What do you see as the biggest challenge to our mission to “serve the member and grow the game”?

Baseball is my theme for this month’s article. With the Mariners riding high near first place and most of us riding fast and furious into the summer, I see similarities between our Northwest ball club and our mission to “serve the member and grow the game.” For the past decade-and-a-half, the M’s have been challenged to serve the baseball community and grow the fan base with their personnel decisions and poor play on the field. Similarly, as golf professionals we have had a series of challenges (economic downturn, level number of total golfers, and most recently the loss of Tiger Woods on tour) that have thrown us all a curve ball in growing the game of golf.

Wherever there is a challenge there exists a solution for improvement. The best way to fulfill our mission to “serve the member” is to frequently serve up a fastball over the middle of the plate and let eager golf professionals crush it out of the park. This past Saturday I stopped by Auburn Golf Course in Auburn, Washington and had the pleasure of meeting PGA apprentice Jeremy Sagle. After a brief conversation, I was happy to hear something I already knew, his PGA Head Professional Chris Morris was mentoring him successfully on the path toward membership. I was able to encourage Mr. Sagle to consider joining one of our Chapter committees that matched his primary career-related passion, in this case tournament operations. I’ve always felt that not enough good pros get involved and participate in governance and committee work. My solution to this is easy; communicate to and involve members and apprentices frequently. Make sure they know about the programs and issues that directly, and indirectly, affect their professional way of life. This is the way most organizations, including our Section and Chapters, function best.

We could steal a page out of the 2016 M’s playbook in growing the game. Dramatic walk-off home runs, a solid pitching staff, and a different offensive hero every night grows the number of fans in the stands at Safeco Field. Similarly, the University of Washington Women’s recent televised NCAA team championship, the KPMG this month at Sahalee, and the continued success of Drive, Chip, and Putt & PGA Junior League Golf will certainly inspire continued growth of youth, particularly young women, to the game. The golf professional behind all of these players needs to be more frequently put in front of the camera to capture the efforts of members of our professional community. It will be my goal as Section Secretary to further highlight and call attention to these pros that make an enormous difference to grow the game. I also know that communication, in several forms and approaches, is the only effective way to get the word out.

The biggest challenge to our mission of growing the game is to resist taking the easy walk to first base. In other words, taking the status quo approach to our profession. While it is easy to “go with the flow” and “do the same things the person before me did” at your place of employment, the invariable end result is a program that has no identity and ultimately low participation levels. My focus as Section Secretary would be to devote my energies in ever improving education and mentorship programs. Delivery of creative, outside the box training programs would provide all of us the opportunity to jazz up the current programs and events we run at our clubs. Challenge yourself to come up with a new, innovative approach to a program, a clinic, an event, or even the way you work with staff. Some ideas will be a huge success; a larger number might fail. After all, even Robbie Cano only gets a hit three out of every ten times up to the plate!

As I penned in last month’s article, the role of a Section officer will require that he be a strong Leader, a clear Communicator, and most of all possess experience as an effective Motivator. To assist you the golf professional, I will deliver the tools and support for you to serve the members of your club and grow the game as a whole. Let’s Play Ball!!

 

Dan Harrington, PGA

Undrpar1@yahoo.com

(253) 249-1001