An Organization for the Professionals

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PGA of AmericaThe date was Jan. 17, 1916. A group of New York area professional golfers, along with seven prominent amateurs, attended a luncheon at the Taplow Club in New York City.
 
The host was department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker, a noted golf enthusiast. The purpose was to discuss the formation of an organization that would promote interest in the game and help elevate the vocation of golf professionals.
 
Three months and a series of meetings later the PGA of America was established. On April 10, 35 charter members agreed to the following:
 
  • Promote the interest in the game of golf.
  • Elevate the standards of the golf professionals vocation.
  • Protect the mutual interest of its members.
  • Hold meetings and tournaments for the benefit of members.
  • Assist deserving unemployed members to obtain positions.
  • Establish a benevolent relief fund for deserving members.
  • Accomplish any other objective, which may be determined by the Association from time to time.
     
    The first PGA Championship was contested later that year, Oct. 9-14. Jim Barnes defeated Jock Hutchinson, 1-up, in the finals. Wanamaker donated a purse of $2,580 and the trophy that today still bears his name.
     
    The PGA of America is now the largest working sports organization in the world, comprised of more than 28,000 men and women. In addition to their flagship event, they conduct some 40 tournaments for PGA professionals, including the Ryder Cup Matches, the Senior PGA Championship, and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
     
    The Ryder Cup was inaugurated in 1927, pitting PGA professionals against their British counterparts.
     
    The organization operates at PGA Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. They focus on growing the game through events like the Junior Series and Junior PGA Championship. They have also organized programs such as Kids on Course, Golf in Schools and First Swing.
     
    More than 500,000 kids are exposed to golf thanks to PGA of America efforts.