U.S. Senior Challenge making moves in hopes to become an elite senior amateur destination
What started in 1986 as a team event to give seniors a chance to team up with their friends and go head-to-head is becoming one of the most elite fields on the senior amateur circuit. Now with Golfweek joining the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association in tournament operations, the Senior Challenge is primed to take the next step in becoming a show-stopping event in senior amateur golf.
Since its inception, the Senior Challenge has had two champions that have also won the U.S. Senior Amateur, the pinnacle of senior am golf. 1999 U.S. Senior am champion Bill Ploger won the individual title en route to helping Georgia take home the team title. In 2003, Mike Rice won at the Challenge Cup. In 2006, he would go on to win the U.S. Senior Am at The Farm in Georgia.
With USGA champions dotting their history and dozens more who have earned spots in state golf hall of fames, USGA championships and other poignant accolades, the Challenge Cup is looking to make their event a place where the best of the best from across the country duke it out for bragging rights. So what has kept the Senior Challenge from growing?
“Our biggest problem is that captains age,” Challenge Cup president Mike Quinlan told Golfweek. “It became harder and harder to get the same reach that Golfweek has in senior amateur golf.”
Now with Golfweek event staff assisting in tournament operations, the Senior Challenge looks to broaden their reach and welcome players and teams from parts of the country where they haven’t previously had a lot of players.
“The vision we have is to get the four best seniors from as many states as possible,” Quinlan said.
With the event moving from state to state every year, similar to the PGA Championship, the Senior Challenge should have no problem piquing the interests of senior players around the country.
This year’s edition will be hosted at The Canyon Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Both senior and super senior individual champions will be crowned as well as a team champion. When it comes to team titles, Texas holds the lead with seven wins, all of which have come after 1995. Georgia leads the rest of the pack with four while Florida can tie the Peach State if they can go back-to-back.
The 37th Senior Challenge is set for June 5-8 with 13 states represented and features a handful of ranked players in the Golfweek Senior and Super Senior rankings. If you’re interested in playing in the 2024 Senior Challenge at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, head over to the ASCGA for more details.