CEO's Report

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Frank Talarico

As the “dog days of summer” are now in full swing, the increased intensity of our summer months can lead to distraction and burnout for you and your teams.  This is exactly the opposite of what we would hope to achieve during any season, let alone our busy season when we should maximize our ability to capitalize on business opportunities and increased demand for our rounds, lessons, services.

What should we do to prevent a diminishing return on our time and efforts?  How can you keep teams focused while also helping them cope with the demands of the season?

Take care of yourself first

You’ll be better able to support your team and model resiliency if you acknowledge and manage any stress and anxiety you feel yourself. Start by taking the time to understand what you’re feeling. You want to label your emotions. Put distance between yourself and them so that you can make a conscious decision about how to act in a way that’s in line with your values.  Ask yourself, “Whom do I want to be in this situation? What’s most important to me?” If one of your core values is to be collaborative, for example, ask, “How can I help people feel like they’re part of the team?”

Ask people what they need

Talk with employees one-on-one and let them describe what they’re going through. Do some perspective-taking by putting yourself in their shoes. You want to truly understand what they think and feel, even if you don’t agree or feel the same thing. This empathy forms the basis of trust so that you can move into problem-solving mode. It seems like a tough time. What would be most helpful now? “Let’s think about it together, because I want to help and make sure you can get your work done.” Maybe they need some extra guidance on how to reduce distractions, advice on prioritizing their work, or increased flexibility.

Focus on what you do control

Research has shown that even small rituals can reduce stress and improve performance, as can incremental progress toward clearly defined goals. You might also give people more flexibility in dictating their work schedule, so long as you encourage them to plan and make an agreement that the performance expectations remain the same. Try to return to values as well. Even when a lot of power and choices are being taken away, you still get to choose whom you want to be. So help employees clarify what’s important to them. You can do this with the whole team. “How do we want to act during these times? How do we want to treat one another?” It helps a team stay grounded when you reassert and reaffirm a shared sense of purpose.

Encourage and model self-care

Sleep, exercise, and good nutrition are proven stress killers and productivity enhancers. So, encourage your team members to take care of themselves. For example, if an employee tells you she’s taking her phone to bed to read work emails or the news, you might suggest she leave it in another room. It’s not a manager’s place to dictate these behaviors, but it’s OK to give advice, especially based on your experience and what’s worked for you. 

While the temperature may be rising, our efforts at the section office are as focused as ever.  As is always the case, it takes great partners to effectively deliver the level of services our members deserve.  I am very proud to announce our newest partner, Garmany Golf.  Garmany Golf has signed a three (3) year contract worth considerable cash plus annual contributions of “bucket list” caliber trips for section promotions.  Among those promotions will be as an added incentive for member attendance at our annual Merchandise Show, and for sweepstakes to continue to steadily grow and monetize our consumer database. 

Garmany Golf is based in Los Angeles, California and was founded in 2009 with one primary purpose: to create unique and memorable golf travel experiences around the world, for guests with discerning tastes. From the outset Garmany has specialized in working with PGA Professionals and their members, ensuring that they both have a seamless and unforgettable experience.  The Garmany Golf concierge team takes much of the administrative leg work away from the Professional, allowing them to look forward to traveling with their members rather than having to deal with the organization of an experience.

The core value in all Garmany experiences is world class guest service. With both International and US Domestic experiences offered in their portfolio, all experiences are customized specifically to the interests and tastes of the club, group, or individual guest. 

For more information, contact Garmany Golf at

The Pacific Northwest PGA is one of the very few sections that offers a robust calendar of destination pro-ams.  Limited space is still available for our fabulous Hawaii, Mexico and Arizona events.  For more information, contact Denise Taylor today! 

[email protected]

Lastly, play in YOUR Section Championship! Entries are available now for the Assistant PGA Professional Championship on August 1, as well as the Senior PGA Professional Championship on September 8-9. Entries will be available on July 27 for the PNW PGA Professional Championship, to be held on September 20-22.

