CEO's Report

Jeff Ellison, PGA

Wow, September 15 already! It’s been a very busy season here in the office, I hope your year was successful and profitable! Your Section and Chapters strive to deliver programs and services to help you maximize the benefit of your PGA membership. Let us know what we can do better and what existing services you really like (so we don’t change them).

The Pacific Northwest Section Merchandise Show, Annual Meeting and Education program moves to Portland this year and is also a week early. We will be at the Oregon Convention Center (near the Moda Center) on October 14-16. Don’t head out to the Expo or you might be surprised! We have a strong education program with offerings on Monday and Wednesday. The Annual Meeting is again at 7:30 AM on Wednesday morning, which will be preceded by a nice breakfast thanks to Pelzer Golf. The popular Pro-Vendor changes both time and format. We will visit TopGolf at 7:00 PM on Monday night! Please register yourself and your buyers for the Show, register early for education and most importantly sign up for the Pro-Vendor no later than September 30.

Register for the Show

Register for Education

Register for the Pro-Vendor

I’ve talked at length about PGA Junior League and the benefit it brings not only to the game, but to the professionals who embrace this fantastic program. Thanks to all of our coaches, the Pacific Northwest Section eked out a narrow victory and we are the #1 PGA Junior League program among the 41 Sections. In total, 3,395 kids participated in our Section in 2019. This represents a 17.7% increase over 2018 and builds on a long history of growth. If you are not taking full advantage of this opportunity, please call our PGA Junior League Regional Manager, Branden Thompson at 503-869-2827 to find out why so many of your peers are using this program to benefit their kids, their facilities and themselves.

Your chapter is actively seeking nominations for the chapter Special Awards. Through this program, we strive to recognize the very best professionals in each chapter who excel in each of the 11 categories. We need your help identifying your peers and if you are nominated, please respect the person who thinks you are pretty terrific and complete your bio. Modesty is a virtue, but there is a time to toot your own horn and this is it! Let the Committee decide if your efforts are deserving of special recognition. Visit your chapter website to find out more or contact your chapter awards chair.

If you are a PGA Associate or employ a PGA Associate, please remember the Section’s Associate Mentoring Program requires Associates to attend one meeting, one qualifying education seminar and play once. Letters just went out regarding your individual situation. Meetings will all be held during September and October. Don’t wait, your only chances left are the Section Annual Meeting in Portland and the Fall Chapter Meeting. Plan today. Chapters will fire up their education calendars soon, check in with your chapter education chair if you are short. Finally, know your chapter event schedule, three of the chapters are about done!

We’ve released the 2020 Section Tournament Schedule. As you can see, we have another terrific line up. We are very fortunate to have such a great schedule. My thanks to all our 2019 host professionals and those of you who helped us add your fine facilities for 2020!

Click here for the schedule

Sometimes I hear “what does National do for me?” Two very immediate services are provided by Monte Koch and Branden Thompson, both National employees who are solely funded via National with their focus squarely here in the Northwest. Monte provides not only employment services, and of course his educational road shows each spring and fall, but he also spends a considerable amount of his time individually coaching professionals to be better. Our PGA Junior League program would not be the same without Branden. With 3,400 kids on 361 teams, it’s a monumental task to form leagues, coordinate playoffs for 64 All-Star teams and facilitate your needs with National. Think for a moment of the funding the Section would have to develop just to offer these services on our own! We appreciate both of their support and all they do for the 1,200 professionals in the Section.  Thank you, gentlemen.

Have a great fall, enjoy the break the rains will bring and I hope to see you in Portland at the Merchandise Show and Annual Meeting.

Jeff Ellison, PGA
CEO, Pacific NW Section PGA

District #14 Director's Report

Don Rea, PGA

When my Dad passed away about a year ago, I posted about it on Facebook.  I’m not sure why—I guess I wanted my friends that are on Facebook to find out from me instead of someone else that I was hurting.  Funny, we all have a phone with us all of the time, but it seems we would rather text or type than talk.  That’s too bad because we all know that tone is easily misunderstood with the written word, but you can tell just by hearing someone’s voice what’s on their mind.

