April 10, 1916: The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) is founded. Rodman Wanamaker invited leading amateurs as well as professional golfers to a luncheon at the Taplow Club in New York City on January 16 and proposed the idea of creating a professional association. Wanamaker, a department store owner, felt it would increase sales of golf equipment. He also mentioned the need for a professional tournament and offered to fund the event with $2,500 (≈ $53,000 in 2009 USD) for trophies and medals.
On this date, the PGA began with 35 charter members. The first PGA Annual Meeting was held June 26 at Hotel Radisson in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the first PGA Championship held from October 10 to 14 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. James M. Barnes won the tournament by one stroke and took the purse of $2,850 ($60,700 in 2009 USD) plus the trophy, all supplied by Wanamaker. The US Golf Association permitted The PGA to select the host club for the 1917 US Open. In 1917, the PGA Championship was cancelled due to World War I. Championships resumed in 1919 with Barnes once again taking the title.
Today’s PGA is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The 28,000+ men and women members make it the world’s largest working sports organization. PGA members are “the experts in the game and business of golf” and as such promote standards and interest in the game. To become a member of the PGA, there are three levels of educational coursework (over 600 hours), written exams, simulated testing, seminars, and passing of the PGA Playing Ability Test that must be undertaken.
There are several Championships sponsored by the PGA: the PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship, PGA Grand Slam of Golf, and the Ryder cup. There are also more than 30 tournaments yearly for members and apprentices. The PGA also has a Foundation working since 1954. They supply funds for golf instruction as well as community golf projects. They are concerned with research and education and are helping to make the game available to all through their philanthropy.
Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five. – John Updike
Golf is like a love affair. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart. – Arthur Daley
If profanity had an influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is. – Horace G. Hutchinson
The reason the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can’t see him laughing. – Phyllis Diller
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