CEO's Report

Welcome to our latest innovation to ForeWord Press – twice-monthly editions designed to make our communications more timely and more efficient for you; shorter editions in response to your busy schedules. Thank you Marlena Cannon for your efforts to serve our members.

A big congratulations to Caleb Hung of Overlake G&CC who was just selected to join PGA Lead.   Caleb is our seventh Section member to be selected for this prestigious program.    PGA Lead is designed to train our next generation of leaders. In response to this need, you will see a Section program roll-out in 2019 that will be delivered at the Chapter level.   Our Board is designing this effort and of course we’ve drafted one of the original PGA Lead candidates, our new Section Secretary Howie Pruitt to “lead” the program.  Look for more information soon.

“Grow the game” is part of our mission statement and we will soon release applications for the 2019 Yamaha Player Development Grants.   Now in its FIFTH YEAR, this program supports your efforts to grow the game.  It’s not about a Section program; it’s about $14,000 distributed to support YOUR programs.  Look for the application soon and apply!   Our thanks to Ben Foreman and Yamaha for their continued support.

The Pacific Northwest Section PGA Junior Fund will also be offering a Youth Player Development Grant program.  This is driven by your contributions to the 1% Club, either mail in your check or go to the web site to contribute online.

One Percent Club Payment Form

Forty Section professionals enjoyed another great Bandon Dunes Playing Workshop, thanks to the terrific staff at Bandon Dunes and our new sponsor Jason Fenton of Honma. The Bandon team puts on a good show. Look for us to return next December. I’m finalizing dates this week…. and no you can’t sign up right now!

We are off to Ireland, September 21-28, 2019. We already have two teams in the door, give me a shout for details about professional pricing. Our courses are some of the best links experiences in the world. If you like golf, beer, whiskey and the color green, this trip is for you.

PNW Ireland Pro-Am

We are just two weeks away from a major update to the Rules of Golf. Be sure you have the book and load the app on your phone or tablet. I’m sorry, but you better spend a little time learning the changes. Simply put, more rules have changed than stayed the same, so please do a little prep before we have to talk in the scoring tent. The OGA and WSGA are offering seminars, many chapters have already started programs and I will work with our great partner Golf Genius to develop a road show for you offering education on both the Rules and Golf Genius. There are great resources online at Also look for a digital tool kit headed your way from the USGA before the end of the year that will help you share the changes with your members. There’s nothing hard to understand, there are just a lot of changes.

Finally, our 2019 Section Tournament Schedule is complete and available. Make it a point to take advantage of the excellent events we offer. Whether it’s the Northwest Open or Ireland Pro-Am, we have something for you. Our chapters are also finalizing their schedules. Each of our five chapters offer an impressive array of events, find the ones that work for you and play. Play for your enjoyment, play to connect with your members or play to connect with your fellow professionals, or play for a piece of the $1,755,000 we paid out in 2018. But just play.

2019 Tournament Schedule

One final thank you to the tremendous staff that serves you every day, the crew in the office and the crew working in the chapters. All are here to help you enjoy your membership and prosper in your career. We welcome the opportunity to help you, just give us a call.

Happy Holidays,

Jeff Ellison, PGA
CEO, Pacific NW Section PGA

Thank You for Supporting Our Charities

Part of our strategic vision is to promote the philanthropic efforts of the Section and Chapters as well as individual PGA Professionals. Our chapters raised over $790,000 for organizations like Friends of American Lake, the Children’s Cancer Association and the Inland Empire Golf Course Superintendents Assoc.  The 2018 Section tournament program raised an additional $292,500 that went directly to Folds of Honor, the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and KIDS Center.

The Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Pro-Am’s official charity is Folds of Honor. The event helped raise $91,500 for the charity in 2018. Folds of Honor is a 501 (C)(3) charitable foundation supporting scholarships and assistance to the spouses and children of those killed or disabled in military service to America. We can honor those who fought for our freedom by serving the families they leave behind.

