Professional Golfers' Association of America

Last updated
Professional Golfers' Association
of America
PGA of America Logo.png
Sport Golf
FoundedApril 10, 1916;103 years ago (1916-04-10)
Founder Rodman Wanamaker
Inaugural season 1916, 103 years ago
CEO Seth Waugh
PresidentSuzy Whaley
MottoServing the Members and Growing the Game
Country United States
Headquarters Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Official website

The Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA of America) is an American organization of golf professionals that was founded in 1916. Consisting of nearly 29,000 men and women members, the PGA of America's undertaking is to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. On December 4, 2018, it was announced that the PGA plans to relocate its headquarters by the summer of 2022 from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida to a planned 600 acre mixed-use development in Frisco, Texas. [1]

Professional golfer golfer with professional status; ordinarily cannot play in amateur tournaments

In the sport of golf, the distinction between amateurs and professionals is rigorously maintained. An amateur who breaches the rules of amateur status may lose their amateur status. A golfer who has lost their amateur status may not play in amateur competitions until amateur status has been reinstated; a professional may not play in amateur tournaments unless the Committee is notified, acknowledges and confirms the participation. It is very difficult for a professional to regain their amateur status; simply agreeing not to take payment for a particular tournament is not enough. A player must apply to the governing body of the sport to have amateur status reinstated.

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida City in Florida

Palm Beach Gardens is a city in Palm Beach County in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 48,452. The city has a number of gated communities. Palm Beach Gardens is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.

Frisco, Texas City in Texas, United States

Frisco is a city in Collin and Denton counties in Texas. It is part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, and is approximately 25 miles (40 km) from both Dallas Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.



The Professional Golfers' Association of America was established on April 10, 1916, but the genesis of the first all-professional golf body in the United States was sparked by a luncheon on January 17, 1916, hosted by Rodman Wanamaker at Wanamaker's Store on Ninth Street and Broadway in New York City. [2] Sixty attendees were invited by the Taplow Club, which was a business group within Wanamaker's Store and led by professional Tom McNamara of Brookline, Massachusetts, an outstanding player and talented salesman who was keenly aware of the welfare of the club professional. [3] McNamara pressed upon Wanamaker that it was prime time to bring U.S. professionals together, and that the publicity generated would be advantageous. Locked into a retail battle with rival A.G. Spalding & Bros. for the sale of golf balls, Wanamaker enthusiastically approved the initiative. He asked McNamara to arrange the luncheon inviting prominent amateur and professional golf leaders from throughout the country. [4]

Rodman Wanamaker American businessman

Lewis Rodman Wanamaker was a department store magnate. He owned stores in Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris, France. He was a patron of the arts, of education, of golf and athletics, of Native American scholarship, and was an investor in early aviation. He served as a Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania in 1916.

Wanamakers department store

John Wanamaker Department Store was one of the first department stores in the United States. Founded by John Wanamaker, it is known for its substantial effects on the development of the retail industry, such as being the first store to use price tags. At its zenith in the early 20th century, Wanamaker's also had a store in New York City at Broadway and Ninth Street. Both employed extremely large staffs. By the end of the 20th century, there were 16 Wanamaker's outlets, but after years of change the chain was bought by Albert Taubman, and added to his previous purchase of Woodward & Lothrop, the Washington, D.C., department store. In 1994, Woodies, as it was known, filed for bankruptcy. The assets of Woodies were purchased by the May Company Department Stores and JCPenney. In 1995, Wanamakers transitioned to Hecht's, one of the May Company brands. In 2006, Macy's Center City became the occupant of the former Philadelphia Wanamaker's Department Store, which is now a National Historic Landmark.