No doubt there are Facebook friends, but don’t forget you have real friends on Facebook too.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy reading their posts and keeping up with their lives and how their kids are doing.  I do the same with my fellow PGA Professionals.  I like to wish them “Happy Birthday” or congratulate them on a new job, even though I may have never met them before.  We can use the power of digital to deepen the bond we have as PGA Professionals.  Only PGA Professionals know what other PGA Professionals go through.  Balancing family, faith, friends, and fun while tending to the daily needs of a golf course is very challenging, as we all know. 

Unfortunately, I am seeing more posts by PGA members on Facebook and other social media outlets talking negatively about the PGA. Every PGA Professional is obviously entitled to their opinion. As I have said before, each one of us is an owner of this association.  There is talk about whether we are members or professionals of the PGA, but at the end of the day, we are all owners of the PGA. I think about my club, Augusta Ranch, and can’t imagine one of our staff members going online to blast the condition of the greens or detailing one of our service failures. We keep that “in the family” and talk about it in our staff meetings.  Everyone at Augusta Ranch knows that if they were to tell the world when we don’t do as well as we should, we would only hurt our reputation, eventually our financial performance and finally the very jobs that support our families.  So, we work hard to make sure our guests see us at our best.

I wonder when a PGA member goes on social media to tell the world how bad we are, if they realize they are hurting all of us—our reputations, the association we own and our sponsor relationships.  No doubt, I am not happy with everything the PGA does. Heck, that is why I ran for the SWS Board 14 years ago.  I have written countless emails and made hundreds of phone calls to comment and complain about those things I didn’t understand or agree with.  I know that not everyone has the time to run for a board position or even to be on a committee.  However, I wish we would only text, type or talk about our concerns and criticisms to other members, Section/Chapter committee members, board members or national leaders instead of telling those “outside of the family.”  It would not only be a more effective way to affect change, but also protect our brand. 

The most powerful lesson my Dad ever taught me was that our family name was something to protect, respect, honor and elevate.  When we as PGA Professionals put PGA at the end of our name, at the end of an email or post, we are telling the world that PGA is our family.  Let’s not forget that our students, members, vendors, family and friends are reading every word.

Please reach out if you ever have a question, comment or concern. Give me a call at Augusta Ranch – (480) 354-0802 #102. email me at:

Once again, thanks for the opportunity, God Bless and have a great day. 

Don Rea, PGA

Building a Career on Your Strengths, Part II

Monte Koch, PGA of America Employment Consultant

Finding the Right Fit, or Altering the Fit to Make it Better for You

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.” – Jim Rohn

After week one of the NFL season, all teams, especially the coaches are evaluating what went right and what went wrong. While it’s true they had four pre-season games, they understand week one was the truest test of the plans and team they put together during camp, pre-season and when they cut to their 53-man roster. For coaches like Pete Carroll, the Monday after Week 1 is the first “Tell the Truth Monday.” (TTTM)

In last month’s article, we unpacked the why for applying StrengthsFinder concepts to successfully build your career so that you are better able to flourish and find what you believe is success (for you.) To recap, we dug into three solid reasons (provided by Kathie Sorenson, the former consultant with Gallup and Steve Crabtree, Senior Editor and Research Analyst at Gallup) as to why StrengthsFinder concepts apply including:

Click here to read last month’s article

It would seem that “Tell the Truth Monday” is where discussions happen around a player’s weaknesses, their lapses in performance and “how can we avoid putting player X in that situation where he won’t be successful?”

And that brings us to concept #4.

4) What about your weaknesses?

What? You’re probably thinking, “But that is what everyone else focuses on with me. My weaknesses are what have kept me from getting to the place I want to be.” (I understand that tendency to focus too much on weaknesses. I fight that tendency every day.) Sorenson and Crabtree state, “Don’t focus on your limitations—but don’t ignore your weaknesses altogether, either. Instead, identify their source. Are they talent-based? Or are they rooted in lack of education, experience or opportunity?”

