As the world has dealt with COVID-19, what have you learned over the last few weeks about your Section, the Chapters and the PGA of America?

The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented.  It has halted our economy and distressed our industry.  With less than fifty percent of facilities open across the country, at one point, the challenges are unique and different depending on your location.  Just as no one has been playing golf in the State of Washington, facilities like mine have seen record numbers of rounds in April and May.   At my facility, the overwhelming perspective is that golf has been an incredible blessing.  Every day I receive praise for keeping our facility operating and keeping an outlet for people to get through this pandemic.  This just shows the remarkable power of the game of golf.

The PNW Section PGA is both forward thinking and has strong leadership.  The organizational structure brings talent, from across the section, together to tackle difficult topics and decisions.  District Director Doug Doxie brings the National representation to the table.  CEO Jeff Ellison and his staff have been diligent in their duties and maintained the best interest of the PGA Member through extreme times.  Sean Fredrickson and the officers of our board have excelled at developing cohesive leadership across our Section and involving the presidents and vice presidents from each Chapter in the decision-making process.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have been faced with multistate diversity over our large geographical spans, facing a multitude of government regulations at the national, state, and local level.  Our section has stepped up to the plate to be a leader in our industry, and in all of our communities, across our five states. We have vetted and debated difficult decisions.  Our Section staff have been forced to make difficult decisions as operations have halted over the past two months, yet we are at the forefront of information, regulations, and safety protocol best practices.  I am very proud to be a part of this group of PGA professionals and staff.

Our Chapters have demonstrated poise and strength.  At the Chapter level, leadership is accomplishing much the same.  Chapter officers and boards are paying close attention to the, always changing, regulations and recommendations in each area of how to handle COVID-19.  Chapters have been working together and sharing information, best practices, and ideas to benefit both the Professional and their facilities.  Each Chapter is under different mandates, which has affected tournament programs, professional development programs, and player development programs.  As some Chapters are starting to move forward with these programs, others are still waiting to get started.  Through it all, each Chapter has shown the strength of their PGA professionals and that there is strength in numbers.  Your Chapter officers have done an exemplary job at all levels.

The PGA of America has done a good job of addressing the same challenges on a much larger scale.  I commend our leaders for creating a disaster relief program and for looking for ways to help the PGA professional and his family.  The always-present problem of inurement for our non-profit Association has once again created problems as they have looked at dues for the Professional.  Our Association has reacted quickly to the effects of the pandemic.  I have been impressed with the collaborative efforts of many of golf’s Associations on our behalf.  I applaud both our Association and the Section for the amount of information and visions shared to modify operations, in some cases halt operations, educate about relief aid, and providing the Back2golf guidance for the PGA Member.

Our world is a long way from finished with the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are going to continue to have difficult decisions to make in all aspects of our business and lives.  I am confident our Section, Chapters, and the PGA of America will continue to deliver in these extraordinary times.  In times like these we can all be proud to be PGA Professionals.


Chris M. Nowlen, PGA

GM/Director of Golf, Missoula Country Club

406.251.2404 / 406.241.9854