Meet the press

President Allen Wronowski and CEO Joe Steranka conducted the annual PGA State of the Industry discussion with golf journalists Thursday, and discussed the challenges facing golf, detailed several PGA initiatives and more covered a variety of other topics.


PGA of America President Allen Wronowski outlined several player development initiatives for 2011 at the roundtable on Thursday. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

ORLANDO, Fla.-- The PGA of America will increase its focus on player development and wage a campaign to engage more Americans among “Generation X” to add golf to their lifestyle. Those topics and more headed the annual State of the Industry Roundtable Thursday at the 58th PGA Merchandise Show.

When asked to prioritize the challenges to golf, PGA Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka had one word that encompassed so many other issues: Time.

“Time. People have reset how they spend time,” said Steranka. “They have reset, because like PGA members, they are under are more professional pressure to perform. So, that means they are going to look at using their time judiciously to drive their professional performance.”

The PGA of America’s ongoing efforts to build family interest in golf will be supported this year by KitchenAid, the presenting sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship through 2014, beginning in May at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

The Roundtable attracted more than 45 golf journalists to meet with PGA of America President Allen Wronowksi and Steranka. The topics covered included: the announcement of the partnership between the PGA World Alliance and Reed Exhibitions to operate two merchandise shows this year in China; KitchenAid’s supporting sponsor activation; an extension of CBS Sports’ broadcast agreement to with The PGA Championship; and Bermuda’s Port Royal Golf Course renewing an agreement to host the PGA Grand Slam of Golf through 2012.

CBS Sports reached a new, eight-year agreement with The PGA of America to extend broadcast rights of the PGA Championship through 2019, which includes support of The PGA’s Centennial in 2016. The announcement was made by Steranka.

Wronowski, the PGA Director of Golf at Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Md., recalled his challenge to PGA members from the 2010 PGA Annual Meeting last November, when he was sworn in as the 37th president of The PGA of America. Wronowski said that his vision to grow the game stemmed from his being influenced by the motion picture, “Pay It Forward,” where a young boy inspired others to give back to society, using a “power of three.”

“I believe that if one person does a good deed for three people, those people are inspired to do a good deed for three more people; it grows out exponentially,” said Wronowski. “Again, I got a little aggressive. I talked about ‘The Power of 10.’ I would love all of our 27,000 professionals in The PGA to work hard over the next year to bring in 10 people. And, 10 people that would inspire other 10 people, because a lot of times, we have seen that in growing the game, it's getting one person inspired, and they have a friend or a family member that wants to play. So, if we can start this 10, goes to 10 more by each of those 10, we might even get near that 30 million over the next two years.”

Wronowski outlined several initiatives in Player Development in 2011, including this summer’s debut of the Ryder Cup Junior Golf Academy at the PGA Center for Golf Learning & Performance in Port St. Lucie, Fla., which evolved from the suggestion of past U.S. Ryder Cup Captains, as a means to expand the outreach of the Ryder Cup and provide young players an opportunity to experience an elite player development academy.

Additionally, the PGA Sports Academy – a next generation of the PGA First Swing and PGA Medalist Programs, advanced from a pilot program in 2010 and was launched this week. Its objective is to develop core golfers through a fun, systematic approach to growing junior golf participation. PGA Professionals are at the forefront of the program, delivering the experience.

The PGA of America unveiled the logo for the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, with the company brand aligned to the right of the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy, representing the most prestigious event in senior golf.

"I want you to know that we don’t mind having that trophy next to our name,” said Deb O’Connor, senior manager of Brand Experience for KitchenAid. “Our brands are well aligned and we both help people in common shared experiences.”

Among the activations taking place in conjunction with the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid are a sweepstakes that offers a “dream kitchen” to the grand prize winner; and second-place offerings of dinner for two with renowned “Iron Chef” Michael Simon. Valhalla Golf Club will feature a KitchenAid Consumer Engagement Center to attract spectators and feature both tips from chefs and golf tips from PGA Professionals.

“Our excitement about the partnership with The PGA of America extends to 2012 and 2014, when we host the Senior PGA Championship at our home – Benton Harbor, Mich.,” said O’Connor. “The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, is part of a community that we call home. We look forward to having a Championship that will put that course on the map.”