Since 1988, proceeds from the Rosauers Open Invitational have gone to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, Spokane’s safe haven for children at risk of abuse and neglect.  The Nursery provides vital services, including counseling, education and referrals for parents of young children in Eastern Washington.  The 2018 event made $100,000 for the charity, with over $2.975 million raised since 1988.  

The Oregon Open Invitational benefits Kids Intervention and Diagnostic Service (KIDS) Center, a child advocacy center serving Central Oregon.  Founded in 1994 by the community, KIDS Center works together with law enforcement, medical providers and social service agencies to create a supportive response to child abuse, as well as provide family support and therapeutic services.  The 2018 championship helped raise $3,000 for KIDS Center.

All of these charities are in need of more funds so they can continue making a difference in the community. In the spirit of the holiday season, we encourage you to donate to one or more of these deserving charities. For more information or to learn how to donate and help the following charities, visit the links below.

Happy Holidays from the Pacific Northwest PGA Section Staff!

Join the PNW PGA Junior Golf Fund 1% Club!

What is the Junior Golf Fund? The Pacific Northwest Section PGA Junior Golf Fund, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, committed to the future of golf by educating juniors and providing them the opportunity to play.

What does the Pacific Northwest Section Junior Golf Fund support?

The Junior Fund, Inc. supports a wide variety of programs and activities. Past beneficiaries include: The PNW PGA Junior Golf Fund Scholarship Program for PGA Member children and grandchildren; The First Tee of Olympia; The Inner City Youth Programs of Seattle and Tacoma; LPGA Urban Youth Program in Portland; The Children’s Course, near Portland; Montana Junior Golf Academy; and various other groups.

What is the 1% Club?

The 1% Club offers section golf professionals the opportunity to support Junior Golf in the Section by donating 1% of their chapter and section tournament and pro-am winnings to the Pacific Northwest Section Junior Golf Fund. Your donation is tax-deductible.

How do I sign up?


2019 PNW Ireland Pro-Am

The Section is headed to Ireland in 2019, and we're taking six teams with us! To help you with your schedules, we have moved the event to late September. The Irish courses will be hard and fast while yours have just been aerified. A perfect time for you to get away!

We will play six rounds on five fantastic links courses, highlighted by Ballyliffin on the far northwest coast:

Celtic Golf will once again professionally manage our trip and is happy to help you extend your stay.   Questions – Jeff Ellison 360-456-6496;  Celtic Golf – Greg O’Mahony 561-906-0837

Inspirations of the Season

Monte Koch, PGA of America Employment Consultant

“Why hire a PGA professional?” We have heard this often in the past years. Or, “how much of a difference can a PGA professional make to our operation?” In this article, I will endeavor to go beyond proving the value of a PGA professional. I believe hiring or allowing the right PGA professional to operate a facility will pay dividends quickly, drive long term and short-term facility health and drive revenues to the bottom line. As I highlight three of the best “business renovations” of the 2018 season, I hope to bring attention to the “renovation impact” of having the right PGA professional in place. Note: this is not about a building or course renovation. Instead, let’s view these as a renovation of a club or facility’s business operation and focus, which results in a much healthier bottom line.

When I say, “the right PGA professional in place,” I mean it. Not every PGA professional is going to be a fit at every facility, or in every situation. The right fit will produce better results, better outcomes and result in a better job. This is the yard-stick I believe we should be measuring by. Is the job better now because they hired THAT SPECIFIC PGA professional? Is the position better (higher compensation, more authority and stability, etc.) after the PGA professional moves on from the position?

