PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While millions of viewers tune in this week to watch an exciting new generation of players tee off at the Masters, the 27,000 men and women Professionals of The PGA of America will be working at the grassroots level to get golf fans onto the course.
The PGA, with the support of golf's major allied associations, launched a far-reaching initiative in 2012 that is aimed at growing the game by getting those interested in golf to actually play.
"Research indicates millions of Americans are interested in golf but don't play," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "We have sharpened our focus on implementing and promoting programs to address issues of affordability, time and learning to play."
One of these programs, Get Golf Ready (www.GetGolfReady.com), is gaining traction. Designed to bring adults into the game in a fast, fun and affordable manner, Get Golf Ready offers five lessons concentrating on basic skills, rules of golf and critical on-course experiences. Most facilities offer the program for $99.
In 2012, more than 75,000 students, primarily new or former golfers, participated in Get Golf Ready, a 47 percent increase over 2011. Research shows that 83 percent continue to practice and play in their first year after completing the program.
"Through Get Golf Ready and other innovative programs, PGA Professionals are working diligently to convert fans into players," said Bishop. "Golf can be enjoyed for a lifetime. The PGA is committed to giving those interested every possible opportunity to get onto the course."
Thanks to programs such as Get Golf Ready and an unseasonably warm winter, golf rounds in the United States in 2012 increased 6.4 percent versus 2011, with more than 30 million additional rounds played. This was the largest single-year percentage increase in participation since 2000 (Source: PGA Performance Trak).
"While favorable weather conditions played the biggest role in increased participation, we also recognize that consumers chose to play golf versus other outdoor recreational activities," Bishop added. "Our PGA Professionals are implementing programs that capture the fun of golf at the local level to build on the momentum from this past year."
In addition to Get Golf Ready, PGA Professionals across the country offer a variety of programs for golfers of all ages and skill levels, including specific opportunities for kids, women and families. More information can be found at www.PlayGolfAmerica.com.