Recently, I became the recipient of the 2014 PGA Teacher of the Year – Nationally (1 out of 27,000 PGA members) and made history for several ‘Firsts’ involved in golf: first woman, first person from the PNWPGA Section, first from Spokane, WA and more. In my opinion, these ‘firsts’ should have happened years ago for many other deserving professionals; as there will be more to follow. A prestigious award contains a lot of responsibility, honor and it is tremendously humbling, to say the least. Who knows why the Special Awards Committee made this decision, it had to have been a tough call. By working hard and being around supportive PGA members, Family, Friends, Companies, Other Organizations, and Clients; they have ALL taught me so much, it only makes sense for me to pay it forward to others.
On July 30, 2014: I received “THE” personal phone call from Ted Bishop, the PGA’s 38th President, that changed my “golf life” forever. It was one of the greatest days of my life when he told me the news on becoming a National Award recipient. I was totally speechless and overwhelmed. This particular eventful day will never be erased from my life or my mind and I will be forever grateful. He is a PGA member, and I believe he has a passion for the game just as much as I do; we have dedicated our lives to improve and grow the game of golf. Yes, there was a poor judgment call on social media and because of that there are consequences. We all have opinions and all those that are interested in this story unfolding upon us; probably have a passion for the game of golf too.
There have been several people that have asked for my opinion regarding Ted Bishop’s recent events and the PGA Board of Director’s decisions for this case. These discussions were brought to my attention because of several reasons; I am a woman, a mom, a wife, a PGA member, involved in PGA Governance and became a recent National Award recipient. My first take…I needed to listen to everything! It is scorching hot and it needs to cool down before I enter or not enter. There needs to be time to sort and weigh out any judgments. From blogs, group discussions, media, social media, freedom of speech, I’ve tried to make sense from the information and reactions. As an extremely proud member of the PGA of America for 24 years, I stand by the Board’s decision, because I don’t know all the exact details and they are volunteer elected officers that are experienced at a higher level to lead us on the correct path to grow this fantastic game, as well as show respect for all people. On that take, I stand by them for they needed to make a very tough decision.
Do I see change? Yes! Is there more awareness? Yes! Will we learn and educate from this experience? Yes! I believe there are a lot more changes in the future, it WILL take time and patience. Even though we are trying, some things might not go away in my lifetime. The dialog and communication corrections are improving. All I ever wanted was to “Fit In” and make a difference somehow.
The Golf Channel interviewed Ted Bishop, for which he mentioned he was going to stop using social media all together, this threw me off guard. He may have made a bad decision, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I see a tremendous opportunity for all of us, including Mr. Bishop, to continue to bring more people, men, women, and especially the younger generation to this amazing game. Using social media is a tremendous asset for motivation by spreading the message faster to EVERYONE, if the platform is used properly.
On November 20, 2014: there will be an Awards Ceremony for all the PGA 2014 Class Award recipients in Ted Bishop’s home state of Indiana, for which he won’t be attending. It can be viewed online through a “LIVE” Feed located on PGALINKS.com at 7:30 PM EST for the entire world to see! It could be awkward if we make it that way, but I won’t…I can’t wait to meet more PGA Family members and spread the word of “Golf”!
You know what? Indiana has a lot of people who play golf and so does my home state of Washington…we need to grow it here, there, everywhere and to everyone. No matter where we live on this planet, “GOLF” will live beyond our years. There is no time like the present to use our resources and encourage all to try this game, come back to this game, keep playing this game, and expose this game while society is watching. I do hope Ted Bishop comes back to the social media platform and use it to grow the game. If social media was this powerful to dethrone a leader, just think how powerful it can be to build golf’s growth even faster. A mission of mine is to yell ‘LOUDER’, per say, bring necessary awareness that the sport of golf has life benefits. It has a magnitude to help all charities raise funds for all kinds of amazing causes that hold dear to our hearts. We need to set more examples of respect and have better manners.
No matter how many people play golf or work in the industry of golf, if we each encourage another person to participate in golf…we would all prosper. Working together and expanding the many messages that golf has to offer should have an ending result of growth. In return, we will all “WIN” when we enrich other people’s lives.