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Historic Change for the PNGA

Happy New Year! We hope this first issue of 2021 of Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine finds you healthy, safe and gearing up for a busy golf season. While we are still facing challenges of this pandemic, we at the Pacific Northwest Golf Association are looking forward to life returning to normal again this year.

While our PNGA championships were cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, that didn’t keep our association from progressing forward. In fact, 2020 was a historic year for the PNGA as we went through a major governance and organizational change.

Since the inception of the PNGA in 1899 (over 120 years ago!), we have been an association of organized member clubs. That all changed last October when the PNGA approved becoming an “Association of Associations.” Rather than clubs being the members of the PNGA, it is now the major state and provincial golf associations within the Pacific Northwest who are members of the PNGA. Those member associations are British Columbia Golf, Idaho Golf Association, Oregon Golf Association, and Washington Golf.

What does this mean for you? Really, no difference. You will continue to receive this magazine and other benefits of the PNGA because you are a member of one of those member associations. The mission of the PNGA will continue to be providing quality regional championships, recognizing golfer achievements through our Hall of Fame, honoring volunteers through our Distinguished Service Award, and promoting activities beneficial to golfers in the Pacific Northwest through this very reputable magazine and our digital communications.

One element that has slightly changed is the format and eligibility of PNGA championships. Over the last 25 years, these member associations have evolved and now provide a plethora of benefits and services. This includes a more robust tournament and event schedule that are geared towards all golfing ability types with gross and net components within the tournaments. There is no sign of this slowing down, as these golf associations look to engage and attract all golfers to their respective organizations.

However, this has presented a major tournament scheduling issue amongst the PNGA and its member associations during a short peak golfing season. Therefore, it was decided that the most logical solution for PNGA championships was to focus on identifying the best amateur golfers in the Pacific Northwest and not be competing with our member associations in regards to tournaments that are net competitions and/or appeal to higher handicappers.

This has resulted in some eligibility requirement changes and a consolidation of PNGA championships. By elevating the stature of PNGA championships, this will ultimately allow top amateurs in the Pacific Northwest to gain more points from the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and qualify for national and other high-caliber regional competitions through exemptions.

I understand if these changes to PNGA championships could be perceived as our organization only catering to top amateur golfers, but that is not the case. Rest assured, while the structure of our championships have changed, this does not take away our dedication to recognizing golfer achievements, honoring volunteers, and promoting activities beneficial to all golfers in the Pacific Northwest. The PNGA will continue to serve as a collaboration center for all of golf in the Pacific Northwest. And remember, your respective member association has a full menu of tournaments and events for all types of golfing abilities.

Again, Happy New Year and best wishes to all for a great 2021 golfing season!

Troy Andrew, Publisher