In setting up each of these SOAR stories of success in “business renovations,” there are certainly some threads of continuity in them. In all three cases, the following is apparent:

  1. The facility had a top-line of revenues that was not maximized, and;
  2. A bottom line that was severely impacted by issues of waste, lack of business controls, lack of day-to-day leadership, employee turnover, poor hiring practices, low morale, etc.
  3. The facility was a “non-PGA facility” (having never employed a PGA professional, or not for 5+ years)
  4. The employer couldn’t pay “top dollar” per se for a PGA professional (because of items 1 & 2 above)
  5. Most PGA professionals didn’t see the opportunity as “a really good one.”
  6. Each of these PGA professionals not only saw the opportunity, but saw the challenges or threats with a “what if mindset.”
  7. All three professionals see their “renovation” as a multi-year project. They fought and won the early battles, carefully choosing which to fight, so they could earn trust/respect by their employer. In their 2nd season, their 3rd and beyond, I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in partnership with their employer and the golf community they are leading.

Flipping the Threats into Opportunity, and a Winning “Business Renovation”

Let’s share their SOAR Stories:

Learn more about SOAR Stories


[Semi-Private Category]

SITUATION Oroville GC (OGC) opened in 1959 and hadn’t had a PGA professional for nearly 50 years. Perisho started in Jan 2018. Some of leadership didn’t want a PGA professional there and actively campaigned against it. The facility is in a rural setting, and heavily relies on tourist traffic during the summer months.
OBSTACLES In Bruce’s first season, very significant flooding from snow melt was a real problem in May.  Many tourists were unable to travel to the area; ironically at this same time, the flooding did damage to OGC’s irrigation system causing water issues even though there was flooding. In August, fires and related smoke caused significant disruptions in tourism, so much so that local hotels and occupancy numbers were devastated.
ACTIONS Instead of sulking over the bad luck in May, and then in August, Perisho went to work to build, promote and execute creative events (like Nine & Dine Couples events), adding a set of forward tees. Perisho leveraged relationships to acquire a much-needed power leaf rake machine that allowed the golf course to be much more playable later into the season.
RESULTS Bruce’s actions, leadership and salesmanship were evident as he minimized the damage done to traffic/rounds numbers in May and August. Compared with prior years, OGC was flat in revenue for May and August, when there should have been a huge loss. Further, in June, July and September, OGC enjoyed revenues that were nearly double prior year for the same months.

[Private Club Category]

SITUATION After nearly 8 seasons without a PGA professional, Glen Acres (GA) was at a low point. Memberships were way down, the course conditioning was down, course maintenance equipment was in bad shape and so was morale overall.
OBSTACLES Funding to make improvements didn’t seem to be available. No one was available to really sell the Club’s memberships, or to activate and retain members, and recruit new ones; no one was available to sell group events, maximize tee sheet usage, drive new revenues and plan strategically for the Club.
ACTIONS In Dec 2017, GA’s Club leadership hired Dan to overcome the obstacles. Dan reinvigorated the entire membership program and drove new member spend through activation, engagement and newly recruited members. Dan was also integral to finding and hiring a new course superintendent, who’s done an incredible job of reconditioning the course, getting more out of the equipment, etc. Overall, members are very happy and excited about 2019 and beyond.
RESULTS In the first six months of the Club’s fiscal year (started May 1) Dan’s efforts netted Glen Acres an additional $90k in new revenues. This doesn’t include additional F&B member spend, merchandise sales and rentals. By mid-Nov 2018, the change in the club was very real, to the point that Dan and the GA staff had surpassed the entire FY18-19 in the first 6.5 months. Wow. The current club president recently said, “This is the healthiest we’ve been in 8 years.”