As always, if I or the Section staff may ever be of any service to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Frank Talarico, CEO
[email protected]

District #14 Director's Report

Doug Doxsie, PGA

I am sure you and your facilities are rocking in the Pacific Northwest. I hope all is well and you are managing some work-life balance as we enjoy this golf boom. I want to give you just a few quick updates on some PGA Association news.

The current Member Service Requirement (MSR) cycle ended in June, typically three years but extended to four because of the pandemic. The new three-year cycle has been renamed the Professional Development Requirement (PDR). We feel this more accurately reflects that this requirement is more than service; it has components of meeting attendance, education, programming and more. The method to earn points is largely the same with a few new options and requirements. We often get the question, “Why does the PGA have these requirements?” I think a professional organization like ours has an obligation to challenge our members to be better, stay up on technology, and things that are changing in our business and in the world. I compare it to CPA’s and attorneys that have continuing education. The more expertise we can demonstrate, the better it is for our members in employment, compensation, and career advancement. Check out the new guidelines and how to earn “credits” on

The name of the Disaster Relief Fund has been changed to the Medical and Disaster Relief Fund. This is more a true reflection of what PGA Members can apply for when facing hard times and need financial assistance. As you pay your dues this year, please consider donating to this fund. The fellow professionals that need our help are always out there and we can help them.

The new Regional Model is rolling out and we will see this benefit sections, members, and associates in many ways. Resources are being allocated to increase Career Consultants, Recruiters, Player Engagement Specialists, Section Operations, and more. The Regional Model will continue to evolve over time, with additional programs and initiatives but I am excited that we will have more help in the field for our PGA Professionals.

Finally, I want to recognize your incoming District 14 Director Jeff Lessig. He will take over my position officially in November and has been spending this year “shadowing” me and attending National Board Meetings. Jeff has demonstrated to all of us that he will be an asset in the board room. He comes prepared, asks thoughtful and probing questions, and will speak up for the best interests of PGA Members and Associates. I am excited for him to represent the Southwest and Pacific Northwest Sections.

I want to encourage you to call or email me anytime if you have a thought, question, or suggestion about our association. I am here to serve on your behalf, so I need to know what you are thinking!

Doug Doxsie, PGA
Seattle Golf Club
PGA District 14 Director
[email protected]

PGA Jr. League

Branden Thompson, PGA - Player Engagement Consultant

Here is your important National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship Season information. Please familiarize yourself with this if you will be involved. All-Star rosters are due by the end of the day on July 31st. Please start setting up your Championship Season Programs and Rosters ASAP. Instructions for doing that this year follow the schedule below.

PGA Jr. League PNW Section Championship Qualifier Sites and Dates

Both the 13u and 17u age divisions will be included in the Championship Season this year. Only 13u will advance past the Regional Championship.

The format will be nine-hole aggregate score, best three of the four scores from each team.

The top two teams in each age division from each site will advance to the PGA Jr. League PNW Section Championship at Eagle Crest Resort on August 20.

The top two teams in each age division will advance to the Regional Championship at Canyon Springs GC in Twin Falls, ID, September 9-11.

The National Championship will be held October 5-9 at Greyhawk GC in Scottsdale, AZ.

Important National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship Season Information

Please read the excerpt from Conditions of Play regarding very important information about the composition of All-Star teams. You want to make sure you understand the roster requirements for 2022.  They are the same as they were in 2021.

The entire conditions of play can be found here.

Instructions for Setting Up Your Championship Program and All-Star Team

The process is different from last year because it is supported by the new platform.  Follow these steps to create and roster your All-Star team.  These steps can be completed even if you don’t know which players will be participating, so please complete them ASAP.

Step 1 - Create Your Championship Season Program (MANDATORY if participating in All-Star Season)

Only All-Star eligible PGA Coaches (and the DESIGNATED All-Star Coach) will be able to create a Championship Season Program. On your Coach Dashboard, click “Create Program,” then complete the Championship Season form. Upon completing this information, you will then request approval from your Player Engagement Consultant (Branden Thompson, PGA). You can then invite players to the All-Star team from your Dashboard. You will only be able to add up to eight (8) players to a 13u All-Star team and up to six (6) players to a 17u All-Star team.

