Josh Tremblay, PGA, and the Yearn to Provide Every Type of Golf Experience
By Don Jozwiak
During his 13 seasons at Springfield (Virginia) Golf & Country Club, PGA Director of Golf Josh Tremblay focused player development programming on getting more of the club’s members and guests actively involved. Strategic use of programs like PGA Jr. League and Operation 36, creation of clinics and leagues geared toward non-play members, and innovative offerings for tournament and outings guests all have strengthened Springfield’s golf culture and made Tremblay a deserving recipient of the 2023 PGA of America Player Development Award.
“This award is a true team effort among the five PGA Professionals we had on staff, and I could never run the programs we had at the size and scale we’ve achieved without them,” says Tremblay, who's now in the same role at Lehigh Country Club in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “It’s all about creating an atmosphere of player development at the club, and it takes a team to do that.”
Tremblay and his team have established a number of programs to get more family members from Springfield’s 430 active memberships involved in golf, whether that means playing regularly or simply taking part in a few clinics throughout the year.
“Prior to COVID, I was really focused on getting more non-playing spouses and children involved in playing the game,” says Tremblay, entering his 20th year as a PGA Member. “I realized there were members I knew that I’d never seen on the course, and I wanted to make sure they were exposed to golf and given a chance to get into it.”
That approach led Tremblay to instituting Operation 36 programming for juniors and adult beginners, as well as starting a popular Wine, Women & Wedges series of recurring clinics with Liz Cooper, who was the club’s PGA Head Professional at the time. The clinics included three holes of on-course play, which gave Tremblay and his staff a chance to pair participants in groups that often became regular playing partners.
“For some members, that was their entire golf experience, but most then got into leagues, group programs or private instruction,” Tremblay says. “Now we’re looking at doing something similar for men – maybe Beers and Bombs based on increasing distance – this year, working with our food & beverage department.”
The adult-based programming dovetailed with the club’s successes with PGA Jr. League. Tremblay was an early adopter of the initiative, and now runs multiple seasons of PGA Jr. League for the club’s juniors each year. Springfield boasts a competitive PGA Jr. League team, as well as an in-house league for younger and more recreational juniors. The ongoing success of the junior-oriented efforts led to PGA Family Cup programming, which continues to grow in its third year at Springfield.
“You hear that you have to entertain the whole family, and that really is a part of our culture now,” Tremblay says. “When someone comes to the club and sees the activity level, and the different age ranges and player types who are using the facility, they get what’s happening here and they want to be a part of it. And when we bring in new staff members and interns, they’re able to see the vision right away.”
A focus on player development also helped unknowingly prepare Tremblay and his staff for the surge in golf demand that COVID would bring. Because the club’s PGA staff was already engaged with so many members, they were ready to expand and adapt existing programs to satisfy the increase in activity on the course and range.
With approximately 750 golfers in the club’s handicap system and nearly 1,000 total players taking part in the game at Springfield, Tremblay says he’s excited to keep the momentum going.
“As a staff, we’re looking forward to scaling up everything we do even more this year,” Tremblay says. “We’ve brought in Robert Simpson to be our PGA Director of Instruction, and we’re going to bring in more interns to help with our programs.
“We proved that there’s interest for all sorts of golf experiences, and we’re going to keep finding ways to expand our programming since we see how much members appreciate it.”