It is So Very Good to Be Here

In January 1998, I had the good fortune to be selected by the Southern California PGA Section to start and lead the SCPGA Foundation.  Twenty-two years ago, my tenure in the service of golf and golf professionals began.

Since then, I have enjoyed some of life’s highest highs and life’s lowest lows, but the one constant has always been the great game of golf.  Truth be told, as a young and only somewhat experienced candidate, I probably had no business being selected in that search.  No matter, I had a job to do and I would not fail that membership. I am pleased with what the SCPGA Members and I accomplished together. That is my “report card.” I worked for them and for the game.

On September 1, 2020, I had the very good fortune to begin my tenure as your fifth Chief Executive Officer.  This time, I come to the largest and arguably the strongest Section of the PGA.  Over the last twenty-two years I have had the privilege of leading and growing some of the country’s largest organizations.  Over the last four years, I was invited to become Chairman of the same SCPGA Foundation I started in 1998.  While I didn’t play as much golf as I’d like, my passion and volunteer involvement to advance the game and the Member never wavered.  I am very lucky to now be in service to all of you.   I am indebted to the Selection Committee for this extraordinary opportunity.  I am sincerely thankful to Jeff Ellison, not only for his thirty-one years of commitment to the Section, but also for leaving behind a strong organization and an exemplary staff.

I learned a long time ago that life is about making—and especially about keeping—promises.  In the Pacific Northwest Section, we do this by ensuring that we are unfailing in our service to the Members and Associates.  Over the short-term, expect us to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on our Members, our events, and our sponsors.  We will do everything permitted by the appropriate authorities on the management of the pandemic, and we will be limited only by our creativity and our desire to innovate as we find solutions to the challenges we are forced to overcome during this time.   Our pivot to a “virtual” Merchandise Show is one such example.

Over the long-term, expect the Section to diversify our sources of revenue.  When organizations put all their proverbial eggs in one basket, they risk finding that basket empty one day.  We will not allow that to happen.   While there are a number of economic realities that we are all facing today, we need to be prepared for when these realities improve.  We need to be ready to again play offense, rather than defense.

Begin to anticipate the relentless and increasingly aggressive promotion of you, our Members.  You are experts in the game and an unrivaled resource for those who play and those who wish to play.  Expect to read more about yourselves, see more about your work, and hear more about what you and your colleagues are doing in and around our Section through traditional and some non-traditional media channels.  The Pacific Northwest Section and its Members and Associates cannot afford, nor do they deserve, to be the best kept secret in golf.

Finally, look forward to an even more coordinated rally of resources around your employment options and career goals.   Insuring suitable, gainful, and attainable employment was already a promise we must keep.  Covid-19 and the resulting economy makes that promise more important than ever.  Gone must be the days when a PGA Member is forced to leave the industry he or she loves because of money, time, or opportunity.  A “professional” must be treated as such, and you will.

Again, it is so very good to be here.  No matter the challenges, the opportunities make this the best place in the world for us to be, all of us.  There is an often-quoted proverb that instructs: “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  Let’s go far.