- Golfer Benefits
NORTON, Massachusetts – Beginning this year, the winners of select Mass Golf Championships will receive more than just local prizes and their spot in history within these storied events.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced a series of changes to its championship qualifying process, including exemptions for future champions in statewide championships this year. The winners of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship and Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship will earn exemptions into the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur, respectively, and the victors of the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship and Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship will earn exemptions for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur, respectively.
Over the past three years, those four Mass Golf state amateur championships boast a World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) in the top half among all Amateur Golf Associations in the country, including the fifth highest junior state amateur.
According to the USGA, all events will be evaluated each fall for the following year, utilizing the three-year rolling average of their World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) power ranking. Events that become WAGR ranked in 2024 will have the option to meet the respective threshold for an exemption into 2025 USGA championships.
The qualifying process for the U.S. Amateur is going to change starting in 2024. It will be mirrored after the U.S. Open qualifying process where there will be two stages of qualifying. They are commonly referred to as Local Qualifying and Final Qualifying. Mass Golf will host one of 45 Local Qualifying events on July 1 at Wollaston Golf Club and will be one of 19 nationwide to host Final Qualifying — July 22 at Concord Country Club.
In recent years, certain USGA Qualifying events in Massachusetts have been the first in the nation to sell out.
“It’s an honor to be one of the few states to host both rounds of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur,” said Greg Howell, Mass Golf’s Assistant Director of Rules & Competitions. “I think it speaks to both the growing popularity of qualifying events in Massachusetts and the talented fields that compete here.”
Also starting in 2024, the winner of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship will receive a full exemption into the U.S. Amateur Championship. In 2025, the exempt player will also move directly to Final Qualifying, bypassing the Local Qualifying stage.
Because the field strength reaches certain ranking criteria, all semifinalists (final four) in the 2024 Massachusetts Amateur will also be exempt from Local Qualifying in 2025.
The most recent two winners of the Mass Women’s Amateur — Rebecca Skoler and Morgan Smith — have both represented Mass Golf on the national stage. If either they or others won again this year, they would earn a spot in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship the following year at Bandon Dunes in Oregon.
Smith and her younger sister Molly qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur this past year at Bel-Air Country Club (CA), missing the cut in stroke play by three and two strokes, respectively.
Similar to the Massachusetts Amateur, the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur has been recognized by the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), therefore the winner would be exempt from having to qualify the following year. (Only one round of qualifying for U.S. Women’s Amateur).
The date and location for 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur Qualifying in Massachusetts will be announced at a later date.
Changes to the other qualifying structures include:
There will also be new incentives for junior-level golfers beginning this year. Lead among is that the winners of the Mass Junior Amateur and Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur will earn an exemption into the 2025 playing of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship & U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, respectively.
Last month, Mass Golf announced that Bass River and Bayberry Hills will host both its junior amateur championships simultaneously this summer, using an identical format of stroke play and match play.
Mass Golf will continue to host qualifying for these junior events in 2024, with both scheduled for July 17 at The Captains Golf Course in Brewster.
Other qualifying structure changes include:
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport.
With a community made up of over 120,000 golf enthusiasts and over 360 member clubs, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Members enjoy the benefits of handicapping, engaging golf content, course rating and scoring services along with the opportunity to compete in an array of events for golfers of all ages and abilities.