The Professional Golfers’ Association of Great Britain & Ireland
The Professional Golfers’ Association of Great Britain & Ireland is the oldest professional sporting organisation in the world and, by some margin, the oldest PGA preceding those of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America.
It was formed in 1901, with the aim and ethos to unite Golf Professionals, Assistants and Club Makers throughout the United Kingdom. This fledgling Association was determined to enhance working conditions, generate employment opportunities, organize golf tournaments and create a benevolent fund for its members in times of need. With the Great Triumvirate of John Henry Taylor, James Braid and Harry Vardon as founding fathers, the PGA rapidly garnered trust and propriety and began to flourish.
However, with the onset of the Great War in late July 1914 tournaments were cancelled, the number of golfers playing the game decreased significantly due to the war effort culminating in a general austerity that was to fall across the profession.
As with countless other organisation’s, trade’s and profession’s PGA members would ‘Join the Colour’s’ in considerable numbers. Pals Battalions and Sportsman’s Brigades were to become quite common in WWI. As, in the image above, a group of young unmarried Golf Professionals and Assistants met at Gatti’s Restaurant in London and, with the encouragement of their peers, they would march to the nearest enlistment station to join the Rifle Brigade.
There would be many from professional golf who, bravely heeded the call and went to fight for King & Country in that most ghastly of World conflicts, many sadly, never to return.
In partnership and with the support of the Royal British Legion, the Professional Golfers’ Association is determined to discover the names of everyone of our own so that we may tell others of the ultimate sacrifice they made and to record and remember each one of them for generations to come.
“As a partner of The Royal British Legion, The PGA wholeheartedly embraces the Thank You campaign to reflect upon and, forever remember, the sacrifices made by so many in the Great War 1914-1918”- Robert Maxfield, Chief Executive The Professional Golfers’ Association