PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2016) -- The PGA of America, one of the world’s largest sports organizations, begins a 100-day celebration of its Centennial on Jan. 26, at the golf industry’s largest forum, the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
Founded April 10, 1916, in New York City, as the first nationwide all-professional golf association, the PGA of America has grown from its original 78 members to more than 28,000 men and women professionals today. Thanks to the work of these professionals, the PGA is recognized as the industry leader in growing participation in a game that engages millions worldwide.
“We celebrate our Association’s remarkable first century by focusing on our most important asset – PGA Professionals and the exceptional work they do in the business, teaching and playing of the game, all to elevate the enjoyment of golf,” said PGA President Derek Sprague. “Throughout this Centennial year, the PGA will share the passion and pride of PGA Professionals along with heartwarming stories of inspiration. Together, our Association will also look forward to the next 100 years, improving education and employment opportunities for our members and nurturing the next generation of golfers.”
The PGA Centennial includes the debut of #ThxPGAPro, a grass-roots platform where golfers from all levels of the game can share stories about and express gratitude for their own PGA Professional; how they mentored and influenced their lives, through personalized video, photos and messages that are posted on ThxPGAPro.com. Tributes also can be made through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtag #thxpgapro. While the Centennial celebration is focused on 100 days, #ThxPGAPro campaign will continue throughout 2016.
The campaign includes public service announcements to be broadcast on NBC, CBS, Golf Channel, Turner and other broadcast partners, as well as social media outlets. To view, please visit thxpgapro.com.
Among other related activities at the PGA Merchandise Show:
• The PGA Centennial opens with a Ceremonial Tee Shot on Demo Day, Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Florida. Covered by Golf Channel on “Morning Drive,” the ceremony features PGA of America officers and representatives from the PGA’s 41 Sections, along with 41 PGA Junior League Golf participants from Greater Orlando.
• On Wednesday, Jan. 27, attendees at the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show will be encouraged to visit the central lobby where a “Walk through History” exhibit will focus on the personalities and significant events that shaped the PGA’s first century. Later that evening, a special reception in celebration of the PGA’s Centennial will be held in the Orange County Convention Center for all attending PGA Professionals and invited guests.
• The PGA Section Spotlight Series debuts Jan. 27, highlighting a different PGA Section for 41 days on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” program, click here for schedule.
Each profile features a “Get to Know the PGA Section” fact box and the Section’s signature program, which focuses on charitable, social and educational endeavors. The Section Spotlight Series begins with the North Florida PGA’s inspiring “Putting on Smiles” program, where PGA members give instruction to patients in a network of children’s hospitals. The series concludes May 4 with the Metropolitan PGA Section’s Met PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program, which is conducted at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for the Montrose VA.
• PGA Centennial: Celebrating the History of the Golf Professional is a keepsake coffee-table-sized book written by PGA Master Professional Billy Dettlaff and edited by John Steinbreder. The official Centennial commemorative chronicles, as never before, the multi-faceted skills that have become synonymous with the PGA Professional. The PGA Centennial book is available by visiting pga.com/book.
• PGA Instruction Day, May 4 - The PGA Centennial 100-day celebration culminates at six sites nationwide (to be announced at a later date) that will host clinics featuring PGA Professional instructors. Golf Channel will transform each clinic into a live television event.