CLICK HERE for more instructions and a video on how to create a Champion Season Program.

Complete ASAP or by July 31st.

Step 2 - Create Your All-Star Team (MANDATORY if participating in All-Star Season)

All All-Star Players must be registered to the Championship Season Program on the website in order to participate.  Once your Championship Season Program is approved, the All-Star Coach can create and roster Players to an All-Star Team.

CLICK HERE for more instructions and a video on how to create your All-Star Team.

Now, you can invite your players! (THIS IS REQUIRED.) These players will represent your All-Star Team in ALL Championship Events.  Any roster substitution becomes permanent after you participate in your first Championship Season event, be it Qualifier or Play Day.  Please read more in theConditions of Play, specifically pages 12-14 regarding All-Star roster and eligibility rules.

To gauge interest and save time, we recommend reaching out to players and families personally before sending an invitation from your Coach Dashboard.

CLICK HERE for help inviting players.

Complete ASAP or by July 31st.

One-on-one Assistance

Want to  discuss PGA Jr. League or just bounce some ideas around? The following link will take you to my Calendly page where you can choose a time that works for you, and eliminate the need to email back and forth. 

Click Here to schedule


Branden Thompson, PGA
Player Engagement Consultant
Serving the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Sections
[email protected]

Candidate for Secretary: John Grothe

The latest professional book I read (and continue to reread) was The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn.  It is an easy read and I highly recommend it.

The Fred Factor is a true story of Fred, a mail carrier who passionately loves his job and genuinely cares about the people he serves. Because of that, he is constantly going the extra mile handling the mail of the people on his route, treating everyone he meets as a friend.

Where others, including myself, might see delivering mail as monotonous, Fred sees an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those he serves. Fred reminds me of the simple steps each of us can take to transform our own lives from the ordinary – into the extraordinary. And I try to be a Fred every day.

The centerpiece of this book is how to make a difference every day, how to become more successful by building strong relationships, how to create value for others and how to reinvent yourself.  All are great concepts for us in the golf industry with the challenges we face!

The concept of continuous improvement is in fact one of the concepts that is incredibly important in my personal life – and is central to being a Fred.  Yet to be frank I had to look up “Kaizen’s Continuous Improvement” to complete this article!  While my knowledge of this specific concept is limited, I do enjoy the central theme of decreasing waste, improving quality, being more efficient and having less idle time (all concepts my research revealed!).

As a PGA Professional and instructor, I have seen numerous students attempting to do too much, expecting results too quickly, looking for the quick fix and having their frustration level increase and their enjoyment decrease.  I am sure we have all had that experience at one time in our life.  My version of continuous improvement is to improve 1% each day. 

This small number allows for us all to realize the importance of the small details, staying within control of what we can control and yet be relentless in the pursuit of improvement.  Taking this approach in our golf game can lead to amazing results and development.  The same can be said in all areas of our life. 

It is this constant improvement I will follow as Section Secretary. I look forward to continuing our efforts to support all Chapter Professionals as your Secretary.

Thank you and please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions.


John Grothe, PGA | Head Professional
Oregon PGA Chapter President
Willamette Valley Country Club 
900 Country Club Place • Canby, Oregon 97013
Golf Shop: 503-266-2102 • Direct: 503-266-0140      

Candidate for Secretary: Chas Holmes

What is the latest professional book or audiobook you have finished recently?

Strength Finder – Discover Your Clifton Strengths

Why did you read or listen to it?

This book is part of our PGA LEAD curriculum and I feel very fortunate to have been introduced to this read at the time that I did. Strength Finder helps us discover and best implement our top five strengths in all aspects of our lives. Many of us spend most of our time trying to improve our weaknesses and less time focusing on our strengths and using these to our benefit. This book teaches us how to discover and use our strengths more often and in a way that develops our weaknesses.

