The Committee for the California Women's Amateur Championships (CWAC) sponsors three tournaments a year. Founded by Helen Lengfeld, CWAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization run by volunteers and dedicated to providing high quality and competitive championships for California's women golfers.
Helen Lengfeld's golfing career started at the tender age of 8, when her mother insisted that she take golf lessons instead of playing baseball with the boys.
By 1912 at the age of 14, she was the youngest member of the now Peninsula Golf and Country Club in San Mateo.
In 1926, Helen won the San Francisco Women’s Championship at Lincoln Park Golf Course. That same year, she helped organize the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California (WGANC) and in 1927 won their women’s championship at Lakeside.
In 1941, while president of the WGANC, Helen started the California Women’s Golf Circuit. The Circuit Tournaments were open to private club and public course golfers alike. Babe Zaharias won the first Circuit Match Play Tournament and the following year Patty Berg won the title.
As a result of these successful circuit tournaments, Helen then started the Pacific Women’s Golf Association (PWGA) for all women golfers, especially those who played public courses. Helen became their first President in 1947 and it rapidly grew into the well-respected organization it is today.
Helen was also active in sponsoring some of the tournaments that ultimately resulted in the Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA). The first was a series of four tournaments in 1951 with a purse of $5,000 to the overall winner. In order to help the lady professionals, she sponsored an LPGA “Gold Coast Tour” with such notable professionals as Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg, Marilyn Smith, Helen Detweiler, Betsy Rawls, Peggy Kirk Bell, Shirley Spork, and many more.
In 1949, Helen published the Golfer magazine, which later became known as the National Golfer.
There is indeed a long list of Helen Lengfeld’s contributions to the game of golf. Notably among them are the three tournaments she founded that ultimately became known as the California Women’s Amateur Championships.
The California Junior Girls State Championship was the first of its kind on the West Coast. It began in 1950 at the Old Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey. In 1974, the tournament was moved to Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach where it continues to be played today.
The California Women’s Amateur Championship was founded in 1967 and played at Pebble Beach Golf Links until 1987 when the Championship was invited to Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, where the tournament remains to this day.
The California Senior Women’s Amateur Championship started in 1979 and has been played at Old Del Monte Golf Course, Laguna Seca, Carmel Valley Ranch, Bayonet and Black Horse, and Corral de Tierra Country Club. Now this annual Championship has found a home at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach.
The CWAC tournaments have many notable Champions who have gone on to win USGA Championships, NCAA Championships, Curtis Cups, Solheim Cups, and LPGA Championships and majors.
In 1982, Helen was elected to the California Golf Hall of Fame and was the only woman honored at that time. Later she was honored by Golf Digest as one of the five most influential women in golf.
Helen died at the age of 88, having dedicated most of her life to the sport and spending much of her personal wealth in support of women’s golf.
For a lifetime she did what she did best — helping people who help people, and starting golfers from the first tee with what she felt was all-important -- "Play well and have fun.”
2015 Helen Lengfeld Award Winner: Mary Thompson
Mary was presented with this award for her significant contribution to women’s amateur golf at the California Women’s Amateur Championship reception held at Quail Lodge, Carmel, CA on August 5, 2015.
Mary is the seventh recipient of this prestigious award.
The CWAC Helen Lengfeld Award is presented to an individual, male or female, CWAC Committee Member or not, who has made a significant contribution to women’s amateur golf.
Who's Who at CWAC
2017 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Senior Championship Chair
Junior Championship Chair
Women's Amateur Chair
Past CWAC Chair
CALIFORNIA SENIOR WOMEN’S AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
May 22-23, 2017
Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Carol Kahn, Chair
Marta Self, Co-Chair
CALIFORNIA JUNIOR GIRLS' STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
June 26-29, 2017
Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Shore Course
Patty Frazer, Chair
Janine Martello, Co-Chair
CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
July 25-29, 2017
Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Joan Caldwell, Chair
Yole Whitlock, Co-Chair
Gretchen Hausmann, Chair
Siri Weber Feeney