The New England Golf Association ®, established in 1926, is a 501(c)3 amateur golf organization comprised of leaders from the six New England golf associations – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The first New England Amateur was conducted in 1926 at Rhode Island Country Club and was won by Frank C. Newton of Massachusetts. The Championship has been held annually since then, with a four-year hiatus during WWII from 1942 - 1945. Over the years, the Championship has been won by some of New England Golf's greats including Brad Faxon, Bill Andrade, James Dirscoll, and Jim Renner. The event was contested as a Match Play Championship until 1971, when the format was changed to current model of 72-holes of Stroke Play.
In 1967, the New England Junior Amateur Invitational was added to the tournament rotation. The event invites the top seven boys from each of the six New England states to compete in an individual and team competition while honoring the players for the accomplishment of making the team. While five of the six states have on the event at least once, the recent history has seen Massachusetts and Connecticut dominate the competition. In the past fifteen years, one of those two states has taken the title home thirteen times. In 2019, the NEGA added a girls junior division to Championship, with the top 3 girls from each state being invited to participate. Team Rhode Island took home a decisive victory in the inaugural year, led by an impressive medalist performance from Allison Paik.
As the core NEGA golfers grew in age and more young players began to play in the New England Amateur, the need arose for the New England Senior Amateur. In 1998, the association added the New England Senior Amateur Championship. The innagural event was held at Metacomet Country Club in Rhode Island where Ed Fletcher took home the victory. After nine years of the Championship, Mark Plummer became the first player to win the Amateur and Senior Amateur in a career, when the two-time Amateur Champion (1979, 1994) took home the 10th New England Senior Amateur in 2007. Plummer, a legend of golf in Maine and New England, was a semifinalist in the 1995 U.S. Amateur before bowing out to eventual champion, Tiger Woods.
In 2019, the NEGA once again saw an opportunity to expand their Championship offerings by adding a Women's Amateur Championship. After having numerous discussions with leadership from the New England Women's Golf Association, it was announced in July of 2019 that the NEGA would coduct and administer the New England Women's Amateur starting in 2020. Established in 1956 by Cris Eaton of Massachusetts, the NEWGA Championship, to be known as the New England Women’s Amateur Championship moving forward, is an elite amateur women’s golf event in New England that has seen notable past champions and participants including Pat Bradley, Tara Joy-Connelly, Pippy Rooney, Jane Blalock, Ann Marie Tobin, Joanne Carner, and Pam Kuong, and Shannon Johnson The inaugural Championship was conducted the year after its formation in 1957, taking place at Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford, Connecticut and was won by Joanne Goodwin, a two-time champion.
The NEGA operated as an organization solely governed and operated by volunteers for over eighty years, and over those years the association was shaped by incredible individuals. Undoubtedly, no individual shaped the New England Golf Association more than Harry B. McCracken, Jr. McCracken, who served as Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the NEGA from 1987 until his passing in October of 2019 helped shape the NEGA into the association it is today. McCracken, for whom the New England Amateur Champion trophy is named for, shaped the NEGA for over thirty years, while continuing his dedication to Mass Golf, the USGA, and Charles River Country Club. McCracken was honored by the USGA twice, winning the 1995 USGA Ike Granger Award and the 2007 USGA Joe Dye Award. In 2005, the New England Section of the PGA honored McCracken with the George S. Wemyss Award. In 2017, at his home club of Charles River Country Club, Mass Golf announced that the stroke play medalist of the Massachusetts Amateur would receive the Harry B. McCracken stroke play medalist award.
At an age when most volunteers cut back, McCracken just kept moving forward, working tirelessly to conduct qualifying events for the USGA, Mass Golf and the NEGA. Harry would put 25,000 to 35,000 miles on his car annually, traveling the state and the region conducting qualifying events. . . NEGA events have been known regionally for having a robust group of knowledgeable rules officials. This group of officials would travel anywhere in the region with Harry to support the work that he provided. He cultivated a large group of volunteers that remains loyal and active to this day.