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An enthusiastic crowd participated in the Play Golf America activities on Monday. (Photo: The PGA of America)

Oakland University hosts its first Play Golf America Day

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The Oakland University Golf and Learning Center entertained some 200 guests, young and old, as 20 PGA Professionals stepped on to the practice range to provide expert instruction.

ROCHESTER, Mich. - On a property that once doubled as an apple orchard and a horse training ground, Michigan PGA Professionals spent Monday offering golf tips to a new crop of thoroughbreds.

The Oakland University Golf and Learning Center entertained some 200 guests, young and old, from southeast Michigan at Play Golf America Day. Some 20 PGA Professionals, including three PGA National Officers all stepped on to the practice range to provide expert instruction.

Created to showcase the game of golf in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, Play Golf America Days are presented by The PGA of America with presenting sponsors American Express, Buick and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Launched in 2004, Play Golf America Day is designed to provide free expert instruction to golfers of all ages and skill levels, introduce new golfers to the game and provide equipment testing from the best brands in the game.

"We had some 150 total Michigan PGA Professionals volunteer to be part of PGA Championship week and we got off to a great start today," said Michigan PGA Section President Dave Kendall of Saline, Mich. "We feel that once in a generation to you get to host something like this. You ask all your fellow PGA Professionals to put their best foot forward.

"This was a great day and we had a great host staff at Oakland University to work with. It was nice to see smiles come to so many faces."

The Play Golf America day agenda began with one of some 2,700 career performances by PGA Honorary Member Dennis Walters of Jupiter, Fla., a nationally renowned trick shot artist, who will receive the 2008 PGA Distinguished Service Award Wednesday evening in downtown Detroit.

Following Walters' program, 2007 PGA Teacher of the Year Jim Hardy of Houston kept an appreciative audience enthralled by his presentation of the "one versus two-plane swing" --
a concept that he has communicated so well over the past several years since the release of his popular book, "The Plane Truth."

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Oakland University Golf and Learning Center features a spacious practice range, a five-acre, three-hole short game area and practice area. Immediately east and across a road, the university has two 18-hole courses covering 500 of the 1,600 total acres on the university property. The courses opened in 1977 and this week played host for a second time to one stop on the PGA Junior Series.

"I've been here 32 years and I believe that when you can bring any PGA of America event to your facility that you can have the respect based on the brand and the level of business operations that the name PGA implies," said Oakland University Golf and Learning Center Director of Golf Bill Rogers. "This brings in the best players and the most interested young people. We believe that the exposure we bring here also is a direct benefit to Oakland University. It deserves the respect of high-quality events."

As Play Golf America Day drew to a conclusion, many amateur golfers lingered to channel more information from Hardy, who was his own rock star to the golf enthusiasts.

"I would never tell someone that there is one way to swing a golf club," said Hardy. "There is no wrong way to swing the golf club. Lee Trevino faded the ball and played to his strength. You must hit the shot you're afraid of and work it out from there. Hit your 'go-to' shot and you will find that you can improve one step at a time."

PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb of Bend, Ore.,, vice president Jim Remy of Ludlow, Vt., and secretary Allen Wronowski of Phoenix, Md., each got into helping any spectators that requested their assistance in on the range.

One amateur was frustrated by the results of his swing, and Whitcomb spent the extra time to ensure that the final shot he would take this day was solid. There was one more player leaving Play Golf America Day with a smile on his face.

About The PGA of America
By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the $76 billion golf industry.

By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.

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