Wanamaker's ninth floor restaurant was chosen as the site for the Monday luncheon, which attracted amateur great Francis Ouimet, noted writer, player and budding architect A.W. Tillinghast; and P.C. Pulver, the New York Evening Sun reporter and one of the first newspaper golf "beat" writers who later served as the first editor of The Professional Golfer, today's PGA Magazine. The guest list also included some of America's top professionals: Alex Smith, James Maiden, Robert White, Jack Mackie and Alex Pirie, as well as others who derived their livelihoods from their jobs at private and public golf facilities. [5]

The Taplow Club was not an eatery or dining establishment. Instead, it was Wanamaker's nickname for his in-store business group. He had taken the name from a palatial estate he leased on Taplow Court some 25 miles outside London. He would later stamp "Taplow" on his store's lower-end, private-label golf balls. Wanamaker, who was not a golfer, was never reported to have attended the luncheon. He delegated the details to McNamara. With golf becoming more and more popular in the U.S., McNamara believed that his fellow professionals could benefit by working together. Wanamaker also believed consolidating professionals would also improve their social standing, having long been treated by club members as second-class citizens.

Toastmaster Joseph H. Appel, vice president of Wanamaker's foundation, presented Wanamaker's offer to conduct a match play championship for professionals, similar to Great Britain's News of the World Tournament. Appel also broached the subject of a national association of professionals.

In addition, Wanamaker would donate a cup and $2,580 in prize money, and would ultimately pay the travel expenses of the competitors. That "cup" became the Rodman Wanamaker Trophy, and the tournament the PGA Championship. The inaugural PGA Championship was held October 10–14, 1916, at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York, and won by English-born Jim Barnes.

PGA Championship golf tournament in the United States

The PGA Championship is an annual golf tournament conducted by the Professional Golfers' Association of America. It is one of the four major championships in professional golf.

1916 PGA Championship golf tournament held in 1916

The 1916 PGA Championship was the first PGA Championship, which is now considered one of golf's major championships. It was held October 10–14 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York, just north of New York City in Westchester County.

Siwanoy Country Club is a country club located in Bronxville, New York. The club hosted the first PGA Championship in 1916, which was won by Jim Barnes.

Former British PGA Secretary James Hepburn suggested that the 32 lowest finishers in the U.S. Open would be paired for match play, following Robert White's contention that the U.S. was too large for section qualifiers. The all-professional match play concept was in direct contrast to the United States Golf Association's medal (stroke) play format. Wanamaker requested that the proposal for the Championship be contingent upon approval by the USGA or other governing bodies.

Tillinghast spoke up and declared that the professionals should be independent of the USGA in handling their own affairs and competitions. Tillinghast's argument held, as a follow-up organizational meeting was planned the following day in Wanamaker's store.

Organizers then formed a seven-person group whose primary task was to define tentative bylaws for the new association. They named Hepburn to chair an organizational committee of professionals that included Maiden, White and Mackie, as well as Gilbert Nicholls, John "Jack" Hobens, and Herbert Strong - none of the group was American-born. This group drafted a constitution, turning to the British PGA for assistance.

The luncheon agenda addressed giving golf professionals say when it came to the organization and staging of tournaments, among other employment issues.

The response to creating such a body was positive, and additional meetings followed. On April 10, 1916, in the second-floor boardroom of the Hotel Martinique on 32nd and Broadway, the Professional Golfers' Association of America was born. There were 78 members elected that day, including 35 PGA Charter Members, of which 28 were born outside the U.S.

The Association began with seven PGA Sections: Metropolitan, Middle States, New England, Southeastern, Central, Northwestern and Pacific. Today, there are 41 PGA Sections nationwide.

From 1934 through November 1961, the PGA of America maintained a "Caucasian-only" membership clause in its bylaws. The clause was removed by amending its constitution. [6] [7] The previous year, it had voted to retain the clause, and had gained the ire of California's attorney general Stanley Mosk, who threatened to shut down the PGA in the state until the clause was removed. The 1962 PGA Championship was scheduled for Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles, but the PGA moved it to Philadelphia at Aronimink. [6]

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Stanley Mosk American judge

Morey Stanley Mosk was an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court for 37 years (1964–2001), and holds the record for the longest-serving justice on that court. Before sitting on the Supreme Court, he served as Attorney General of California and as a trial court judge, among other governmental positions. Mosk was the last Justice of the California Supreme Court to have served in non-judicial elected office before his appointment to the bench. The Los Angeles County Courthouse is named after him.

