The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, April 16, 2020

Golf Emergency Relief Fund — Interview with PGA President Suzy Whaley — Must-click links in women's golf

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Golf Emergency Relief Fund

Truth is, we still don’t really know when we’ll get back to playing golf. There are reports floating around saying that the PGA Tour will resume in June without fans, but part of me doesn’t think that will happen. I hope you all are well and seeing the good that’s come from a time of intense need for many. Working in the golf industry, I’ve always been really impressed with how much of a community we are.

If you think about it, we’re all the same boat, without really being in the same boat. Some of us have families and are trying to balance work with homeschooling and having your kids around all day everyday. Some of us might be out of work right now. Some of us still have our jobs. Some of us can’t wait for our stimulus checks, while others might consider donating it to someone else in need. Some might be loving what quarantine offers, the rest might be battling depression and loneliness, or maybe something in between the two.

Now take that and apply it to the golf industry. There are so many different scenarios the leaders in the golf industry are faced with right now. You have your professional golfers who are well off and not really impacted financially by this downtime. You have the golfers who rely on performance and have no income right now. You have rookies who haven’t even had a chance to earn money in 2020. Then there’s the PGA Tour who will (I’m assuming) be perfectly okay, and then the LPGA Tour who needs events and sponsors and ticket sales to survive.

There are workers in the industry at golf courses who have sold more rounds of golf than ever before depending on state regulations. There are some who are afraid to go to work. There are others who are out of work completely or furloughed. There are some who rely on commission from lessons or equipment sales, but that income isn’t present at the moment. That is a lot of people and a lot of different needs that we’re faced with catering to, especially at the PGA of America.

In an attempt to help the many folks in golf faced with any of these scenarios, I have a proud PGA moment to highlight today. With a leading gift of $5 million, the PGA of America launched the Golf Emergency Relief Fund for eligible golf industry professionals. They can apply for up to $1,500 in funding for those in extreme need during this first phase, with a second phase to be rolled out later.

This money was raised as a result of the PGA of America executive leadership team voluntarily reducing their compensation, and additionally, personal donations from members of the Board of Directors have been pledged. The effort is also being supported in various ways by a number of industry organizations, including the GCSAA, PGA TOUR, LPGA, USGA, NGCOA and AGM.

“The golf industry is in an unprecedented crisis, and our friends, colleagues and their families need our help right away. People throughout golf are driven by a strong desire to help others every day. We have to ensure that the heart and soul of our game—our people—are able to get back on their feet and continue to serve others down the road. Eventually, golf will return, but we first need to reach out and help people in our industry during this national emergency.” – Suzy Whaley, PGA of America President

I was able to catch Suzy for some additional insight on this Golf Emergency Relief Fund like how this all came together, why it’s important to give back and what her message of encouragement would be to people in golf right now. That can all be found in the interview section below. As she points out above, eventually golf will return. But right now it’s our turn to step up for those in need and provide them with the necessary resources to get through this pandemic.

If you are one of those people in golf impacted by COVID-19, or you know someone that is, apply for this fund. Just confirm your eligibility here and submit your application online here. There’s also a way to donate to this fund if you are wanting to give back. I will warn you, the application period opened up today, so the site will likely be slow and there will be a wait on the phone. The only way we get through a time like this is together, and hopefully when everything is behind us, we come out on the other side stronger and better.

This Week in Women’s Golf

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

The PGA of America announces the Golf Emergency Relief Fund for golf industry professionals.

The LPGA announces a new campaign and it’s pretty cool: We Clap Fore You.

Here’s an LPGA Twitter battle you have to check out/hear!

Paula Creamer offers an in-depth analysis to Michael Breed on PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM.

What’s life all about for Helen Alfredsson, who has won 25 times on five tours? She told the LPGA’s Ron Sirak.

Danielle Kang hops on the No Laying Up podcast to answer questions from fans.

Mike Whan opens up to Michael Breed on PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM but all that life is on the LPGA right now.

The PGA Tour is resuming play without spectators in mid-June, the New York Times reports. Will the LPGA follow suit?

