Category - Amateur Programs
At PGA West, Teams Spanning Different Generations Come Together for PGA Family Golf Championship
By Hayley Wilson
A PGA of America Golf Professional for over 20 years, Mike Abate is well-versed in ways to grow the game.
This weekend, Abate, and his 12-year-old son, Nicholas, will tee it up in the professional division of the inaugural PGA Family Golf Championship at PGA West in La Quinta, California. Despite turning down her dad’s offer to play in the event, his 17-year-old daughter Caroline is joining them for some time well-spent in the sunshine.
“When I first saw the news about the Championship, I thought it was a home run,” Abate says. “It’s a nice destination and a chance for us to get away and play.”
Abate has spent his career independently teaching and coaching, which has included programs like PGA Jr. League (he helped Team North Carolina to a National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship title as assistant coach in 2022).
Then PGA Family Golf came along.
“Shouldn’t every golf professional be doing this?” Abate recalls saying to his PGA Section staff. “It’s who we are. We grow the game. Our job is to promote the game and find different avenues to get people plugged in.”
Unlike the traditional parent-child tournament, it now made sense that Abate and his family were encouraged to take part in his own PGA Family Golf events. The family of four participated in both of the sold-out, nine-hole PGA Family Golf events he hosted at Charles T. Myers Golf Course in Charlotte this year.
“Because I was involved, it created more spotlight for the event and more camaraderie with players,” he said. “It wasn’t, ‘Oh no, the pro is playing.’ It was, “Oh that’s great, he’s one of us!’”
Over half of his PGA Family Golf participants were PGA Jr. League families – further proof that the community PGA of America Golf Professionals build around these programs is strong, and it translates to every event and offering they host.
Their events saw players of all ages and skill levels: notably, one family spanned four generations. On Abate’s own family team, his wife still felt like she contributed and had fun despite rarely playing herself.
“PGA Family Golf creates an environment where people feel connected. Any time you can share your passion with your family . . . that’s why we do it. And what other sport or hobby can an entire family go out there and enjoy?”
Mike Abate, PGA