Professional Golfers' Association of America

Not to be confused with PGA Tour.
For the major championship sometimes referred to by this name, see PGA Championship.
Professional Golfers' Association
of America
Sport Golf
Founded April 10, 1916 (1916-04-10)
Founder Rodman Wanamaker
Inaugural season 1916, 100 years ago
CEO Peter Bevacqua
President Derek Sprague
Motto Experts in the game
and business of golf
Country United States
Official website

The Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA of America) is an American organization of golf professionals. Founded in 1916 and headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the PGA of America is made up of more than 28,000 men and women golf professional members. The PGA of America’s undertaking is to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.


The origins of the PGA may be traced to Charles Campbell Worthington, a businessman and owner of the Worthington Pump and Machinery Corporation.[1] He built the Buckwood Inn, an exclusive resort near Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania, with an eighteen-hole golf course designed by A. W. Tillinghast[2] and completed around 1910.[3] In 1912 Worthington invited a group of professional golfers to compete on his course; the group was a forerunner of the Professional Golfers' Association of America.[1]

In February 1916 the Professional Golfers' Association was established in New York City. One month earlier, the wealthy department store owner Rodman Wanamaker hosted a luncheon at the Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle. This gathering of Wanamaker and the leading golf professionals of the day prepared the agenda for the formal organization of the PGA in New York City a month later.[4] The organization's first president was Robert White, one of Wykagyl's best known golf professionals of the time. Golf historians have dubbed Wykagyl "The Cradle of the PGA".[5] White is also notable for designing the Ocean Forest Country Club at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.[6] On April 10, 1916, The PGA of America was created via the 35 charter members signing the constitution and bylaws. The first PGA Championship was held October 1916 and won by Jim Barnes.

In November 1961, the PGA of America dropped its "caucasian only" clause by amending its constitution.[7][8] The previous year, it had voted to retain the clause, and had gained the ire of California's attorney general Stanley Mosk, who threatened to shut down the PGA in the state until the clause was removed. The 1962 PGA Championship was scheduled for Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles, but the PGA moved it to Philadelphia at Aronimink.[7]

With an increase of revenue in the late 1960s due to expanded television coverage, a dispute arose between the touring professionals and the PGA of America on how to distribute the windfall. The tour players wanted larger purses, where the PGA desired the money to go to the general fund to help grow the game at the local level.[9] Following the final major in July 1968 at the PGA Championship, several leading tour pros voiced their dissatisfaction with the venue and the abundance of club pros in the field.[10] The increased friction resulted in a new entity in August, what would eventually become the PGA Tour.[11][12][13][14] Tournament players formed their own organization, American Professional Golfers, Inc. (APG), independent of the PGA of America.[15][16][17] After several months,[18] a compromise was reached in December: the tour players agreed to abolish the APG and form the PGA "Tournament Players Division," a fully autonomous division under the supervision of a new 10-member Tournament Policy Board.[19][20][21][22] The board consisted of four tour players, three PGA of America executives, and three outside members, initially business executives.[20][21][23] It hired its own commissioner and was renamed the "PGA Tour" in the mid-1970s.

In October 2014, PGA president Ted Bishop responded to Ian Poulter's criticism of the Ryder Cup captaincy of Nick Faldo and Tom Watson by calling Poulter a "lil girl", which led to Bishop's firing. The PGA called Bishop's statements "unacceptable" and "insensitive gender-based".[24][25]


The aim of The PGA of America is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, consumers, and the golf industry.

The PGA enhances the skills of its 28,000 men and women professionals and provide opportunities for amateurs, employers, manufacturers, employees, and the general public.

The PGA elevates the standards of the professional golfer's vocation, enhance the economic well-being of the individual member, and stimulates interest in the game of golf.[26]

PGA Professionals

To be elected to membership of the PGA, aspirant golf professionals (apprentices) and students go through three levels of education courses, written exams, simulation testing, seminars, and must pass the PGA Playing Ability Test. These men and women have the option to pursue the PGA education through self-study, by the use of accredited PGA Golf Management Universities (currently 18 universities in the United States offer a PGA Golf Management program),[27] or through an accelerated PGA Golf Management Program.


