I just returned from the PGA Executive Director Conference and PGA Merchandise Show in Florida.  I enjoyed two very busy days of interaction with my fellow Section executives and National staff, followed by three days of meeting with our sponsors.

We also enjoyed a presentation by Ian James of Retail Tribe centered on developing and sharing the value to a facility of instruction and growth of the game activities by PGA Professionals. If you want to share your worth with your employer, you need to know this information.  Work through the tools offered on PGA.org or work with Monte Koch or Carol Pence to work through the revenue scorecard.

At the Show it was non-stop meetings with our sponsors, first to thank them for their support and secondly to renew their support for 2017. Your thank you letters and emails were a BIG HELP…thank you!  For 2017 we renewed – AMA, AME, Antigua, Bridgestone, Bushnell, Club Glove, ClubCar, Cutter & Buck, Golf Genius, Greg Norman, Haas-Jordan, Hole-In-One, USA, Honma, Imperial, Lorente, Northwest Golf Consulting, Pacific Golf & Turf, Page & Tuttle, Pelzer Golf, ProTag, PTE Golf, Range Servant, Sterling Cut Glass, SunDog, TaylorMade-adidas, Voodoo Towels, Winners Award Group, and Yamaha. We also recognize our major championship sponsors – Rosauers, Muckleshoot Casino and Wildhorse Resort – and don’t forget all the sponsors provided by through the PGA of America – National Car Rental, Omega, Mercedes, PGA Tour, JaniKing, Pepsi, PGA National Resort, KitchenAid, Titleist-Footjoy, TaylorMade-adidas and Nike Golf.  A big list of great supporters, please return their support by supporting as many as you can.

You should see an announcement soon of our new Chief Membership Officer. This person will be a PGA Member who will oversee the member-related departments and who will have a seat in the Executive Level discussions to advance the PGA Member perspective.  “Serve the member” is not just a fancy phrase; we will live it in Palm Beach Gardens.

The Section Spring Meeting is scheduled for March 20 at Glendale CC. I’m pleased to announce that PGA President Paul Levy will be in attendance. Your officers know Paul well and this will be your chance to meet him in person and interact during the meeting.  Look for more information on the specific format… and mark your calendar today.

Part of our Strategic Plan is to offer a robust education program in 2017. Our education plan calls for local delivery at a reasonable price. I’ve attended a number of Chapter Board Meetings this winter and I’m happy to report you will see a significant effort to deliver quality programs to you. Please take advantage of the excellent programs being developed.  One program that is open to all is the Sweet 16, February 20-21 in Coeur d’ Alene. Mike O’Donnell, PGA of America, Senior Director of Player Development will team with Monte Koch to present “Driving Revenue at Your Facility in 2017 Through Customer Engagement”. This will be an outstanding program and will help you develop essential skills in today’s golf business.  Click here for complete information or to register.

Now is the time to develop your PGA Junior League team for 2017.  Put simply, this is the single best program the PGA of America has offered the members in my 32 years in the business.  It builds golfers, it brings families to the golf course together, it drives revenue to the golf course and it drives revenue to you, the PGA Professional.  Need more information? Call me, call Monte Koch, call Dominic Marconi, or call your neighbor professional, they probably have a team!

Applications are now available for the PGA Financial Assistance Fund Scholarship. This opportunity is open to both high school seniors and current college students who are children or grandchildren of PGA Members. The process changed a few years ago to spread the wealth around a little so if your child has not received a scholarship in the past, keep applying.  You may remember, we use this very same application for the distribution of our Bunny Mason Scholarships.  We awarded two last year and I’m expecting the same in 2017. Go to pga.org for the application.

Finally, I’ll be attending all your Chapter Meetings this spring.  Please feel free to seek me out after the meeting if you have questions you would prefer to ask in private.  Helping you get the most out of your PGA membership is everyone’s goal on your tremendous staff. If I can’t help you, I know they can.

Make a commitment to play the game, teach the game and promote the game in 2017.  Thanks to Mike Coury forcing my hand, I’ve already played three times the golf I did in 2016!  If I can, you can.


Jeff Ellison, PGA