What is the Pacific Northwest Golf Association?

The Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) was founded on February 4, 1899. It is a 501c3 charitable, international, amateur golf association dedicated to preserving the true spirit of golf by supporting its member associations, conducting quality championships, and promoting activities beneficial to golfers in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

The original purpose of the PNGA was to conduct a regional amateur championship. Since 1899, the Association has been a pioneer in developing competitions and services, and its mission has grown and evolved. Today, the PNGA remains committed to being a truly “regional” organization by providing additional benefits to the membership of each Member Association.

The PNGA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of three individuals from each Member Association, which includes the CEO or Executive Director of each respective association.

The Member Associations that comprise the PNGA are:

Combined, these Member Associations serve and provide benefits to over 200,000 members.

The PNGA shares a staff with Washington Golf and together they employ a full-time staff of 15, headed by a CEO/Executive Director, with offices located in Tacoma, Washington. Under the direction of the Board of Directors and in conjunction with a number of standing committees, the staff administers the day-to-day affairs of the Association.

Support of the Game

Through membership in the PNGA, your club and its members have the satisfaction of knowing they are assisting the PNGA in administering and supporting important programs and charities which benefit the game of golf throughout the region, such as:

  • Support of Turfgrass research efforts at Northwest universities
  • Support of Junior Golf development
  • Support of the Evans Scholarship Program at Northwest universities
  • The creation of Northwest Golf House, a permanent home for the PNGA and its history

Evans Caddie Scholarship Program

Working closely with the British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington golf associations, the PNGA serves as the administrative headquarters for the Evans Caddie Scholarship Program in the Northwest. Since the PNGA established the program in the region in 1948, more than 700 young men and women caddies from Northwest clubs, who have had excellent grades and a financial need, have attended major Northwest universities on a four-year, full tuition and housing scholarship, which is currently valued at $120,000, depending on the university.

The PNGA also coordinates a significant fundraising initiative throughout the region to support these Scholars. Along with Par Club, Bag Tag, and other special contributions, the PNGA works closely with the state associations to conduct two “Evans Cup” fundraising events each year. Since 1994, these events have raised over $3 million for the region’s Evans Scholars.

Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame

The PNGA administers the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame and conducts induction ceremonies every other year recognizing outstanding Northwest golfers who have made extraordinary contributions to the game. Memorabilia from the PNGA’s past is displayed at Association headquarters and information about golf’s past in the Northwest can be accessed by PNGA members through Association resources.

PNGA Player of the Year Awards

Every year, the PNGA Championship Committee reviews the competitive records of players from throughout the region and recognizes the individuals who have compiled the most outstanding accomplishments and awards them the Pacific Northwest Player of the Year Award. One individual in each of the following categories is recognized: Men, Women, Men’s Mid-Amateur, Women’s Mid-Amateur, Senior Men, Senior Women, Junior Boys, and Junior Girls.

PNGA Distinguished Service Award

Every other year, a committee comprised of all living PNGA Past Presidents selects a recipient(s) of the PNGA Distinguished Service Award in recognition of meritorious service to amateur golf, not necessarily as a competitive player. Along with induction into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame, this prestigious award is considered the Association’s highest honor.

PNGA History

Why was the Pacific Northwest Golf Association formed?

The answer is found in a February 1897 article in Harper’s Weekly, which had comments from the USGA’s annual meeting. USGA President Laurence Curtis requested local golf groups around the U.S. unite into an organized golfing body under USGA leadership.

The mandate was twofold: there was a desire to standardize the Rules of Golf throughout the country, and the USGA wanted regional bodies to hold men’s and women’s championships.

Through the years with the PNGA

In 1897, only one Northwest club – Tacoma Golf Club – was a USGA member. The club joined the national organization to allow Charles Malott to participate in the 1895 U.S. Amateur. In all likelihood, a representative from Tacoma was present at the USGA’s first annual meeting.

The clubs attending this meeting went on to form golf associations in Philadelphia, Chicago, Massachusetts and New York. Tacoma would soon originate a similar organization in the Northwest.

While no written records or minutes remain of the initial PNGA get-togethers, all the necessary ingredients to form the association were in place by the end of 1898. Six strong golf clubs existed – Victoria Golf Club, Tacoma Golf Club, Waverley Country Club, Seattle Golf Club, Spokane Country Club and Butte Country Club. Inter-club matches were already being regularly played, especially between Victoria, Tacoma and Waverley.

The clubs only needed to look to the USGA and Metropolitan Golf Association for inspiration and direction in forming their own association. Various club records and newspaper bulletins shed light on the PNGA’s formation. On Jan. 17, 1899, Victoria resolved to send two delegates to meet with others in Tacoma to consider the formation of a golf association.

From news accounts in Victoria’s Daily Colonist, invitations were extended to other golf clubs in Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Butte, Walla Walla, Portland, Eugene and Pendleton.

The Tacoma Daily Ledger reported the “Pacific Coast Golf Association” was formed in Tacoma on Feb. 4, 1899, with C.B. Stahlschmidt of Victoria elected president and Stuart Rice of Tacoma as secretary. Also in attendance were Jesse Merrill of Tacoma, who served as a proxy for Waverley and Walla Walla, and H.M. Hoyt and Captain H. Taylor from Spokane. F.W. Snow and Rice represented the Tacoma club.

With a new site under construction at Laurelhurst during this time, accounts indicate Seattle Golf Club probably did not send a representative to the first meeting. Nevertheless, the club did field competitors at the inaugural PNGA championship a few months later and is considered one of the association’s six founding member clubs.

With its founding on Feb. 4, 1899, the PNGA is the fifth oldest golf association in North America, being preceded only by the USGA (1894) and Royal Canadian Golf Association (1895) on the national front, and the Golf Association of Philadelphia (Feb. 5, 1897) and the Metropolitan Golf Association (Greater New York City – April 14, 1897).

At the April 17, 1899 meeting, the organization’s name was changed to the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.

Like the USGA, the PNGA’s founders understood that strong leadership was needed for the new group to survive. For this reason, over the next 15 years the PNGA was controlled by only a handful of individuals. The association’s first presidents were Edwin Strout (Seattle) from 1901-1906; H.S. Griggs (Tacoma) from 1907-1911; and Chester Thorne (Tacoma) from 1912-1915. Stuart Rice acted as secretary for much of this period, relinquishing the position to Harvey Combe (Victoria) in later years.

Historical Timeline