This has been extremely helpful to me in all aspects of my life and helped me to be more efficient in everything I do. I recently transitioned into general management and this book helped me understand how best to lead our team to success in my new role. Strength Finder taught me that I am great listener. Therefore, I decided to manage in more of a supporting role than I had in the past as a Head Golf Professional and ensure that all ideas and system improvement plans are heard and discussed before making decisions.

Another trait this book identified is my innovation and willingness to take action. Combining this and the strength of listening has helped in my communication to our team, membership, and in my personal life with my family and friends.  

How do you employ Kaizen (the concept of continuous improvement) in your personal life?

The Kaizen concept is especially important in my personal life right now with our children aged 3 years, 18 months, and 2 months. As you can imagine, the household can be quite hectic and making sure to develop a culture of engagement and support is very important. My wife and I focus on providing the resources and environment necessary to allow our children to learn and succeed every day. Praise for good actions is necessary, but we are never content with our good deeds and actions. We continue to look for ways to improve and make others and ourselves better. For me personally, much of this revolves around commitment to my family when I am not working. Otherwise, I focus on good health through diet and exercise. I set goals and realistic expectations knowing that everyday provides an opportunity to do better.

I was given a great piece of advice early in my career in the golf industry and that is, “make confident decisions with no regrets and stay curious.” This piece of advice has helped me stay engaged and live by the concept of continuous life improvement every day that is Kaizen. 

Have a great summer Pros and I hope to see many of you at the 2022 Rosauers Open Invitational!

Chas Holmes, PGA, CMAA
General Manager
Bear Creek Country Club
13737 202nd Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98077
Office – (425) 883-4770| Mobile – (206) 550-5135
[email protected]
CWC PGA Vice President

More on Recruiting & Retaining Talent

Monte Koch, PGA

In 2020, a single word became very prevalent in the world of Human Resources. We are all familiar with it if we have watched any of the news cycles. It even got a bit of hyperbole when pundits added “great” to the word. By now, you may know it is the word “resignation.” How did this become a megatrend? There are too many factors to lay out here but millions of people making individual choices creates a trend.

Naturally, this “resignation” wasn’t great for the overall labor force and it hurt the golf business’ labor pool. So, in 2021, the word of the year (at least in my world) became “poaching”. In the short term, this was great for young, talented and high-motor assistant professionals who saw new opportunities that were offering them more than they would have been paid prior to the pandemic. Within a few months of 2021, it became clear which facilities were ‘poaching capable’ and which were ‘poaching susceptible’. In most cases, it wasn’t about the quality of the facility or the strengths (or weaknesses) of the lead PGA professional or management, it was about:

  1. Combination of compensation and benefits (in relation to cost of commuting)
  2. Real or perceived career opportunity (e.g. title/role, who working for or with, club brand)
  3. Real or perceived opportunity for work/life balance.

In 2022, it still is the case. Here’s some selected images that may provide additional perspective in this current situation.

PGA National Membership Demographics


Takeaways: The PGA Recruiting efforts (including those by Caleb Hung, PGA) are working and creating results. More female members and more new associates. About one-half of the “net of the active membership” past 25 years of PGA membership. Which means, there is real opportunity for incredible career growth and positions for those who are willing to learn, grow and challenge themselves.

PGA 2021 Compensation Data Posted to the Job Board


Takeaways: Please note the difference Sections/markets which are fairly significant. Some of the “lower cost of living” areas (in a general sense) aren’t really that much lower than the much higher cost of living areas along the West Coast.

Cost of Living “In the West”


Takeaways: The percentage of income required for “basic housing and utilities” is significant across the board, and it is a higher percentage in some markets than others. We can’t “start posting jobs at living wage.” Living wage doesn’t mean “living well” or even “living okay,” it means “scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck” with no money for eating out, entertainment, vacations, savings, etc. This “living wage” valuation probably even lags behind the new cost differences in food, fuel and everything else.

So What Can You and I Do About This?