The Top 5 StrengthsFinder report works to identify which innate talents we have so that we can apply them more often to help ourselves and the team (whatever that is) we are a part of. As suggested earlier, “talent-based weaknesses are situation-specific.” On Tell the Truth Monday, coaches are considering questions like “what situations, specifically, do we need to game plan for so we can avoid putting Player X in that performance-deficit situation again?” Of course, this makes sense, as the coaches (and the players) are looking to “avoid failure because of weakness(es).”

However, it would also seem that film-study and game planning also consider how to overcome the weaknesses, and the barriers to successful performance in the game when it matters most. At the NFL-level, players are constantly hit by the fact that their talent alone is no longer good enough to help them perform, deliver, excel and win. Players like Wilson, Brady, Brees and so many others have proven that preparation, study and similar help them perform at their best, often instinctively in the split-second time it takes to succeed in the tightest scenario.

What do we do with these pesky weaknesses that seem to be barriers to our success then? Sorenson and Crabtree suggest that we look carefully at our target role or career path. They encourage us to ask, “How would your non-talents affect you in that role? How important is that aspect of the work? Who could help you to compensate for those non-talents?” (The answer: Good mentors.)

5) Make sure your plan is one you would CHOOSE to do, not one you feel you SHOULD do

Sorenson and Crabtree state, “Most successful people would agree that developing a career plan is essential. You wouldn’t try to launch a new product, or manage an existing one, without a plan. Career development without a plan isn’t career development at all — it’s career risk!” If that is true, maybe you need some Career Coaching (and Planning) with me? Note: I’ll have an entirely new platform ready to go for just this purpose by November 1. How about we get started?

Again, Sorenson and Crabtree state it so clearly. They say, “Your plan should articulate the steps you will take to move your career development forward. Then it’s up to you to make them happen. If you detail the steps without taking them, your plan is worthless.”

They also strongly suggest that your plan be founded in the innate strengths you have. They should be linked, very clearly, to your talents; because it is within the use of your strengths, your talents that you and I are most likely to find the “recharging” fulfillment we are seeking. Jim Rohn, the highly respected business philosopher suggested that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” I have always loved that quote and it lines up well with this concept. Perhaps we should always consider the quality of the “career board” (made up of friends, mentors and coaches) that we invite (or allow) to help us (or hinder us) on our career path? Anyone on our “career board” should be individuals who are know our strengths, “believe the best” about us, and are willing to offer their insights, connections and support.

6) The test of development: results!

Finally, Sorenson and Crabtree state “Landing the position you want is only the initial outcome you should expect from your career plan. A role that “fits” who you are — one in which you thrive — is satisfying and motivating.”

Since NFL games in weeks 2 through 16 are coming, we get to see firsthand, the results of player development. Which coaching staff, which players are the best at maximizing their individual and team strengths and at minimizing the weaknesses and barriers to their game-winning success, on a weekly basis. In looking through this lens, we can see who the best head coaches (and staffs) truly are, can’t we?

If you’re a leader at your facility, how are your peers, your customers and members rating you as a coach?

If this article (and the one prior) were inspiring to you, I hope you’ll reach out to me soon about what you took away from it and what we might be able to do together to help you reach for and attain your short and long-term career goals.

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

PGA Jr. League

Branden Thompson, PGA - Regional League Manager

Spring/Summer Results
It’s official, the Pacific Northwest leads all sections in PGA Jr. League participation with 3395 PGA Jr. League players. We had 3082 players at the 13u level and 313 at the 17u level.  Those numbers add up to 17.7% growth over 2018. A special shout out to the Central Washington Chapter who led the growth numbers with an increase of 34%. That’s a huge number, especially considering the geographical challenges. What this really says is that we have a ton of engaged captains who do a great job delivering memorable experiences. Your consumers love it and are recruiting others for you.

