Jeff Ellison, PGA
What a month for all of us. A month ago, we had just met to postpone our first round of events and were hard at work planning for the unknown. Since that time it’s been a month of tracking government regulations in five states, helping professionals navigate the ever changing regulatory environment, diving into the details of the CARES Act and other relief opportunities and working with your terrific staff to develop a routine of working together while we all work remotely. Like with all of you, adaptability seems to be the key to success.
Through this process our focus is on our people. It is on all our members and associates, it’s on our vendors and sponsors, it’s on our host facilities, it’s on our golfers and it’s on our staff. For members and associates we built a COVID-19 resource page to pull information together in one location. The Board removed the previously scheduled 2020 cost of living dues increase and is working with National to delay the due date until October 31. The Board also relaxed procedures and requirements for associates. We also just finished our first round of virtual Town Hall Meetings. We’ve reached out to our sponsors to keep them posted on changes, we’ve talked to our early host professionals to make sure we are all on the same page. We are taking steps to manage our business so our staff is safe and still able to serve the membership. It’s been a busy few weeks. Every day the question is what’s coming next and how do we prepare to re-open.
On the National front, I can tell you that the PGA Member and the Sections have been at the forefront of many, many discussions. Doug Doxsie represents us on the Board of Directors and has been on daily conference calls during this period. The efforts made on your behalf have been outstanding and great to witness. Your officers and I have been on a constant stream of calls with the National leadership and it has been impressive to see the progress. National has also created a resource page for you on PGA.org. Please visit it regularly to keep up on the latest information.
With the restrictions in place, whether it’s social distance golf or no golf, many of you are experiencing a financial hardship. If you are laid off, apply for unemployment. The funding is available without the usual waiting period and the CARES Act increased the weekly maximum by $600.
The Golf Emergency Relief Fund is designed to help support you in this time and the application goes live on April 16. Please check it out and apply promptly at 2:00 PM EDT as the applications are approved first come, first served. This fund can provide direct assistance to PGA Professionals.
If you are responsible for your business look into the CARES Act, the resources are there to help you. We have links on our COVID-19 page. Research the Payroll Protection Program, the Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit, the EIDL SBA loans and check your state resources to see what they are offering. The options change daily so keep researching.
The Section Board and staff is working to reschedule events, working through our finances with a completely new budget to manage expenses, maximize purses and work for you on reduced revenues. We are utilizing all the new CARES Act tools we can access including the Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit, EIDL SBA loans and even a line of credit with our bank. It’s all in an effort to best serve you while retaining our long-term financial strength. We have contingency plans for our contingency plans and it becomes much easier if we are playing soon! We will be ready when the environment is again favorable for Section and Chapter events and definitely look forward to seeing all of you.
For now, be safe, take care of your people and we’ll emerge from this with a new fire to show the value of golf in providing a safe way out of this stay at home world.
If you need the staff, all the emails are on our web page and you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell 360-790-6971.
Jeff Ellison, PGA
Doug Doxsie, PGA
I sincerely hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this health crisis. With the large geographic boundaries of our section involving five states and five chapters, operations of golf are ‒ needless to say ‒ all over the map. I am confident you are being leaders at your facilities and reinforcing the value of being a PGA Member or Associate. I have heard some amazing stories of our golf professionals doing great things and hope you will share best practices and what you are doing with others.
Over the last week, I have had the pleasure of participating in the Chapter Town Halls provided by our section. We plan to do another round soon. If you didn’t participate the first time, please join us to share ideas, gather information and, more importantly, share some time with your fellow golf professionals during this stressful time. Part of these Town Halls include an update on what the PGA of America is doing to assist Members, Associates and Sections during this crisis. I have heard more than a few times over the years, “what does the PGA do for me”? I think the situation we are in shows the strength of our association. The staff, officers and board at PGA headquarters is doing a remarkable job coming up with ways to assist all of us. Here are just some things that the PGA of America has implemented and provided us:
More than ever, this is the central location for useful information on the COVID-19 situation, our association and the golf industry. The content and tools provided here change daily, if not hourly, to give the latest in resources to assist you. I encourage you to spend some time on pga.org if you haven’t already. There are numerous resources about the CARES ACT, SBA Loans and Grants, IRS resources and more. The staff has done an incredible job putting useful content for us all here.
The MSR cycle was extended a year to 2022. It was important to eliminate the need for attending meetings or education in person and to take a pressure point off all golf professionals while we deal with this crisis. Likewise, the Associate education and membership timelines were extended one year for all in the program.
Sections receive two ADP funding payments a year from National. These are critical dollars to sections for their operations. The first payment was made to sections 60 days earlier this year to assist sections with their cash flow during this challenge.
The entire education library has opened up for free for 90 days. You can enjoy all the education materials, including specialization and certification programs for no cost as a resource to you.
