Golf 2.0 is a new retail plan from the PGA of America the objective of which, according to CEO Joe Steranka in an address to the International Association of Golf Administrators last fall, is to increase the number of golfers in America from 26 million currently to 40 million by the year 2020.
2.0, or the second hundred years, plans to subtly expand the focus of the PGA of America members from inward, focusing primarily on education and championships for their members, to an outward focus, expanding the focus toward consumer marketing, golf course management issues, embracing local community leadership and employers in its initiatives, and a focus away from exclusively private club memberships and toward the general public. The PGA of America seems to have grasped that there is a disconnect between their grow the game initiatives conceived and handed down from the national headquarters and the implementation that has to take place at a local level in order for them to work.
Just as all politics is local, all grass roots efforts are local. To be really successful they have to well up from guess where, the grass roots. And guess who that is….we, the golfers; and we, the local teaching and club professionals. I am excited that the PGA of America has deployed “player development managers” into all of the major markets in the U.S. We have been assigned our own seasoned PGA Professional from HQ in Florida who has begun to get to know our area, meeting the people who make our golf communities what they are, and trying to understand what makes us tick.
The women of Arizona have our own grass roots organization, The Arizona Women Women’s Golf Association (AWGA). For the past 87 years, the AWGA has been actively engaged in promoting all things women’s golf, growing to be the second largest women’s golf association in the United States serving approximately 25,000 women. (Second to The Women’s Southern California Golf Association by a narrow margin). We can’t wait to share what we have been up to on a local level with the man from HQ. Starting with our own Player Development Programs, developed in collaboration with our PGA Southwest Section and our Central Section LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals, including The Ambassador Program launched in 2006, with its beginner instructional and nurturing component and our Golf Performance Series launched in 2011, designed to introduce experienced players to various teaching methodology on a “try before you buy” basis.
The really great news is that there is at least one ‘grass roots’ women’s organization similar to ourselves in every state of the union. Each of them is already actively pursuing what’s good for women’s golf in their own states. The PGA of America, through Golf 2.0 and the PGA Sections, is already reaching out to form relationships with those community leaders.
But Arizona’s grass roots is not just women’s golf, it’ all of the organizations that make up our golf community. The passion of each group of golfers at each facility as well as the collective efforts of all of the golf associations will each fulfill a unique role at this local grass roots level. Together all of us are working to put our own the piece of the puzzle in place for Arizona. We are thrilled that Golf 2.0 is reaching out to support our efforts.