Well, unfortunately, when it comes to social megatrends, not that much. These are due to countless people making similar decisions based on the unique situation they have, their unique goals, preferences for where they live and specifically their career goals. In some ways, a simplistic but effective way to look at this would be: “If I’m in Missoula, MT and I’m looking for an entry level assistant professional, I have to start with the right “talent target.” (e.g. someone who loves golf, is already living in Missoula or nearby, probably has family in the area or similar support framework, etc.) With those attributes in place, it will likely be more about attitude, personality and coachability than the usual “skills and experience.”

In terms of Recruiting and Retaining Talent, there are a few good “near silver bullets” that top employers are doing when they are recruiting (aka poaching) and retaining (aka stopping poachers) their talent. These include (by type):

Compensation, Benefits and Other Concepts:

Note: These types of benefits can help facilities that can’t otherwise afford a more robust benefit program as they are often seen as just as important to employees.

Other ideas for “Improving Time Off” include: Make Time Off a Reality (vs a Dream)

To wrap this up, next month we will be talking more about how we might want to think differently about “Work/Life balance” so we improve our own mindsets, attitudes and maybe be influential in the right way on those we work with and/or supervise. If you have any questions about these concepts above, or if you have any other concepts that you would like to share with me and others, please feel free to reach out to me soon.

Employment Opportunities

Click here to access the PNW PGA job postings

Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional, CEIP
Regional Director, Member & Section Operations
West Region | PGA of America
Partnering with PGA Sections | Career & Business Coach for PGA professionals, facilities in the PNWPGA Section

206-335-5260 | [email protected]My LinkedInMy Professional Blog

Centennial Retrospective: Rick Acton

by Bob Denney, PGA Historian Emeritus

Rick Acton: Competitor, Teacher, and a Humanitarian who rose above Personal Tragedy

What made Rick Acton one of the most accomplished and respected PGA Professionals in the Pacific Northwest PGA Section?

His competitive fire? An uncanny eye as an instructor? Perhaps it was more resilience mixed with pure love for his profession.

Throughout his life, Acton adapted and overcame major hurdles.

A natural southpaw and a standout pitcher at the University of Washington, he threw out his arm after signing a major league baseball contract with the Texas Rangers. This was before “Tommy John surgery” techniques became vogue and salvaged many pitchers’ careers.

Turning to golf, Acton earned a PGA Tour card, and played four years on tour before a life-changing automobile accident in the spring of 1976. The injuries he suffered pivoted him toward a PGA club professional career.

As he charted success in the Pacific Northwest PGA Section, he also had a separate passion. Though he never had children of his own, Acton gave back in a special way to brighten the lives of countless youngsters.

But, more about that later.

Acton was a natural southpaw and a standout pitcher at the University of Washington.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Acton and his family moved to Kirkland when he was a toddler. He inherited versatility from his mother, Donna, who ran the Flame Restaurant in Kirkland while her three children - Rick, brother Spencer and sister, Judi – were growing up. Donna would later become Rick’s MVP in the golf shop when he became PGA head professional in 1984 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington. A natural left-hander, Acton played golf from the right side but putted from the left. And, he was lethal on the greens with the blade.

“Rick was a quality individual, one of the brightest people I’ve ever met, said Mike Davis, the PGA Director of Golf at DragonRidge Country Club in Henderson, Nevada. “He was one of the greatest putters ever. He wasn’t intimidated. When he was in competition, he wasn’t worried about who he was playing with. He was just playing his own game. That was not easy to do. While he was a great putter, the mental side might have been his strongest suit.”

“There was nobody more self-confident,” said PGA Life Member Bill Tindall of Redmond, Washington, who first met Acton when he arrived at Sahalee. “He was not a cocky guy, but a fierce competitor. When he was in the heat of competition, he loved it.”

Acton competed on the PGA Tour from 1973-80 with modest success, earning $9,670. His career was forever altered in a matter of seconds in 1976, when the car he was driving – what Davis said was a Datsun 280Z – was hit broadside by a driver peeling out of an AllState insurance parking lot not far from the Doral Golf Resort, which is some 12 miles northwest of Miami.

