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PGA History

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  • The origins of the PGA go back to Victorian times and the work and dedication of three golfing pioneers: JH Taylor, James Braid and Harry Vardon.  Their desire was to raise the status of those men who earned their living from playing the game.

Men who had worked their way up through the caddy ranks to become professional golfers.  So it was that the PGA was founded in 1901. 

It was a letter from a North Wales professional in Golf Illustrated on 12th April, 1901, that triggered the idea of a Professional Golfers' Association, advocating that professionals needed to come together to protect their interests.

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  • Within months the leading players of the day, led by the legendary JH Taylor (pictured far left) with James Braid and Harry Vardon had galvanised enough support to form the London and Counties Golf Professionals' Association on 9th September 1901.  At the first AGM, on 2nd December 1901, the name was changed to 'The Professional Golfers' Association' - the original 'PGA'.

Initial Membership of the Association was reported as 59 Professionals with 11 Assistants.  In comparison, current Membership of The PGA is reported at over 7,500 Professionals with an annual intake of Assistant Professionals of around 300.

  • The golfing landscape in those early days was very different to the modern game.  However, with Professionals, even the very best like Taylor, Vardon and Braid, earning a living from club duties, club and ball-making, green-keeping, teaching and competing in tournaments, the fundamental essence of the PGA Professional, and therefore The PGA, remains relevant.
  • The original aims of the Association were based on the desire to raise the profile of the professional golfer in order to gain greater credibility.  The Association also set out to be recognised and respected as the body that promoted the general welfare, created the best working conditions, and looked after the interests of its members – professional golfers – throughout their careers.

In the early days, The PGA was heavily male dominated and it was not until the emergence of the women's game in the mid twentieth century that women demanded a more prominent place within the professional game.  The Women's Professional Golfers' Association (WPGA) was established in 1978 and became a recognised part of the wider PGA.

  • It was from this moment that the PGA truly became the heart of golf.
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