There are two components to our yearly dues; the National portion (which is relatively low cost) and ‒ more importantly ‒ the Section portion. The Section portion is vital to the financial health of sections so they can operate and provide programs. Your dues payment deadline will be extended to help all during this time. At this writing National dues will be extended until October 31st (rather than June 30th) and section dues delayed at least until July 31st. Of course, you can pay both if able by July 31st as an option as well. Hopefully this will give those suffering financial strain some more time.
This might be the thing I am most excited about. PGA Professionals and Associates will be able to apply for grants if they are suffering personal financial hardships due to this crisis. The PGA of America, Senior Staff, Officers, Board Members and industry partners have all contributed to this multi-million dollar fund to assist our golf professionals in need.
The content on pga.org, emails coming out almost daily and the weekly videos from Suzy Whaley and Seth Waugh are just some examples of how the PGA is delivering helpful information to us. I encourage you to be engaged with these communication efforts because they are valuable.
One of the challenges to our PGA of America at a time like this is our not-for-profit 501 C (6) tax status. It makes it a challenge to find ways to pass direct benefits down to our PGA Golf Professionals. For instance, we can’t just waive dues. However, everyone at HQ is working tirelessly to find ways to assist right now working in the parameters we are allowed to. Everyone involved is constantly searching for ways to help.
Apologies for the length of this article but there is a lot going on. I encourage you to feel comfortable reaching out to me if you have any questions, comments or needs during this time. I represent all of you in the national board room and am here to help.
In closing, I heard this a few days ago and it hit home with me being in Washington State and no golf allowed:
"The first thing I am going to do when golf resumes is go straight to my nearest golf course, walk onto the first tee, tee up my ball, take a deep breath, and appreciate being back in my happy place before I hit my shot."
"The second thing I am going to do is hit a provisional."
Doug Doxsie, PGA
Seattle Golf Club
PGA District 14 Director
Monte Koch, PGA of America Employment Consultant
Can you believe it? It’s been about a month since COVID-19 got real for us here in the PNW. In that time, we’ve seen a lot of things happen. Some of them have been special and others have been really frustrating, confusing and challenging.
For those of us who are PGA professionals who operate, manage, coach, engage and are basically “doin’ work” (an homage to Kobe there), it’s the things we can’t solve or fix that wear us down. Whether we leverage it or not, we are “connectors” and community managers at the “golf parks and villages” where we work and where we play the role of “Mayor” or “Governor” for those who love the game like we do. In this last month, we have all been forced to play the role of “connector” differently or, in some cases, we’ve not been able to play the role at all.
Sure, we have been able to be part of Google Meet video calls, chats, town halls and maybe even some “happy hours.” These are better than no contact at all, but the sheer number of them for everyone (from business people, to students and everything in between) is taking its toll on us. Apparently, there’s a reason for this. Gianpiero Petriglieri, a management professor at INSEAD (A Worldwide Business School), summed up how we feel after a while in these digital connection opportunities:
“I spoke to an old therapist friend today and finally understood why everyone’s so exhausted after the video calls. It’s the plausible deniability of each other’s absence. Our minds tricked into the idea of being together when our bodies feel we’re not. Dissonance is exhausting.”
That really resonates with me – you’re exhausted, but your body feels like it hasn’t earned the right to be so tired. Same for me, your neighbors across the street and the person 6 feet away from you.
Yes, this “social distancing” thing is designed to protect us (and evidence shows that it does), but it’s hard on our mental health. Being able to shake on a deal or high five on a win are so much more than just human touch. These gestures are the ways we bond, the ways we build trust and rapport and the ways we encourage one another.
With that in mind, here are some tips on digital communication:
As a final thought, I’ve really appreciated the recent Chapter Town Halls hosted by Sean Fredrickson, Jeff Ellison and Doug Doxsie ‒ and I really appreciate the opportunity to be on them too. Though I would like to be able to connect in person with each attendee, the connection on video is still better than nothing at all.
If I could sum up one thought I’ve been sharing on each of these Town Halls, it would be this – “We’re All in This Together.” The key in that phrase is together. We are peers, part of a PGA family and in these times where anxiety and frustration are at newly found highs, we might be tempted to “should on each other” in a way that is not fair, or at least lacks judgment.
Members, customers or friends might come to us and say, “I just heard that XYZ Golf Course is doing this or that, and that is wrong, or that is reckless or not proper,” etc. If you have a concern about how your neighboring facility is operating within the “appropriate guidelines”, please BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR and take the time to go directly to the golf professional who is leading the operation. Instead of focusing on being right, let us decide in advance that we will: 1) Call them, 2) ensure they know that we care and then 3) ask them about what they’re doing in that situation and 4) get the details and the context for why they’ve chosen to do it that way.