Acton and his passenger, PGA Professional David Glenz, who by coincidence also is a Portland native, were practicing that day at Costa del Sol Country Club near Doral. They were returning to the course after lunch.

“We were coming over a small bridge and your vision is partially obscured at one point,” said Glenz, now a PGA Director of Golf and designer/owner of Black Oak Golf Club in Long Valley, New Jersey. “The other car hit us almost head-on at 30 to 35 miles per hour.”

“He was one of the greatest putters ever." - Mike Davis, PGA

Rick’s car collapsed into him. This was more than two decades before airbags and other industry-mandated safety requirements were installed in U.S. automobiles.

“I broke the second metacarpal bone of my right hand, and I still carry a bump on it today,” said Glenz. “When the car stopped, Rick looked over to me and said, ‘I think I knocked all my teeth out!”

Acton’s injuries were far worse. He received cuts to his face that required 250 stitches and also broke his jaw in six places. It was wired shut for 10 weeks. He also broke some ribs and injured both knees. Over the next decade he underwent five knee operations and played with a brace on his right knee.

Glenz said that he played several weeks after the accident in the Northwest Open.

“It was too soon to be returning to play and there really was a lot of emotion running through me at the time,” he said. Glenz went on to a successful teaching career, earning the 1998 PGA Teacher of the Year award. His biggest physical barrier, he said, happened two weeks before turning 50 when he broke his right hip skiing.

“Once Rick returned to the course, the effects of the accident bothered his ability to pitch, his wedge shots,” said Davis. “He couldn’t put weight on his front foot as he did before the accident. He would chunk or blade them for a long time.”

Rick’s wife, Debbie, who caddied for him in multiple events including the 1994 PGA Championship, recalled what her husband endured.

“For his entire life, there were small pieces of glass working their way to the surface,” she said. “At first, he thought it was a sore or acne. It would come out and then clear up. A lot of roadblocks were thrown his way, but he figured out a new way.”

Acton’s tenure at Sahalee Country Club was a combination of many joys, along with a legacy of giving back to both members and those he interacted with off the course. Debbie Coburn and Rick met in 1985 at Sahalee, where she was a member.

“He’s been gone for 22½ years and people at Sahalee still talk about his teaching ability,” said Debbie. “He’s still missed.”

"Rick’s Quickies" - Rick could come by and in five minutes fix your swing and walk off.

Whether it was lunch or dinner, Debbie and Rick had a table overlooking the practice range. “Rick would see somebody doing something, and he could diagnose it from there. He’d walk out, give a 30-second conversation, come back and finish eating.”

Rick had an eye for going toward the root cause of what was going wrong. Instead of giving you 10 things, his knack was never looking at a person and saying that he was going to change a swing. He knew people’s swings. He had an incredible memory. One of my good friends used to open a driving range and used to call it ‘Rick’s Quickies.’ He said Rick could come by and in five minutes fix your swing and walk off.”

During one Senior PGA Tour in the 1990s in Park City, Utah, Lee Trevino played with Rick for two days in a row, and Lee had a good day on the course.

Later, they gathered at the practice range, and a large crowd gathered.

“Rick had helped Lee with something, but I don’t know what it was,” said Debbie. “Lee never admitted to taking a lesson,” said Debbie. “Lee stood on the range and said, ‘You know I don’t take lessons. I’ve never taken a lesson, but e. But if I did, it would be from that guy over there.’ And he pointed at Rick.

Debbie saide Trevino added, ” ‘Don’t be paying attention to me, watch that guy. He knows what he’s doing.’ ”

With Rick’s mother, Donna, managing the golf shop, Rick spent his time teaching on the range and freed him to travel to Section events.

Tindall recalled one moment where Acton was attempting to show off putting prowess.

“We were playing in a Northwest Open,” said Tindal, “and Rick’s ball came to rest on the fringe of the green in deep grass. Rick called out, ‘You got to see this,’ and he turned his putter on its toe. As he struck the ball, it bounced right up in the air near his face and landed on his foot. We all teased him, and he laughed about it.”

