This month’s question presented to Marcus and I, I think is a critical issue that is often neglected.

“The Section, Chapters and National offer a vast array of opportunities for professionals to benefit from their PGA membership.  As an officer, how will you help the grassroots professional engage with their association and participate in these opportunities?

The two questions I hear most often are: “Why don’t we have bigger pay-outs” and “Cheez, our dues are so high, what do I get for it?”

I can assure you that the tournament committee and your Section Leadership is constantly working on the first question. The second question is trickier, and in the end requires you, the member to do some research and work. My role as a Section Officer is to help you understand what our association provides you in terms of benefits. Some of these benefits are well known, others not so much. I’m going to break down some of our benefits into two buckets.

The first bucket, I’ll call “Individual/Family Bucket”. Unfortunately, many of us work for owners or organizations that don’t provide the greatest benefits in health care and insurance. However, our Association can help. I encourage you to log into your member account at, click on the “Benefits & Tools” tab at the top of the page and then click on insurance benefits on the left. When you follow the drop-down menu, you will see several insurance offerings available to you. Don’t have a 401K or a retirement program? On that same Benefits & Tools page, click on PGA Golf Retirement Plus and learn how our Association has created a way for you to begin building for retirement. Most of you know about “spectator” benefits – getting free tickets to events like the Master’s, US Open and others, and if you have kids, you probably know about our PGA scholarship opportunities. But how much do you know about our PGA Partners and their Perks & Discount. I didn’t know much until I had a conversation with one of my PGA LEAD classmates. She told me that they remodeled their kitchen and installed all new KitchenAid appliances. All were purchased at substantial discount. I encourage you to check out the Benefits & Tools page to see all of what the PGA has to offer.

The other benefits bucket is the “Career Benefits Bucket”. This bucket does get used, but I’m convinced that there is so much more in this bucket that is underutilized. How is your CareerLinks profile? Is it up to date? When was the last time you even looked at it? If your profile is not up to date, you may be missing out on some job vacancy announcements. Not looking for a new job? That’s okay. Use those vacancy announcements to compare your job to ones being advertised. Do your skills match the desired skills for those positions? If not, you may be losing ground to your peers. So, what should you do? It’s time to use another of your benefits, your PGA Career Consultant. The career consultants are here to help you stay relevant in your career. Monte Koch is our Career Consultant; he is waiting to help you. The best news is that his services are free to you as a PGA member. Try getting career services elsewhere for free; that’s not going to happen. Another one of our benefits is our robust education program. Your education committee and Monte work closely to provide you with quality education programs. These programs are designed to help you continue developing yourself as a PGA professional, but also make sure that your skills are keeping up with the desires of your leaders and owners. How are you doing in the eyes of your owners/leaders? Do they see you as being a value? You can prove it to them by using another of your benefits, the Revenue Scorecard. Using this tool will give you the facts and figures to show your owners/leaders how much you are contributing to their bottom-line. Use the tool to make it hard them to left you leave. Lastly, from an operations point of view, use the PGA budgeting tool. This is a great benefit when it comes time to create those yearly budgets. It is easy to use and will save you time. It is also a great way to teach your PGA Associates about budgeting.

The last benefit I want to speck to is PGA LEAD. Over the last few years our Association has recognized the need to grow new leaders. The Association’s Senior Leadership committed to this need by creating PGA LEAD. This 2-year program is open to every member. LEAD focuses on teaching new leaders about our Association, learning leadership skills, and how to develop themselves to be ready to step and Lead at the Committee, Chapter, Section and National level. Imagine how much this type of developmental training would cost you on your own. It’s another great benefit to you as a PGA member.

Some of you might be wondering if I am going to answer the question posed? “The Section, Chapters and National offer a vast array of opportunities for professionals to benefit from their PGA membership.  As an officer, how will you help the grassroots professional engage with their association and participate in these opportunities?”  I just did. This is exactly the type of conversation I want to have with our Section members at every opportunity.  Our Association provides us with great and varied benefits; my job as one of your Officers will be to tell you the story.

Remember the old sales adage, “Features tell, but Benefits sell.” Use and enjoy the great benefits your membership offers you.

Howie Pruitt, PGA
Director, Player Development/Head Golf Professional
Aspen Lakes Golf Club
Sisters, OR 97759
Director, Oregon Chapter, PGA of America
2017 Oregon Chapter, PGA of America, Patriot Award Winner