The U.S. Senior Amateur was inaugurated in 1955. Entries were open to golfers age 55 and over who had a Handicap Index not exceeding 10. The addition of the U.S. Senior Amateur gave the USGA twice as many championships as it had conducted before World War II, when there were just four: the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, and U.S. Women’s Amateur, all started in 1895, and U.S. Amateur Public Links (1922). From World War II through 1955, the USGA added four championships: the U.S. Junior Amateur (1948), U.S. Girls’ Junior (1949), U.S. Women’s Open (1953) and U.S. Senior Amateur (1955). The USGA now conducts 13 national championships, 10 of which are exclusively for amateurs.
The first U.S. Senior Amateur, at Belle Meade Country Club, in Nashville, Tenn., received 370 entries from 30 states and the District of Columbia. J. Wood Platt, 56, an eight-time Philadelphia Amateur champion, defeated George Studinger, of San Francisco, Calif., 5 and 4 in the final.
In 1959, J. Clark Espie, who had won in 1957, became the U.S. Senior Amateur’s first two-time champion. Lewis W. Oehmig, a record six-time finalist, is the only three-time champion (1972, 1976, 1985). Oehmig is also credited as the oldest U.S. Senior Amateur champion, winning the title in 1985 at age 69.
A total of 14 players have won the championship multiple times, most recently Paul Simson (2010, 2012). Three players have won the championship in consecutive years, most recently William C. Campbell in 1979 and 1980.