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PGA of America Celebrates 96th Anniversary


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. 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 earlier by department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker during a luncheon at New York's Taplow Club. Attendees at the luncheon included Walter Hagen, Francis Ouimet and A.W. Tillinghast. Wanamaker would also donate the trophy that still bears his name, medals and prize money to launch the inaugural PGA Championship at Siwanoy C.C., in Bronxville, N.Y., October 10-14, 1916.

Since its founding, the PGA has developed into an organization of 27,000 men and women professionals.

"The PGA of America traces its storied roots to individuals who had a vision about growing a game that now connects millions around the world," said PGA of America president Allen Wronowski, the 37th PGA professional to hold the association's highest position. "As we proudly embark on our 96th year, we march forward to our centennial, supported by men and women who dedicate each day to their passion of helping to educate a new generation of golfers, while creating fun and memorable experiences for all who play our great game."

By developing championships and 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 its 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.

"In the spirit of our founders, our professionals take pride in supporting their local communities, and growing the game through exciting programs that attract players to experience golf, which is truly a game of a lifetime," added Wronowski.

From Jim Barnes in 1916 to Keegan Bradley in 2011, the PGA Championship has crowned many of the greatest players in golf at the season's final major. The association also oversees the Ryder Cup, which now involves the United States and Europe in a biennial competition that originated in 1927; the Senior PGA Championship, first won by Jock Hutchison at Augusta National Golf Club in 1937; the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the most difficult event to qualify for in all of golf that involves only the year's four major champions; and the PGA Professional National Championship, the showcase event for its club professionals.

In addition to these championships, the PGA conducts more than 30 tournaments for its members and apprentices.

"From the game's most celebrated players to the teaching of a beginner's very first golf lesson, PGA professionals continue to touch lives in the same spirit our founders did 96 years ago this very day," said Wronowski. "With our centennial approaching on the horizon, the PGA of America is proud to carry on this great tradition."

The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information, visit www.pga.com.