying, played over 18 holes, was conducted at 10 sites across the state between June 1 to June 21. CLICK HERE for highlights from each qualifying site.

Championship Field: The starting field of 144 golfers will be cut after 36 holes to the low 32 scorers who will advance to Match Play on July 13. A tie for the final qualifying places shall be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff.

Schedule of Play: Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled each day from Monday, July 11, through Tuesday, July 12. A tie for the final qualifying places shall be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff.

Match Play: A general numeric draw will be used. For purposes of determining places in the draw, ties in qualifying rounds shall be decided by the order in which scores are returned, except that places of those participating in a play-off shall be determined by performance in the play-off and if necessary a blind draw.

  • Round of 32 (AM) - July 13
  • Round of 16 (PM) - July 13
  • Quarterfinals (AM) - July 14
  • Semifinals (PM) - July 14
  • Final Round (AM/PM) - July 15 (36 Holes)

In the event of a tied match, (a) the winner shall be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole play-off, and (b) the stipulated round is deemed to extend to as many holes as are required for a match to be won.

A Look Back at 2016: During what was his final summer season as an amateur competitor, Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner GC) captured the 107th MGA Amateur Championship with a 4 and 3 victory over Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC). Over a period of five days at Oak Hill Country Club, McLaughlin was dominating as he earned stroke-play medalist honors by four strokes and then methodically worked his way through the match-play bracket as the top seed to eventually capture the title on the final day. Read More

Past Champions in the Field: The following competitors have been victorious at this event in the past and are a part of the 2016 Championship Proper field.

  • 2014 - John Kelly
  • 2011 - Ryan Riley
  • 2008 & 2010 - John Hadges
  • 2006 - Benjamin Spitz
  • 2004 & 2005 - Frank Vana Jr.

Just the (2016 MGA Amateur) Facts

Most Victories: 6 (Frederick J. Wright, Jr. - 1920, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1938)

Most Times as a Host Club: 10 (The Country Club & Brae Burn Country Club)

Last Competitor to Defend: Mike Calef (2012-13)

Youngest Players to Win: Ted Adams & James Driscoll (Adams – 1939; Driscoll – 1996… both were 18 years old)

Oldest Players to Win: Ed Fletcher (53 years old in 1995); Ted Bishop (48 years old in 1961)

Largest Age Differential Between Finalists: 39 years (1956 - Fred Wright (58) and Charles Volpone (19)).

Longest Final Match: 40 holes in 1993 (Flynt Lincoln def. Jason Kissell at Essex County Club)

Shortest Final Match: 25 holes in 1922 (Francis Ouimet def. Clark Hodder, 12 and 11, at Kernwood Country Club)

Most Appearances in Championship Proper: 31 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1984-85; 1988-2016))

Most Consecutive Appearances in Match Play: 22 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1991-2012)

Most Appearances in Match Play: 25 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1985, 1988, 1991-2012; 2015))

Average Age of the 2016 Field: 29.5

Most Common Name in the 2016 Field: Matt (8)

Youngest Player In the 2016 Field: Jack O’Donnell (14)

Oldest Player In the 2016 Field: Cy Kilgore (62)

Total Number of MGA Member Clubs Represented: 85

Most Represented MGA Member Clubs: Thorny Lea GC (8), Plymouth CC (5), Longmeadow CC (4), Crumpin-Fox Club (4), Haverhill CC (4), Needham GC (3), Marlborough CC (3), Indian Ridge CC (3), Hyannis GC (3), Dedham C &PC (3), Framingham CC (3), George Wright GC (3), GreatHorse (3), Harmen GC (3)

Total Number of Towns Represented: 90

Most Towns Represented: Boston (9), Needham (5), Andover (4), Duxbury (4), Milton (4), Framingham (3), Hanover (3), Hingham (3), Westwood (3), Wilbraham (3)

Geographic Breakdown: Greater Boston-37; South Shore-36; Greater Springfield-21; Greater Worcester-20; North Shore-19; Cape Cod-7; Berkshires-3; Non Real Estate-1

Site Information

About Taconic Golf Club: Located in Williamstown on land owned by Williams College, Taconic is a semiprivate club operated by an independent board of directors. The club offers play by non-members during certain hours. CLICK HERE to read an article on the club's history.

In addition, see below for excerpts from the Taconic "primer" that appeared in the recently-released summer issue of MassGolfer magazine.

The official club history was recorded by John English, a 1932 Williams graduate and three-year member of its golf team. He later spent 20+ years working as a USGA
executive before returning to Williams in 1960 as its alumni director; he served some terms as Taconic’s secretary and president and also as an MGA president. One nugget derived from his research is the fact that “three men with three tomato cans” gave birth to the Taconic Golf Club in 1896.

