This month’s question is: “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?”

This question was asked because getting PGA members to engage in their association and its benefits has always been a challenge.  Leading a horse to water and getting them to drink seems easy, but we are all very busy professionals and it is all we can do to balance our work life and our home life without passing out in front of Golf Channel watching last weekend’s European Tour final round replay, a half-empty Red Bull in one hand and the remote falling out of the other.

We also run headlong into our employers who don’t see the value proposition in our time serving on committees, boards or even charitable activities, thus discouraging participation.  Squeezed bottom lines means less time to engage in PGA opportunities, especially those in leadership development and programming.

Maybe we as PGA leaders just aren’t trying hard enough to get you to engage in PGA opportunities and benefits?  Maybe we need to ask you more often, “what do you want from your PGA membership?”  (At Overlake, our staff motto on our tee shirts is “Ask the members what they want and give it to them, unless it’s illegal, immoral, or unethical…and even then we’ll consider it!”)  Maybe the opportunities and benefits just aren’t valuable enough to reach up and pick off the tree?  Maybe you just don’t have the time or energy?  Maybe you just don’t know about them?

So, what are some of the ways you can benefit from your PGA membership?

  1. Mutual backscratching. For some cool benefits, download this PDF:  http://www.pnwpga.com/pdf/pga-member-benefits.pdf.  I personally use these benefits whenever I can, and our sponsors enjoy the benefit of increased sales with a valuable demographic.  They scratch or backs, and we scratch theirs.  These relationships need nurturing, though, and it is up to us to nurture these relationships with our use of their benefits.
  2. Benefit of the badge. In 2012, M.L. Rose wrote in Golfweek Magazine: “Perhaps the biggest benefit to becoming a PGA professional is simply the right to call yourself a PGA pro. In the world of golf, the title “PGA pro” means instant credibility with employers, customers and the general public. Whether it’s a player seeking a lesson or a golf facility in need of a manager, many people in the golf world automatically look first to a PGA pro.”
  3. Leadership development. Nothing sharpens your leadership axe or adds more arrows to your leadership quiver than…leadership!  Participating in committees, serving on a board or drinking all of the Kool Aid and becoming a Chapter or Section officer will give you valuable leadership skills and give you a safe forum in which to practice your new skills before using them in your facility or community.
  4. PGA Programs. Whether you need some employment advice, or want to make a check by playing in our Chapter and Section events, or want a scholarship for your college-bound offspring, or want to add on certifications to your title, or want to take advantage of pre-built player development programs, the PGA has something for everyone and every facility.

These benefits and opportunities are better than most associations enjoy, so how, as an officer, can I lead our PGA horses to water (not surrounded by yellow or red stakes)?

If elected as your next PGA officer, to help you engage with your Association opportunities and benefits, I would:

  1. Educate you on the benefits you already have. This might include a “featured benefit of the month,” or posting the PDF of the member benefits on our website, or attach 10 minutes to education sessions reminding you of your benefits.
  2. Ask you what kinds of benefits you want that you don’t already have. Your Chapter and Section boards can figure out many of these, but I’m sure there are benefits you wish you had but aren’t currently offered, like a group 401k or medical insurance (e.g. finding a way around inurement.) I know you need another survey like you need a case of the shanks, but we do need to gauge your pulse to help you help yourselves.
  3. Help you understand the value propositions of PGA opportunities and benefits. Again, featuring the opportunities and benefits of engaging in your Association, not only for yourself, but for your fellow PGA professionals and your employers and helping you and your employer attach value to your engagement.

Ultimately, you need to know about your PGA benefits and opportunities, you need to know how they benefit you and your employer, and you are the one who needs to grab the golden ring and get as much value out of these benefits and opportunities as you can.  It is up to we PGA officers and board members to facilitate this process and to “serve the member.”

Thank you for reading…I’m heading out to play my Senior Match Play match against the affable gentleman and great player Neal White over at White Horse Golf Club, and am now looking at the course map to see how close the 11th green is to the clubhouse.



Marcus King, PGA, CCM, CCE
General Manager
Overlake Golf & Country Club