Two decades after the auto accident, Acton debuted on the Senior PGA Tour (now PGA Tour Champions). He tied for fourth in the Senior Tour Qualifying School, coming in having secured a leave of absence from Sahalee to pursue a career on the 50-and-older circuit.

Acton putting at the 1994 Washington Open

He made a big splash, grabbing the second-round lead in the 1996 Royal Caribbean Classic at the Links of Key Biscayne. He posted a 67 to lead Hale Irwin and Bob Murphy by a stroke. “I still consider myself a club pro who’s a guest out here,” Acton told the Sun-Sentinel.

A day later and in heavy wind, he finished five shots behind Murphy for solo third place. Despite the disappointment, Acton had proven he could make an impact among his talented peers.

Overall, Acton competed in five PGA Championships, the 1977 U.S. Open, was named one of the top 100 golf teachers in the country by GOLF Magazine, and won 18 significant Section championships. He competed on the 1986 and 1994 PGA Cup Teams; and eight PGA Professional Championships. His best finish was a share of eighth in 1993, which earned his trip to the ‘94 PGA where Debbie caddied for him.

Inducted in 2000 into the Section Hall of Fame, Acton remains the only Pacific Northwest PGA member to be decorated for Section Player of the Year (1994), Teacher of the Year (1988, ’89, , ’90, ’92), PGA Player Development (1996), and PGA Golf Professional of the Year (1994).

“I got to know Rick in the early 1980s. He was getting better as I was getting worse,” laughed PGA Life Member Jerry Mowlds of Portland, Oregon. “I don’t think many of us who didn’t spend as much time with him realized how much the accident affected him and what he had to overcome. We played a lot of golf together and attended a lot of teaching seminars.”

The Actons owned a gas station and deli in Conway, Washington. Donna helped run the station after Rick turned the golf shop over to Jim Pike, who was a shop assistant when he first met Acton in 1983.

Pike took another job in 1988, and in 1991, Acton approached him and said that he was going to try the Senior Tour and that Sahalee was going to get a PGA Championship, and that he would like Pike to return and become head professional.

Pike was elected to PGA Membership in 1992 and became Sahalee’s head professional two years later. Acton assumed PGA Director of Golf duties.

“Rick was a man of his word,” said Pike, now a PGA Life Member and retired from Sahalee in 2021. “He came back after a second year on tour and said, ‘Of all the things in life, being on tour is a great opportunity, but what I missed most were the great relationships, the staff, and members at Sahalee.’”

Said Pike, “the lessons I learned from Rick are infinite, but I will focus on his coaching expertise. Rick was an outstanding coach for players of all abilities. He often instructed PGA Teaching Professionals in our Section and at national summits as well.

“Rick did not teach for his own economic gain or for personal recognition, he always was there for his players.” Many days, said Pike, Acton would come into the golf shop in the morning and share with the staff the accomplishments of his students. “His students’ successes,” said Pike, “provided him more happiness and fulfillment than most of his own victories on the course.”

There was another layer to Rick Acton beyond golf, not immediately on display to the public that recognized him for his prowess on a course.

This side of Acton was magnified during the holidays and can be traced to Whidbey Island, just over 60 miles north of Seattle. The idyllic destination includes the 60-acre M-Bar-C Ranch, which was owned by Rick's stepfather, Dick Francisco, along with three others.

In December 1976, a letter that wasn’t delivered to Santa Claus at the North Pole, found its way to Francisco’s Restaurant in Seattle.

[The following letter contains a child’s original spelling]

“Dear Santa,

Moma said you got lost last year and couldin’t find your way to our house. We wrilly mist you aspeshly my little sisters Please come this year Santa we are beaing very good Moma sais youll get lost again maybe so hear is a map

Love, Criag

ps. Don’t leav anything for dady, because he isn’t hear anymore.”

"His students' successes provided him more happiness and fulfillment than most of his own victories on the course." - Jim Pike, PGA

The letter captured Francisco’s heart and the Forgotten Children’s Fund was born. After a few years, the ranch owners opened it to children with special needs or special circumstances, and their families.