[Public Category]

SITUATION Without a solid, experienced golf manager and operator on site, there were significant issues with management, inventory maintenance, etc. There was significant lost revenue as events were scheduled, priced, etc. in ineffective, non-bottom line focused ways. Employee turnover was significant, communication with pass holders, Elks members, etc. was not productive and often opportunities were missed.
OBSTACLES Craig started around mid-June 2018, and as one could imagine, the first 5-6 weeks were very challenging. As he sought to change culture, develop and apply policies and create/build needed structure, he lost several employees who seemed not to like his changes. Loss of several employees was hard, but in the end, it was a good thing.
ACTIONS Craig had to endure the loss of these employees until he could recruit and hire employees who would buy into his “guest first” vision. Moore gutted out these tough weeks, developed the policies for the entire golf operation that would maximize the profitability of AGC while protecting each asset of the Club. He also started to plan events better, maximizing the tee sheet, and was able to recruit younger professionals who would support and execute this improved operational vision.
RESULTS Craig’s impact was startling. He was able to reduce loss from $250k loss in FYE’17, to likely only $30k loss in FYE’18 — and he only was on the job for 2nd quarter of the fiscal year and beyond; Moore saw near doubling of golf department income each month from June, July, Aug and Sept over previous years. In August ’17, Allenmore’s net income was $45k. In August ’18, the net income was $95k.

For 2019, can I challenge you to ask “what ifs” of your own, and within your own career radius?

As you can imagine, I have been inspired by so many of the PGA professionals in our Section this year. I’ve seen the three highlighted here, but I’ve also seen others launch and/or grow their own “player development businesses.” I’ve seen others leave the “name facility” and go to another one, resulting in huge success and very happy employers (who’ve told me about it.)

Now is the time to ask your “what ifs.” Don’t put it off, for your sake and the sake of your facility. If you’d like to get together with me to consider these “what if” questions, I’m in. When can we can make it happen? I appreciate the opportunity to help you (or those you lead) with your career and I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to partner with you on it soon.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant
PGA Career Services | PGA of America
Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections
Email: Cell: 206/335-5260

Career Planning and Coaching

Planning 2019 PGA Jr. League

Branden Thompson, PGA - Regional League Manager

Winter has arrived. Now that it’s planning season, it’s time to get a jump on PGA Jr. League. I’ve already had quite a few new facilities excited to join in, which is very encouraging. More kids playing PGA Jr. League means we are growing the game and helping captains become more valuable at their facilities.

Captain registration is open

To get a jump on league formation, please register by the end of January. Doing so will allow plenty of time to have league meetings and nail down schedules early in the year. During registration, you will also notice a new requirement to complete abuse awareness and prevention training in compliance with the Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. The program takes about 90 minutes to complete. The PGA of America is proud of our commitment to the safety of children involved in our programs and being a leader in this effort.

The Captain Resource Center is new this year.

Captain resource center

It is essentially a dashboard where you can access all PGA Jr. League items in one spot. Marketing materials, planning tools and more can be found there. Take some time to explore it. You’ll find some great stuff there to make running your teams easier.

The PGA Jr. League National Championship was a huge success.  Rick Blankenburg’s squad from Bellingham-Skagit represented our section very well.  They are motivated to return to the National Championship next year.  Once again, I come away from that event with even more appreciation about how special this program is.  Even though the competition level was high, nobody lost sight of what was most important; friendships, teamwork, and family.  It is truly a celebration of what makes PGA Jr. League great at all levels.  If you missed the broadcast on Golf Channel, here is a Vimeo link to it:

Watch the video

We’ve got three missions for 2019. The first is to help you expand your existing programs. For some of you, that is creating a second team. For others that may be running an in-house league. The goal is to bring the PGA Jr. League experience to more kids and create more golfers. The second mission is to grow 17u participation. There is a huge opportunity to keep the kids in the game during a time when they traditionally move away from it. Finally, let’s get more fall league opportunities going. Football and soccer tend to leave a little more room on the course in September and October, and there are still a lot of kids that would take advantage of a fall league. Don’t let them put the clubs away too early.

Contact me with any questions or help to grow your programs.  I look forward to seeing you this winter during captains’ meetings.


Branden Thompson, PGA

Happy Holidays from Holk

I hope to see you in Las Vegas, March 10-14, 2019!

Grant Holcomb

December 15, 2018

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