1962 PGA Championship golf tournament held in 1962

The 1962 PGA Championship was the 44th PGA Championship, played July 19–22 at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, a suburb west of Philadelphia. Gary Player won the first of his two PGA Championships, one stroke ahead of runner-up Bob Goalby, for the third of his nine major titles and the third leg of his career grand slam.

With an increase of revenue in the late 1960s due to expanded television coverage, a dispute arose between the touring professionals and the PGA of America on how to distribute the windfall. The tour players wanted larger purses, where the PGA desired the money to go to the general fund to help grow the game at the local level. [8] Following the final major in July 1968 at the PGA Championship, several leading tour pros voiced their dissatisfaction with the venue and the abundance of club pros in the field. [9] The increased friction resulted in a new entity in August, what would eventually become the PGA Tour. [10] [11] [12] [13] Tournament players formed their own organization, American Professional Golfers, Inc. (APG), independent of the PGA of America. [14] [15] [16] After several months, [17] a compromise was reached in December: the tour players agreed to abolish the APG and form the PGA "Tournament Players Division," a fully autonomous division under the supervision of a new 10-member Tournament Policy Board. [18] [19] [20] [21] The board consisted of four tour players, three PGA of America executives, and three outside members, initially business executives. [19] [20] [22] It hired its own commissioner and was renamed the "PGA Tour" in the mid-1970s.

Mens major golf championships Four prestigious annual tournaments in professional golf

The men's major golf championships, commonly known as the major championships, often referred to simply as the majors, are the four most prestigious annual tournaments in professional golf. In order of play date as of 2019, they are:

1968 PGA Championship golf tournament held in 1968

The 1968 PGA Championship was the 50th PGA Championship played July 18–21 at Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas. Julius Boros, age 48, won the third of his three major titles, one stroke ahead of runners-up Bob Charles and Arnold Palmer. Through 2019, Boros remains the oldest winner of a major championship. The tournament was played in very hot conditions. Palmer had an 8-foot (2.4 m) putt to tie on the 72nd green, but it missed on the high side of the hole. It was the second of his three runner-up finishes at the only major he never won; he also tied for second in 1964 and 1970.

PGA Tour Golf tour in the United States

The PGA Tour is the organizer of the main professional golf tours played primarily by men in the United States and North America. It organizes most of the events on the flagship annual series of tournaments also known as the PGA Tour, as well as PGA Tour Champions and the Korn Ferry Tour, as well as PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, and PGA Tour China. The PGA Tour is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville.

In October 2014, PGA President Ted Bishop responded to Ian Poulter's criticism of the Ryder Cup captaincy of Nick Faldo and Tom Watson by calling Poulter a "lil' girl", which led to Bishop's firing. The PGA called Bishop's statements "unacceptable" and "insensitive gender-based". [23] [24]


The PGA conducts major events including the PGA Championship, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, [25] and the Senior PGA Championship. The PGA conducts more than 30 tournaments for its members and apprentices, including the PGA Professional Championship and the Assistant PGA Professional Championship. It also co-organizes the biennial Ryder Cup, PGA Cup and in 2019, the inaugural Women's PGA Cup.

Growth of the game

In 2003, the PGA of America created the Player Development department within the Association in an endeavor to reach out to new, past and sporadic adult golfers. This is accomplished through the growth, promotion and support of instructional programs and events at PGA Member facilities that support adults and families to play golf. Included in these programs is Play Golf America, instigated in 2004 with the help of the Allied Associations (LPGA, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA Tour, USGA, and others involved in the annual Golf 20/20 Conference).


The PGA is organized into 14 districts and 41 sections.

PGA professionals

To be elected to membership of the PGA, aspirant golf professionals (apprentices) and students go through three levels of education courses, written exams, simulation testing, seminars, and must pass the PGA Playing Ability Test. These men and women have the option to pursue the PGA education through self-study, by the use of accredited PGA Golf Management Universities (currently 18 universities in the United States offer a PGA Golf Management program), [26] or through an accelerated PGA Golf Management Program.

PGA Reach

PGA Reach is the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. The mission of PGA Reach is to positively impact the lives of youth, military, and diverse populations by enabling access to PGA professionals, PGA Sections and the game of golf.

PGA presidents

PGA properties

See also

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