PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The countdown to the Centennial celebration of The Professional Golfers' Association of America, the world's largest sports organization, reaches a milestone tomorrow with The PGA celebrating its 97th anniversary as a leader of the multi-billion dollar golf industry.
On April 10, 1916, a group of 78 founding members, with a newly framed Constitution and by-laws in place, created The PGA of America in a boardroom on the second floor of the Hotel Martinique (now the Radisson Martinique on Broadway), in New York City. PGA Professional Robert White, of Wykagyl Country Club, in New Rochelle, N.Y., was elected as the Association's first president on June 26, 1916.
The idea to form an organization of golf professionals was proposed just a few months and several blocks south of Broadway by department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker during a luncheon at the Taplow Club in the former Wanamaker Store. Attendees at the luncheon included the likes of Walter Hagen, Francis Ouimet and A.W. Tillinghast. Wanamaker would also donate the iconic trophy that bears his name, medals and prize money to launch the inaugural PGA Championship at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., Oct. 10-14, 1916.
Since its historic founding, The PGA has developed into an organization of 27,000 men and women Professionals who are recognized as "The Experts in the Game and Business of Golf."
"Many things have changed in 97 years, but one thing remains a constant," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop, the 38th PGA Professional to hold the highest office in the Association. "PGA Professionals go to work every day to make the game more enjoyable for our customers and those we serve. No one has had a better pulse on the amateur player than PGA Professionals. That was true 97 years ago and it has never been more evident than it is today!"
By developing world-class championships and innovative programs to grow the game, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in golf, their desire to play more golf and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. Through a network of 41 Section offices, the Association maintains a total commitment to its Professionals, helping the membership meet the demands of today's marketplace and addressing issues that are vital to the golf industry.
From Jim Barnes in 1916 to Rory McIlroy in 2012, the PGA Championship has crowned many of the greatest golfers in the game at The Season's Final Major. The Association also stages some of the game's premier events including: the Ryder Cup, with teams from the United States and Europe competing every other year in one of the greatest spectacles in all of sport; the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, the most historic and prestigious event in senior golf; the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the most difficult event to qualify for in all of golf; and the PGA Professional National Championship, the showcase event for PGA Club Professionals.
About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.