As a Section Officer, how would you go about engaging the grassroots golf professional to be involved in the PGA Chapter, Section and National organizations?

Whether you are a 20+ year veteran of the golf profession as I am, a new PGA member or apprentice, or somewhere in between, your contributions and involvement in Chapter, Section and National affairs is needed. Involvement of our Section professionals is best achieved through ever-improving channels of communication and a unifying culture of our leadership. I believe we already possess the latter. Engaging the 1200+ professionals to become more participatory requires that leaders of our industry continue to dynamically motivate using traditional “handshake” relationships as well as current effective marketing and communication campaigns.

A few weeks ago, I took a five-day road trip to Western Montana, Idaho, and the Spokane area. In addition to volunteering to assist in the success of two Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship competitions, I was able to visit with professionals from 17 different “grassroots” facilities. A visit to Mission Mountain Golf Course in Ronan, Montana, a stop at Esmeralda Golf Course in Spokane, a brief chat with the guys at Hayden Lake Country Club, with many points in-between, yielded a common interjection from virtually every one the professionals: Continued effective communication of tournament, governance, and professional best practices that meet our Section’s mission and operational goals. This common theme led me to ask a simple question of each of the twenty or so professionals – What interests you most about the golf profession and could I call on you, if elected Secretary, to become an active participant in activities that our Section has organized?

In addition to continued “handshake” tours of the Northwest, in order to engage and invite participation from a larger number of golf professionals, we need to continue staying current with technology and marketing strategy mediums that stirs an emotional call to action. A business communications professor at my alma mater Western Washington University impressed upon me a theory that is still applicable today – “The path to customer loyalty and commitment is paved with the cement of fresh ideas and common personal satisfactions.” A perfect example of a recent fresh idea that applied to our golf “product” was produced by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA):

The AJGA helps young men and women earn college scholarships through competitive golf tournaments. It has over 6,000 youth members and hosts 100+ tournaments a year. Last year, they had a goal to promote and raise awareness of the ANNIKA Invitational, an all-girls tournament sponsored and publicized by Annika Sorenstam. The AJGA’s goal was to use Twitter to promote the event. They used fun visuals and celebrity endorsements to extend their Twitter reach during the tournament. In addition to tweeting pictures of girls playing golf and spending time with their families, they set up a photo booth at the registration table. People could dress up in costumes and share silly pictures of themselves on their social media accounts. 161 contributors sent 570 tweets during the tournament and an AJGA tweet was featured in a morning talk show on the Golf Channel. In total, the event received 3.6 million impressions.1

This example of a highly successful social media campaign had a couple heavy hitters in Annika and The Golf Channel on it’s side. However, I posit that our Section has a large number of regional feel-good stories, and an outstanding staff to tell these stories, and we should obtain the tools to publicize them. It would be my goal as Secretary to communicate these grassroots successes to our Section, to National, and hopefully to a global audience. There is a no more enticing call to action for a fellow golf professional than a motivating story in his or her own back yard. This can be done by obtaining and implementing current technologies to better transmit, in real time, home-cooked best practices and programs that will bring the members of our trendsetting, yet vast, geographical Chapters together.

As a Chapter board member for the past eight years and a Section officer for almost half this time, I have always prided myself on being a listener and always keeping an unbiased and open mind. After all, a leader of so many outstanding professionals and game changers in our region requires that I be a clear communicator and effective motivator of ideas. I ask for your vote this Fall for the position of Section Secretary.

1 Connectivity.CQrollcall.com, Anne Dermody, February 1, 2016

 

Dan Harrington, PGA

President – Western Washington Chapter – PGA