The club was also formally established later in 1896… the first true seven holes were laid out within a few weeks. One of those holes, the present 17th, is Taconic’s oldest and one of the oldest extant holes in the country. Williamstown was, in prehistoric times, a lake bed carved by glaciers, creating a nearly impervious layer of clay upon which was deposited a thick layer of loam. This natural state contributes to Taconic’s lush fairways, greens and rough.

Boston-born Wayne Stiles of Stiles & Van Kleek, a Boston firm, was commissioned to design and construct an 18-hole course in 1927. The layout is generally viewed
as the most highly-regarded of his 76 courses that still exist. An avid player, Stiles was also a five-time qualifier (1909, ’11, ’13, ’14 and ’15) in the MGA Amateur.

In 2008, renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse of Hanse Golf Course Design Inc. was retained by Taconic for a multi-million dollar renovation project, which was completed in the summer of 2009. Hanse - whose Bay State renovation work also includes TPC Boston, The Kittansett Club and The Country Club - recently designed the 2016 Summer Olympics course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (men will compete August 11–14 and women August 17–20).

The Williams College nickname ‘Ephs‘ (rhymes with ‘chiefs’) is a shortened form of the name of Ephraim Williams, the college’s founder. The college’s sports teams’ colors are purple and gold while the Ephs’ mascot is a purple cow. The men’s golf team is coached by Taconic head golf professional Josh Hillman.

In 2014, Georgiana Salant of the Ephs’ women’s golf team was the NCAA Division III individual champion; in 2015, the Ephs’ women’s team captured the NCAA Division III Championship - the first national title in the program’s 11th year of existence. Tomas Adalsteinsson recently was named the women’s team new coach.

Taconic has hosted three different USGA national championships - the 1956 U.S. Junior Amateur (where 16-year-old Jack Nicklaus made a hole-in-one on the 175-yard 14th during a practice round), the 1963 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 1996 U.S. Senior Amateur. Over the years, the course regularly has been ranked highly in numerous national publication ‘best lists’ (‘best you can play,’ ‘most-scenic,’ ‘most well-maintained,’ et al.).

Taconic is hosting the MGA Amateur for a fifth time. Past winners on this layout include John Tosca, Jr. (1959); Tracy Mehr (1971); Steven Tasho (1981); and, lastly,
Frank Vana, Jr. (2004) - the first MGA Amateur title for the 2016 Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame inductee.

Par and Yardage: Taconic Golf Club will be set up at 6,808 yards and will play to a par of 35-36–71.



































































MassGolfHall & MGA Amateur

Frederick J. Wright won the MGA Amateur Championship a record seven times - including four straight seasons from 1928-31 - in the span of 19 years. That mark has now stood for more than 75 years. He was 17 when he won his first title and advanced to match play a total of 22 times in his career. He won the MGA Amateur in 1920, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1938, finished as a semifinalist again in 1927 and 1937 and was the medalist four times. In 1956, Wright - at the age of 57 - advanced through to the final match where he was defeated by 19-year-old Charlie Volpone. Wright remains the oldest finalist in MGA Amateur annals. It is important to note that he qualified for match play again in 1957 and 1958.

Francis Ouimet was crowned MGA Amateur Champion a total of six times - 1913, 1914, 1915,1919, 1922 and 1925. After winning the 1913 MGA Amateur Championship, Ouimet was inspired to enter the U.S. Open Championship which set the stage for his improbable playoff victory over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Country Club.

Ted Bishop advanced to match play from 1936-39 before capturing his first of three MGA Amateur titles in 1940 at Salem Country Club. He would go on to capture the title again in 1946 and then in 1961 at Oak Hill Country Club where - at the age of 48 - he was that event's oldest champion at the time.

Frank Vana, Jr., who will be inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame in October, is a two-time MGA Amateur champion as he won this event in 2004 and 2005. His first such victory came at Taconic Golf Club where he defeated Mike Cole in the final match. During that run to the title, Vana made a memorable chip in during match play on Taconic's 17th hole to secure a 2 and 1 victory over Jim Renner, who is currently competing on the Web.com Tour.

MGA Noteworthy

  • Championship Proper Information: Starting times for Round 1 & 2 and the Player Information Sheet are now available. See links below.
  • Alternate Alert: A list of alternates by rank is now available. See links below.
  • Social Media: Keep track of the event online and via social media (#MassAmateur).

Tournament Links


Starting Times:


Player Information:

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Championship Information:

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