As I write this I am on my way to St. Louis for the PFA National Golf Tournament. Unfortunately, I will only be able to participate the first day of the Tournament. Regardless, I expect to have a great time. When I was getting in line to board the first leg of my flight I ran into Steve Lubinski, from Nest 146, New Castle, Pa., and his foursome who are also headed to the Tournament on the same flight. Nest 146 will be the host of the Tournament in 2016. He said the courses have been secured and they will be finalizing housing soon. Now that’s planning.
Even though I haven’t even made it to St. Louis yet, I am sure that Pat Heineman and her crew of volunteers at Nest 45 are more than ready for all the Falcon golfers. The weather should be great. I was in St. Louis less than a month ago as Nest 45 was the host of the District II Convention and their hospitality was outstanding.
One of the many challenges facing our organization in recent times has been the decline of participants in many of our events. This year, there will be about 55 golfers at the Tournament. That is a decline from 2014. Granted, Nest 45 is far from where many of our Members live, but this has nothing to do with the effort put forward by the Nest. They have done everything possible to attract as many golfers as possible for the Tournament. This year, we even allowed non-members to participate. (We’re doing the same for National Bowling next year.) This issue is more than just geography. Other events have also been declining. It’s time we start creating strategies and ideas to reverse this trend.
I will attend the meeting of the Golf Commissioners this evening and I want to get a healthy discussion started about what we are going to do. We have to be willing to look at all alternatives for the future. Things that worked well in the past are not working today and they probably aren’t going to work in the future. We aren’t going to agree on everything, but we have to be willing to admit that we have to do things differently. I don’t have an agenda for the meeting, nor the solution, but I do have some ideas I want to share. I look forward to a good meeting where there is a good debate and we are open to new possibilities.
I do know that after the tournament, we will conduct a survey of all the participants to get their input and thoughts about their experiences in St. Louis. These kind of surveys have proven to be useful to help us evaluate our programs and learn ways to make them better. One of the “problems” with the surveys is that they only give us the perspective of the people who are there. Don’t get me wrong, this input is extremely valuable and we need it. But I also want to know why people are not returning to the tournament, or why they have never come. We are going to work on how we can figure this out.
I will do a follow-up blog on my long journey home from the Tournament tomorrow evening.
Finally, on behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank everyone, from National Golf Commissioner Mary Whalen to Host Chairperson Pat Heineman, to all the volunteers at Nest 45 for all the work you have done. It does not go unnoticed. This Tournament would not be possible without you. Thank you! Czolem!