In February, the Northern California PGA Section celebrated a centennial of making impactful strides to growing the game of golf. Six months later, its membership reached yet another milestone at TPC Harding Park.
That was as the host Section for the 2020 PGA Championship, the first PGA of America-sanctioned major conducted in Northern California since 1977 at Pebble Beach.
“We've been excited about this for about five years,” said NCPGA Section President Dede Moriarty. “The Section officers have attended the last two PGA Championships, and the whole Section has been excited. It's a really big deal to have the PGA Championship at a public golf course in your Section.”
More than 80 Section volunteers were poised to support the Practice Range and Section Hospitality chalet at Harding Park. But the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed those initiatives.
“I share everybody's disappointment that they can't be here, but they're here in spirit, and just wish everybody could be here,” said Moriarty, a PGA Teaching Professional in her 15th season at Presidio Golf Course, just six miles north of Harding Park.
Moriarty, the second female NCPGA president in the 100-year history of the Section, has special ties to Harding Park.
“I grew up about a stone's throw from here. I could walk here from the house I grew up in, and I started hitting balls here when I was about 10 years old,” she said. “And sometime after that, I took my dad's clubs and took my little pull cart and walked across the bridge and walked into the pro shop and said, ‘Hey, can somebody give me some golf lessons?’”
Moriarty said Harding Park has not changed much through the years, except for less trees and moving the practice range to a new location.
“It’s a neighborhood place, and I think it's really special to the City of San Francisco,” said Moriarty. “So we're just super grateful that we can have it.”
The Northern California PGA Section has 1,100 Members and Associates spanning more than 400 facilities. Among its prized programs is the Junior Tour of Northern California, a collaboration with the Northern California Golf Association and serving more than 700 juniors in the region.