The PGA of America has created numerous programs in the past that are geared toward generating golfers, such as PGA Junior League Golf, Get Golf Ready, Tee It Forward, and PGA Sports Academy. While the implementation of all of these programs combined has created a positive impact on the golf industry, one program in particular has proved to continuously deliver results for individual facilities and the business as a whole. Since Get Golf Ready was introduced in 2009, it has had countless success stories.
The program has not only been successful in creating new golfers, but Get Golf Ready has also generated golfers that are spending more money at facilities. In 2012, a GGR graduate spent an average of $1,069 on golf-related purchases. This has had a direct impact on the bottom line at facilities everywhere. Not only are these students starting to play the game, they are spending money on merchandise, concessions, and equipment. Because this program encompasses all aspects of the game, (such as tee time- booking, pro shop check-in, rules and etiquette, history, and basic fundamentals), the program has also shown an increase in golfer retention. A reported 83% of program graduates continued to play after completing a Get Golf Ready program in 2012.
This is a very exciting time for the PGA of America and the industry as a whole. A program that has this big of an impact on creating new golfers is one that will be strongly promoted, as the PGA of America heads toward its goal of 40 million golfers by 2020. The buzz about GGR is growing rapidly. The golf industry has been seeking a formula that will attract new golfers, keep them coming back, and is successful at various types of facilities. Get Golf Ready has accomplished all three. Some PGA Professionals feel it may not be effective at their facility, simply because they are private, or have a higher daily fee. However, the idea of Get Golf Ready is to create a program that can be adjusted to fit any type of facility. The suggested price for GGR is $99. However, there have been facilities that have run a successful $250 program. The program works well at public, daily-fee facilities because it exposes them to potential new markets, and introduces the game at a facility that they are able to access. However, private facilities do have an advantage over public facilities, in that they already have a consumer base that has access to their golf course, but do not play. While public facilities have to take their marketing efforts to places other than their facility, private clubs simply need to find out why their social members, tennis players and bridge players are not playing golf, then create a program that brings them to the game.
Being a golf professional encompasses many different tasks and responsibilities. Making player development one of them can enhance your employment and benefit your facility. Material for running and promoting GGR is available to PGA Professionals on PGALinks.com. In addition, the PGA of America has announced 9 new Player Development Regional Managers that are making house calls to facilities helping them start Get Golf Ready and other Golf 2.0 initiatives.
The Philadelphia PGA Section has hired Leila Mackie, PGA, as the Player Development Coordinator for their section. Leila will be promoting these programs and will be available to help facilities implement them. Ms. Mackie grew up in Gastonia, N.C., and graduated in December 2012 from Clemson(SC)University with a degree in Professional Golf Management. Through her internships at Clemson, Mackie has gained valuable work experience within the golf industry, including facility operations and association management. She previously interned with TPC Piper Glen (Charlotte, NC), The Country Club of Sapphire Valley (Cashiers, NC), the PGA of America Headquarters (Palm Beach Gardens, FL), as well as the Philadelphia Section PGA. Mackie is a PGA Class A Professional, and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and passion for the game with the Philadelphia Section. Her main focus will be promoting Golf 2.0 “There are so many golf professionals doing great things at their facilities that are contributing to the success of Golf 2.0. They just need to share their ideas with the rest of the industry,” says Mackie. “My job is to take these ideas and programs that are working well, and adapt them to fit other facilities in the Philadelphia Section.” Mackie will be making house calls to facilities throughout the section to help them grow the game.
Written by: Leila Mackie, PGA
Leila Mackie is a PGA Player Development Coordinator from the Philadelphia Section.