As one of the oldest golf organizations in the country, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association has served area golf clubs since it was founded in 1899 by five Pittsburgh area clubs.
The association has grown over the years to include more than 120 golf clubs from all areas in the western part of the state.
So what does a golf association offer to member clubs? A wide variety of services, according to current WPGA president Dave Kuhar, who is also head golf professional at Sinking Valley Country Club near Altoona.
"The WPGA can provide many things to its members," Kuhar said. "First of all, they provide a handicap system and course rating service. They can also provide training on rules, officiating and how to run tournaments."
In addition, the WPGA administers a scholarship program that began in the early 1940s. Through this year, the program has helped more than 600 area students attend colleges and universities.
Another major function the WPGA performs is conducting golf championships. Each year the association oversees 16 tournaments including junior, senior and team championships.
The two most prestigious events of the year are the West Penn Amateur and West Penn Open. Over the years, several winners of these events have gone on to have very successful PGA tour careers, including Latrobe native Arnold Palmer.
Sinking Valley's Artie Fink plays regularly in many of the WPGA championships.
"I really love the West Penn events," Fink said. "The tournaments are really well-run, and you get to compete on some of the best courses in the state."
Fink will be in the field on Monday, May 14 at the WPGA's next event - the West Penn Mid-Amateur Championship. The tournament field is limited to amateur golfers at WPGA-member clubs who are at least 25 years of age.
This year's mid-amateur will be held at Westmoreland Country Club. Other local golfers in the field include Steve DeStefano of Duncansville and David DeGol, Mitch Johns and Jay Pheasant of Hollidaysburg.
Several local clubs have been members of the WPGA for years. They include Scotch Valley, Iron Masters, Sinking Valley and Bedford Springs.
The WPGA's newest member joined the association this past November - Altoona's Park Hills Country Club.
"The WPGA gave our club access to the GHIN [Golf Handicap and Information Network] which is a great membership handicap system," Park Hills Pro Troy Monahan said. "The WPGA has offered to provide seminars on a variety of golf topics, and by joining our members have access to play in all of their championships. It's a great organization."