With championship golf almost an ingrained part of the fabric of Sunnehanna Country Club, interest and momentum grew among its membership to have championship golf return to the club.
In late 1953, then club President, Charles Kunkle, Jr, Howard Picking and several members’ intent on returning amateur golf to the club proposed a new tournament format with the following features:
• 72 holes of medal play with the best amateur players
• An affair which could be attended by all members as a social event
• A tournament where participant’s wives were encouraged to come
• The hospitality of the members would be remembered longer than the scores of the participants
After a three-year hiatus, the Board granted permission to sponsor the Sunnehanna Amateur.
The tournament became the first 72-hole stroke play competition for amateurs in the United States. Until then, the format adhered to had been match play. The success of the rapidly growing professional tour, which was mainly 72 holes of stroke play, with the exception being the annual match play championship of the National Professional Golf Association (PGA), provided greater public interest and acceptance of stroke play tournaments. It particularly appealed to the players because it assured four days of play.