We had a fantastic Section Championship at Eagle Crest Resort. First, a huge thank you to all the captains and facilities that participated or hosted events. The kids and families all had a great time. We had over 50 teams participate and that takes a lot of dedication from the Captains and their co-workers covering for them while at games. Thanks for making it a memorable experience. The Spokane Gleason team will be joining our repeating Section Championship team from Bellingham Skagit at the Regional Competition at Gold Mountain, September 14-15. Good luck to both!

2020 Planning
This is the perfect time to plan for next season. The feedback we get about PGA Jr. League is overwhelmingly positive from our consumers, over 70 Net Promoter Score. The one area that consumers would like to see improvement in is scheduling. It can be difficult to do early, but try to get a schedule set this winter. This could be the most important foundation for growing your program. Having an early schedule allows consumers to more easily include PGA Jr. League in their summer plans.

Across the nation, the focus for 2020 will be on enhancing the customer experience with PGA Jr. League. I look forward to getting together in small groups and exploring the best ways to get even better.  

The PGA Jr. League National Championship will take place before the next newsletter in October. Good luck to both teams at the Regional!

Branden Thompson, PGA

Open Events

Pacific Golf & Turf Pro-Am Championship | October 3-4, 2019

We have a few team spots available in the Pacific Golf & Turf PNW Pro-Am Championship at Pronghorn Resort on October 3-4. Spencer Schaub, PGA and Jerrel Grow, PGA will be our hosts as we play the Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio courses. The team entry fee includes carts. Don't miss out on this fun event at one of the best courses in the Northwest!

Learn more

Merchandise Show & Pro-Vendor Invitational | October 14-16, 2019

We are excited to take the PNW PGA Merchandise Show to the Oregon Convention Center on October 15-16. We have a strong education program with offerings on Monday and Wednesday. The Annual Meeting is again at 7:30 AM on Wednesday morning, which will be preceded by a nice breakfast thanks to Pelzer Golf. To kick off the week, join us for a brand new Pro-Vendor experience at Topgolf-Hillsboro on October 14.

Register for the Pro-Vendor

Register for Education

Register for the show

Coston Wins PNW Senior PGA Championship

by Molly Cooper, PGA Director of Tournament and Member Programs

Jeff Coston of Semiahmoo Resort won his eighth PNW Senior PGA Professional Championship by one stroke over Brent Murray of Oswego Lake CC. Coston previously has won this event back in 2006-2011 and 2013. In 2006, he also went on to win the National Senior PGA Professional Championship.

“Winning is rewarding every time. This year has had some challenges, so to overcome challenges is satisfying,” said Coston of the win.

The Senior Championship took place at Bear Creek CC in Woodinville, WA—Coston previously won this event when hosted here in 2011.

“I feel through my experience in tournament play, failures and some success, I create a good strategic game plan,” said Coston when asked how Bear Creek CC matches with his game. “Bear Creek is a different strategy than other courses. I stayed patient and let the game come to me.”

Brent Murray and Jeff Coston were tied after the first round. During the final round, Coston and Murray switched off taking the lead. However, Coston didn’t let the constant change in lead change his strategy or mindset.

“I did not pay much attention to their scores until 16 green. 17 is a super par 3 and 18 is a reachable par 5. I attempted to turn up the stereo a bit,” he said of figuratively amplifying his thoughts on his game to drown out distractions.

In addition to Coston and Murray advancing, Bob Rannow of Ocean Dunes Golf Links, Joey Carranza of Aldarra GC, Mark Tunstill of Mallard Creek GC, Mark Keating of OGA GC and Jim Schaeffer of Waverley CC all earned spots into the 31st Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac, to be played October 3-6 at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas.

Winning the Senior Division was Steve Reuhl of Bothell, WA, while JD Cline won the net competition in the net division.

Jeff Coston of Arrowhead GC also captured the Hugh Starkweather award, which goes to the low player for both rounds who is 60 years and older.

The PNW PGA would like to thank PGA Professionals David Kass, Jon Larson, JD Cline and the rest of Bear Creek CC’s staff for a wonderful week.

Final results

september 15, 2019

Foreword Press