From Golf Channel — the moments that changed Sorenstam’s, Whitworth’s and Inkster’s careers.

From ‘Big Break’ reruns to staying fit, Ryann O’Toole is recharging during this break. More from Golf Channel’s Randall Mell here.

COVID-19 won’t stop Aussie rising star Hannah Green, Golf Australia reports.

PGA TOUR responds to the Hank Haney lawsuit (via Golf Channel). tells us how we can workout like Lexi Thompson from the comfort of your own home.

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan will be among those tasked with leading the effort to reopen the U.S. economy. Golf Channel has the full scoop.

Rory McIlroy chats with Michelle Wie over Instagram live about The Masters and golf resuming. More from ESPN here.

Sports Illustrated reports on the Government’s Reopening Advisory Panel, which includes LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Suzy Whaley

Who better to hear from during these unprecedented times than PGA of America President, Suzy Whaley? Suzy has played a crucial role in the helping the golf industry navigate all who has been impacted by COVID-19. Her leadership has helped bring about the Golf Emergency Relief Fund, which she details in our interview below.

I. On what life is like for her right now during this time: Like everyone else, it’s definitely completely changed. I have two adult children at home with us. My husband is working from home; I’m still going to work. At the Country Club at Mirasol, we’re not open, but we still have staff that are going in for security and patrol of the golf course and handling things on property. I’m still there four to five days a week, but our biggest concern right now is our PGA Professionals and our game. There are PGA Professionals who are out of work right now, furloughed, ones going to work but aren’t comfortable, and then we have some who have done more golf than they’ve ever done. So it differs from state to state. We are trying to lead in a way to over-communicate and make sure resources are available to our members.

II. On her ‘north star’ for leading during a time of crisis: It’s critical in times of crises that you are over communicating and communicating in a transparent fashion as things are changing. It’s so fluid by the hour and by the day and it’s very difficult to get information in a timely manner to the people that need it. So it’s just making sure we are making strong decisions; decisions that we realize can have a great impact on the PGA Professionals that we serve. Our north star has been to get in front of things. We want to make sure our members all get to the other side of this. It’s just making sure that we are, as I said before, finding the resources they need and answering questions in a timely fashion.

III. On the importance of coming together with other associations: Certainly the game has been tremendously impacted as have so many other businesses. We aren’t out there by ourselves. Championships have been impacted, our allied association friends have been impacted. That includes fans, volunteers, the TOUR members, the people who play for a living, all of our industry professionals beyond the PGA of America; there’s so many around the country. There’s so many tentacles to this. Our hope is that all of those people who need help can get it.

IV. On the Golf Emergency Relief Fund and what it is: For a game that gives so much back to charity, $4 billion back to charity, we now need help so we can continue to do that great work for our communities in the future. The PGA of America is the lead gift in the Golf Emergency Relief Fund, which we just announced a few days ago. We’re incredibly proud of that—it is for the industry. It will help our PGA Professionals, Associates and students. It will help the LPGA Professionals and their associates and students. And multiple other entities. All of that is available as of 2 p.m. today (April 16th, 2020). We’re proud to put $5 million as a lead gift and $2.5 million as a matching gift. I think it’s probably one of the most proud moments of my PGA tenure. I became a member in 2004 and I think all of us become PGA Members because we’re service minded and we’re looking to impact others’ lives. To be able to impact lives of those that wear our own logo and those that work within the industry, it gives me so much joy.

V. On what her message is to those in the golf industry right now to overcome this: From a leadership standpoint, my message is to stay safe. Follow the CDC guidelines. Follow the public health guidelines in your local area. If you’re open, do it in a manner that’s keeping you and your staff and customers safe. That’s the most important message that I can deliver, because this is real, and people are dying from it. We can help make that curve less with safe protocols and procedures while people get to enjoy and walk our golf facilities obviously in a safe way. For those facilities that are not open, and are looking forward to getting back to normal, we also hope you’re getting ready for that. People are going to want to come out and be outside and be a part of something that’s healthy and well. We know that golf can provide that and that PGA Professionals can be the experts in ensuring that people feel comfortable and welcome when they get back on the course.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon  Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by The IX Team