Let’s pray this thing ends sooner than we all expect and that we can once again be the Mayors, Governors or whatever “connector” you like being referred to in your PGA role. In the meantime, if you’re dealing with any issues related to your career, your income or you’re looking for an opportunity to grow in your career, please know that I’m here to assist you.
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: Mkoch@pgahq.com Cell: 206/335-5260
Internship, non-PGA positions, strictly retail and “franchise” ownership positions will not be listed here.Please visit jobs.pga.org to see these types of opportunities.
Listed in order of most recent first. Note: these are listed as of 8 AM, April 14, 2020. Positions listed here are not guaranteed to be available. Visit jobs.pga.org to see the most current listings.
|Job Title||Facility||PGA Contact (if applicable)|
|ASSISTANT GOLF PROFESSIONAL||Canterwood GCC, Gig Harbor, WA||Jim Gillies, PGA|
|ASSISTANT GOLF PROFESSIONAL||Bandon Dunes GR, Bandon, OR||Steven Borror, PGA|
|ASSISTANT GOLF PROFESSIONAL||Rainier G&CC, Seattle, WA||Darren Black, PGA|
Note: not all positions like these will be posted here; instead, postings will generally be at the request/approval of the employer.
|Job Title||Facility||PGA Contact (if applicable)|
|HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONAL||Crooked River Ranch, Terrebone, OR|
To apply for assistance from the Golf Emergency Relief Fund and to find further details, visit relief.golf. Applications will be live this Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 2 p.m. ET. FAQs as they become available will also be posted on the website:
The fund is designed to provide short-term financial assistance to certain individuals working in the golf industry, including PGA of America Professionals, who are facing significant financial hardship right now, including those suffering as a result of COVID-19.
For this relief effort, the PGA of America has made a lead pledge of $5 million, plus a matching fund for gifts from third parties of up to $2.5 million. The initial contribution includes every member of the PGA’s executive leadership team voluntarily reducing their compensation. Personal donations have also been made from our Board of Directors. With matching, we hope the fund grows to over $10 million.
The effort is also being supported in various ways by a number of industry organizations, including the GCSAA, PGA TOUR, LPGA, USGA, NGCOA and AGM.
The fund is managed by E4E Relief, an independent third-party public charity, which will provide grants to certain industry workers, including golf association members, employees of local/state golf associations, caddies and certain professionals playing on developmental tours to help offset COVID-19 related financial hardships, such as living and medical expenses.
Click the link, and then click on your home state – then click in the table to go directly to the labor department website. Do you feel that you are not receiving the same amount of income now as you did in 2019? If your answer is yes, you should consider applying for unemployment right away.
|State:||Secondary state option:|
|Idaho||ID for Employees|
|Montana||MT for Employees||MT for Self-Employed/ICs|
|Oregon||Oregon CARES Act 1-Pager|
|Washington State (Employment Services)||Washington State (Layoff Assistance)|
If you are a 1099 employee, an S-Corp or an LLC (eg. some part of your income is from a source that is not a W-2, or own your own shop, there may be options for you. As a 1099, you may benefit most from unemployment. If you’re an S-Corp or an LLC, your best option may be the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).
Branden Thompson, PGA - Regional League Manager
As we wait for the word to start working back to “normal”, here are some opportunities to connect over the next couple weeks. The one thing I’m sure will be important after this pause is the importance of engaging your customers. There will be opportunities to lead that process at your club. Now is the time to prepare for the opportunity. My goal is to engage you in discussions with each other toward that end. Below are some current chances to do so. Please join me on any of these video calls.
The instructions to join any of these are below. I hope to see you soon.
Community Connection Chats: You are welcome to join any of these although I would like to focus them between captains with closed facilities and captains with open facilities.
PGA Jr. League Work Sessions: These sessions are focused on designing the PGA Jr. League experience at your facility. These are great opportunity for new Captains AND experienced captains to take a fresh look at the program and what you want your consumers to get out of it. Please download the worksheet noted below and watch the Simon Sinek "Start With Why" video. Both the long and short versions are noted below. Please RSVP for this session by emailing me at email@example.com. Call Schedule:
One on One Chats: Here is a calendar with bookable times for one on one chats. Click the link to the calendar and choose time that works for you. I'll send you a meeting link once you book it.
Branden Thompson, PGA
Regional League Manager
Hello fellow PGA Professionals. My name is Chris Nowlen. It is my pleasure to be a candidate for Section Secretary. I hope you are all safe and healthy in these unprecedented times.
I am a native Montanan, graduate of the University of Montana, and graduate of the PGA GPTP program. Recently, I completed the Executive Management Certification Program. I love the business and the game of golf. My experiences as a PGA Professional are well rounded. I have worked at both public and private facilities, teaching, merchandising, managing events, and managing teams, both large and small. As a GM, I have experience in all aspects of the business.
