The R&A - Working for Golf


R&A Boys Amateur Championship

The R&A Boys Amateur Championship was introduced in 1921 for the under-16 age group. For the first two years it was played at Royal Ascot, but when the club dissolved in 1923, two of its founders, D.M. Mathieson and Colonel Thomas South continued to run the event.

In 1923, the age limit was changed to under 18. Today, entrants must be under the age of 18 at 00.00 hours on January 1 of the year of competition.

It was recommended in 1949 that The R&A should take on the responsibility of the event and that by doing so it would be acting 'in the best interest and traditions of the game'.

The venue for the first R&A Boys Amateur Championship to be played under the administration of The R&A was the Old Course, St Andrews. It generated a profit of £300. A sub-committee ran the event until 1952, when it was finally handed over to the Championship Committee.

Since 1952, a prize has been presented to the best performing 16-year-old. This, the Peter Garner Bowl, commemorates the death of a competitor who was killed in a road accident while returning from the 1951 championship.

One outstanding player who enjoyed early success in the R&A Boys Amateur Championship was Sir Michael Bonallack. He won in 1952, and went on to win the Amateur Championship in 1961, 1965, 1968, 1969 and 1970.

Professionals who won the title earlier in their careers include Ronan Rafferty (1979), Jose Maria Olazabal (1983) and more recently, Sergio Garcia (1997).

In 2001, Pablo Martin secured Spain's sixth victory since the championship began, beating fellow countryman Rafael Cabrera. This was only the second time that neither of the finalists hailed from the home countries; the first was in 1992, when Sweden dominated the final.