PGA of America sheds historic award with racial ties
(PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.) — The PGA of America Board of Directors has voted to rename the Horton Smith Award effective immediately. It will be replaced with the new PGA Professional Development Award, honoring a PGA Member for outstanding contributions to professional education.
The PGA Board of Directors announced renaming the Horton Smith Award, which had been presented annually since 1965, based upon review of its namesake. Horton Smith, a two-time Masters Champion who served as PGA President from 1952-54, was a defender of the “Caucasian-only” membership clause, which was regrettably included in the PGA Bylaws from 1934-61.
The PGA Professional Development Award retains the previous criteria that showcases individuals who have demonstrated achievements in professional education.
“In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA Member badge and advancing the game of golf,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport. With the new PGA Professional Development Award, we will recognize effective inclusion efforts and honor those across our 41 PGA Sections who continue to promote and improve our educational programs. We look forward to doing more of both as we move forward.”
The first PGA Professional Development Award will be presented Oct. 27-30, during the PGA’s 104th Annual Meeting in Hartford, Conn.