The PGA conducts major events including the PGA Championship, the Women's PGA Championship,[28] and the Senior PGA Championship. The PGA conducts more than 30 tournaments for its members and apprentices, including the PGA Professional National Championship and the PGA Assistant Professional Championship. It also co-organizes the biennial Ryder Cup and PGA Cup.

Growth of the game

In 2003, the PGA of America created the Player Development department within the Association in an endeavor to reach out to new, past and sporadic adult golfers. This is accomplished through the growth, promotion and support of instructional programs and events at PGA member facilities that support adults and families to play golf. Included in these programs is Play Golf America, instigated in 2004 with the help of the Allied Associations (LPGA, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA Tour, USGA, and others involved in the annual Golf 20/20 Conference).

PGA Foundation

The PGA Foundation serves as the PGA of America’s philanthropic arm, as it is a charitable, educational, and research organization that was founded in 1954. The foundation distributes funds to golf instruction and community golf programs, research and education, minority golf programs and junior golf tournaments and events. Scott Kmiec was named the Senior Director of the PGA Foundation in 2013.[29]

PGA golf properties

PGA Presidents

See also


  1. 1 2 Maurer, Joe (September–October 1999). "C. C. Worthington and the Worthington Mower". Gas Engine Magazine. Ogden Publications, Inc.: 1–2. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  2. Davis, Gerry Hempel (2011-11-16). Romancing the Roads: A Driving Diva's Firsthand Guide, East of the Mississippi. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-58979-620-1. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  3. Buffington, Davis (28 September 1935). "WORTHINGTON MOWER CO. v. GUSTIN". Circuit Court, Third Circuit. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  4. "Wykagyl, 1898–1998"; Desmond Tollhurst and John Barban; pages 28–30
  5. "Wykagyl, 1898–1998"; Desmond Tollhurst and John Barban; pages 1–2
  6. "South Carolina Department of Archives and History". National Register Properties in South Carolina: Ocean Forest Country Club, Horry County (5609 Woodside Dr., Myrtle Beach), including six photos. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. 2010-06-21.
  7. 1 2 "Race, religion, nationality no longer barrier to PGA". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 10, 1961. p. 18, part 2.
  8. "PGA group abolishes 'Caucasian'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. November 10, 1961. p. 22.
  9. Awtrey, Stan (February 11, 2009). "Professionals' split was a good thing for the game". PGA Tour. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  10. "Touring pros studying break". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. July 23, 1968. p. 12.
  11. McCarthy, Denis (August 14, 1968). "Golf tour pros break with PGA". Palm Beach Post. p. 19.
  12. Green, Bob (August 20, 1968). "Rebel golfers number 205: pros form APG". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. p. 3B.
  13. "Touring golf pros set up own shop". Milwaukee Journal. August 20, 1968. p. 11.
  14. "Rebel touring pros organize to battle for tournament, television jackpot". Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. August 20, 1968. p. 15.
  15. Mulvoy, Mark (September 2, 1968). "The revolt of the touring pros". Sports Illustrated: 20.
  16. Nicklaus, Jack (September 16, 1968). "Rebuttal to a searing attack". Sports Illustrated: 30.
  17. "Making an impact: Golf 1895–2004". USA Today. January 8, 2004. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  18. "PGA, sponsors eye settlement". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. September 6, 1968. p. 3B.
  19. "History: 1960–69". PGA of America. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  20. 1 2 "Tour golfers, PGA settle fuss over tourney control". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 14, 1968. p. 15.
  21. 1 2 "Pro golf struggle is settled; PGA forms tourney group". Milwaukee Journal. December 14, 1968. p. 18.
  22. "Dispute in U.S. settled". Glasgow Herald. Scotland, U.K. December 16, 1968. p. 5.
  23. "A year later and, peace on golf tour". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Florida. Associated Press. August 5, 1969. p. 8.
  24. "Ian Poulter tweet leads to exit of American PGA president". BBC Sport. October 24, 2014.
  25. "PGA impeaches Ted Bishop". ESPN. Associated Press. October 27, 2014.
  26. "PGA Mission." Web. 31 July 2013. (
  28. "PGA of America, LPGA, KPMG join forces for KPMG Women's PGA Championship". PGA of America. May 29, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  29. "Scott Kmiec appointed new Senior Director of the PGA Foundation". World Golf. February 26, 2013.
  30. America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses/2009-10
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