The ranch was later sold to the Fund, an all-volunteer organization that provides holiday assistance to deserving families throughout the Greater Seattle area. The program provides everything a family would need to give children and their parents a memorable Christmas experience.

Each parent receives a small gift and food box with everything needed for a holiday meal. All of this is delivered directly to the homes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by Santa and his elves. There are about 40 Santas and a few hundred elves on the team.

Rick Acton was one of the Santas on call.

“It was very important to him and it was wonderful to see a normally quiet man turn into a very jolly Santa,” said Debbie. “I have been involved with Forgotten Children's Fund for about 30 years and can't think of a better way to spend Christmas.”

Both Debbie’s children have been very involved since they were young, and Debbie has served on the Forgotten Children's Fund board for many years.

And, while few charitable organizations can say they don’t end with a one-stop magical moment, the Forgotten Children’s Fund goes the extra mile. It helps families with rent, utility bills, and repairs, and stays in touch with those it serves to provide additional support, if needed.

Acton found his resurgence on the formerly-titled Senior PGA Tour in 1996 and '97, earning $692,128. In addition to finishing third in his debut at the Royal Caribbean Classic, he was runner-up at the '97 Raley's Gold Rush Classic in El Dorado, California, finishing two strokes behind winner Bob Eastwood.

Acton called his cancer diagnosis a "temporary setback".

He was forced off the tour by ongoing knee problems that led to an artificial joint replacement. He was planning to rejoin the 50-and-older circuit until the spring of 1999 when he learned that he had cancer. Through that difficult time, he remained upbeat, calling his diagnosis “a temporary setback.” That summer, Acton went ahead and married Debbie. It was his second marriage. In the final months of his life, Acton had given a friend a golf lesson, accepted an honorary membership from Sahalee Country Club, and even talked about playing again in the spring. On Jan. 6, 2000, a day after his 54th birthday, Acton died from liver cancer. He was at Debbie’s home, just off the seventh fairway at Sahalee.

“The No. 1 thing about Rick was that he was the complete professional, said Jeff Ellison, former Pacific Northwest PGA CEO Jeff Ellison, who retired in 2020. “He was a great player that we all remember. He was a fantastic teacher, and was a great club professional dedicated to Sahalee. Finally, he was very committed to his fellow professionals, constantly sharing what he knew and offering any help that he could.”

Sahalee Country Club has what members affectionately call “the 28th hole,” a bar that has been christened “The Acton Room.” In this centennial year of the Pacific Northwest PGA Section, Acton wouldn’t approve of making a fuss over him. Debbie Acton confirmed as much when it was time for her remarks at Rick’s memorial service. “I wanted to speak, to say something,” she said. “But Rick would have been very upset with me if I cried or got overly dramatic.” So, Debbie wrote “Actonisms,” or as she told the audience, “was Rick.”

Rick and Debbie at the 1999 Hudson Cup

1. Course Management – Have a plan and stick to it, but if conditions change you need to be willing to adjust to those changes. This is the one thing where we have total control. Managing the course and your game put you in position to succeed.

2. There is no such thing as a bad break. If you waste time worrying about the supposed bad breaks, you miss the good ones.

3. What is the most important shot in golf? The one you are hitting right now.

4. Each shot is only as good or as bad as the next one. After hitting a bad shot then recovering to make birdie, Rick would often say, “I guess I laid up to the perfect spot.”

5. What do you need to do before every swing? Trust. You must believe the ball is going to go exactly where you are looking. (So look at the green not at the water)

6. It is not your best games that determine what kind of player you are, it is how you handle your worst games that show the true caliber of a player.

7. Be your own best friend. Some of the things we say to ourselves we would never say to someone else, even your worst enemy. Try positive self-talk, it works!

8. What is the most important rule in golf? Rick borrowed this one from his good friend, Bill Tindall, and over the years he realized more and more how important it was. The rule is very simple: When you have finished your round of golf, it will be considered a success if the people you played with enjoyed your company.

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