HISTORY OF THE WORLD GOLF FOUNDATION
In the late 1980s, PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman began to
consider the benefits of having a PGA TOUR Hall of Fame near the
TOUR's headquarters in northeast Florida and adjacent to the
heavily-trafficked I-95 corridor.
A few years later, after land for the project had been secured,
Beman called LPGA Commissioner Charlie Mechem and invited the LPGA
to join with the TOUR in the project; the LPGA had had a Hall of
Fame for years on paper, but never a place they could appropriately
honor their great players.
Once the LPGA agreed to participate, the TOUR reached out to
other major golf organizations; the USGA and the R&A agreed to
contribute to the project, and the PGA of America subsequently
decided to close the former World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst
and consolidate it with the new project. The new World Golf Hall of
Fame, at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, was born.
When it became obvious that this was no longer a PGA TOUR
project but rather something beneficial for the entire world of
golf, Beman and his associates at the TOUR determined that a new
management organization was required, an ecumenical entity that
would have no other agenda than the promotion and honoring of the
game's most significant contributors. In 1994 the World Golf
Foundation was formed, with an independent Board of Directors. New
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was named Chairman, and the other
major golf associations had representation on the Board as
It was always assumed that a significant charitable outreach
program would emerge from the Hall of Fame and the World Golf
Foundation. It was Finchem's vision to find a way to bring the game
of golf to youngsters who would never otherwise have the chance to
experience the benefits and assimilate the values inherent in the
game. Through his leadership, and the powerful support of Honorary
Chairman President George H.W. Bush, The First Tee was announced in
1997. Today it stands as the most successful youth outreach program
in the history of golf.
The third initiative of the World Golf Foundation was launched
in 2000. The golf industry was not growing as it had in the 1990s
even though interest in the game had never been greater. Industry
leaders approached Finchem about having the World Golf
Foundation oversee an initiative to focus on the future
vitality of the game. GOLF 20/20 was created for that purpose, and
the first annual 20/20 conference was held in November of 2000, in
conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Induction.
In 2008, Steve Mona was named the World Golf
Foundation's first CEO, and through his leadership the
Foundation has embarked on new global initiatives to foster the
growth and promotion of golf worldwide.