Like you, I am proud to be a PGA Professional and very fortunate to have all the experiences golf has given to me. My appreciation for what we do and the people we connect with through the game has been amplified by the situations we are faced with today. The game is such a strong vehicle for bringing people together, supporting communities, driving revenue, and enhancing fundraising. The relationships fostered through golf help bond people to work together and help one another in times like these. That is powerful.
I have been a PGA Professional for 21 years and currently hold the position of General Manager/Director of Golf at Missoula Country Club. I have served through the officer positions of the Western Montana Chapter twice, in the early 2000’s and currently, giving me the opportunity to serve on the Section Board both times, as well. I was also a candidate for Section Secretary against Steve Prugh years ago. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing PGA Professionals that have gifted me with more than I can possibly give to the PNW Section. It has been an amazing experience and made me appreciate the opportunity to run for Secretary of the Section.
The Pacific Northwest Section is one of the strongest in the country. We are blessed with our programs, leadership, and tournaments. Our five Chapters are very strong and active. Some large and some small, we are all making a difference in communities and providing a wonderful game to our customers, members, and players. Our partnerships with sponsors throughout our Section drive business and impact communities. We raise hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout our five states for various charitable causes. Again, that is powerful.
There are substantial challenges ahead for our Section with Jeff Ellison’s retirement and the impact of recent global events. Our Section leadership is filled with talented people, poised to get us through this tough time. I am running for Section Secretary because I believe in the PGA, our Section, and our Chapters. I want to provide leadership and utilize my skills to serve our membership.
In conclusion, thank you, Jeff for all you have done. We have large shoes to fill in your absence. The next hire will be key in building on our accomplishments. I am also proud to be able to run against Bill Shea this year. We both bring strong leadership skills to the Section. The process will make us both better professionals, and the victor will be a stronger Secretary for you. I am excited for the process and hopeful to be the next PNW PGA Section Secretary.
Chris M. Nowlen, PGA
GM/Director of Golf, Missoula Country Club
406.251.2404 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Although I understand the need to plan for the future of our Section, I would be remiss if I didn’t say what a strange time this is to campaign for the PNWPGA Secretary. Instead of checking in 150 players on this gorgeous day and watching Tiger defend his Masters title, we find ourselves facing incredible challenges within the golf business. Some of the 5 states that represent our section are currently open for business, but by the time this article is posted who knows how many will still be. My club is in Washington, and therefore has been closed for a while now. As I find myself temporarily furloughed for the first time in 37 years, it has given me an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate I have been to work in a business that never actually feels like work. Growing a beard, reconnecting with family and fixing up my home is my new norm for the next month. However, this is a great time to reset our business plans, review marketing strategies and understanding our labor needs. I feel very confident that when golf opens back up, we will be stronger than ever.
My name is Bill Shea and am currently the WWCPGA President. I am the GM and Director of Golf at The Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim, WA and the Director of Golf at Peninsula Golf Club in Port Angeles, WA. I have been married for 24 years and have two kids attending Western Washington University.
I have been involved with governance in the WWCPGA basically since I joined in 1997. I have served on several different committees starting with the Assistants Committee to now serving as a Chapter President 23 years later. The Cedars at Dungeness has hosted a pro-member event for as long as I can remember, and I have hosted the WA Senior Open for the last fifteen years with an annual sponsorship of $10,000.
As this is an introduction letter, for those of you that don’t know me it is important for me to share more about myself and hopefully help you understand the character of the candidate you’ll be voting for. I will use my last name as an acronym for what I stand for and the character I possess.
Stability: I have worked in governance for 23 years, married for 24 & with the same club for 23.
Honesty: I am a very honest person and never have a hidden agenda. I am here to support each member across all five chapters.
Empowerment: Providing growth and career advancement to professionals through great playing and educational opportunities, as well as supporting them with engagement, mentorship & involvement.
Accountability: Holding myself and your Section Board to the highest level of ethics and accountability.
My “why” I want to become Section Secretary is a great question. This certainly wasn’t a long-term plan 23 years ago when started. I became involved because I was new to this section and didn’t know anyone. I figured getting involved would be a great way to network and meet other professionals. I was right, as I have met so many amazing professionals, mentors & leaders in those 20+ years. In that time, I have come to understand the need for great leadership and have learned from some of the greats on how they paved the successful path that our Section now finds itself. I have become a strong leader, given a lot to our Section and want to continue on as Section Secretary. I look forward to getting to know you all better.
Take care and be safe,
Bill Shea, PGA
Director of Golf / General Manager, The Cedars at Dungeness
O: 360.582.4903 | M: 360.775.0714