I recently attended the spring meeting of the WNY PGA.  I would guess that most golf fans know the PGA (Professional Golf Association) as the people who put on the tournaments that they either attend or watch on television.  I wonder how many of these people are aware that their local golf district has literally dozens of men and women who are members of the PGA and work very hard at golf as a living?

The spring meeting, held this year at Transit Valley Country Club, consisted of normal membership items, guest speakers and a lunch and question and answer period.

During the general meeting section, President Chip Clover brought the meeting to order.  After taking a moment to remember the past WNY PGA members who had passed away over the winter,the floor was turned over to the general membership who each introduced themselves and their course/venue affiliation.

Next up were the reports from individual chair members and Joe Bertino ( Executive Director of the local PGA).  They talked about things such as the stagnant  membership (which is attributed to the current economic situation) and strategies that can be done to reverse his trend, seminars and training sessions that are forthcoming, tournament updates, expansion of junior golf to children from 5-9 years old, the benefit for members to have an updated resume, how members can use local and national resources to advance their careers and many other items aimed at fostering the careers of the membership.

The first guest speaker was Derek Sprague who is the owner of a golf course in Malone, NY and is also the PGA of America Secretary.  Derek had just returned from the Master’s in Augusta, GA.  He talked briefly about his role as PGA Secretary and also shared a few highlights from his time in Augusta.

The next speaker was Major Ed Pulido. Major Pulido is a disable, retired Army veteran who now is involved with the PGA’s Patriot Day Golf program and its Folds of Honor Foundation scholarship program which provides scholarships to the children of deceased and disabled war veterans.  Major Pulido’s speech left many in the room with a tear in their eye or a lump in their throats.

The membership adjourned for lunch and a general question and answer period.

It was enlightening for me to see how much attention the WNY PGA pays to the betterment of its members and the depth of the business side of golf.  I came away from this realizing that being a golf professional is so much more than just giving a few lessons and running tournaments at their home course.  Being a successful golf pro requires extreme dedication to one’s craft not only on  the golf end but on the public relations end, the marketing end, the business end and, really, anything that would make any other business person successful in their life.