Movement welcomes people from all backgrounds to participate, join the golf industry
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (November 28, 2023) – Make Golf Your Thing, the collaborative movement reflecting the industry’s commitment to making the sport more diverse and welcoming, has released an update as it prepares to enter its fourth year. Highlights include investment of more than $1.8 million in 237 grassroots programs and steady growth in career and business opportunities for diverse candidates.
Led by PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA and USGA and with financial support and participation from some of the leading corporations in golf, Make Golf Your Thing began taking shape in late 2020. Unlike anything done before in any sport, the collaborative, breakthrough movement is uniting allies across golf in support of a more inclusive game and industry, proactively welcoming people from historically underrepresented communities in the sport to make golf their game, their career, and their business.
Through Make Golf Your Game, players of all backgrounds, identities and abilities are encouraged to make golf their own. To date, the movement has invested in more than 155 unique organizations that are dedicated to increasing participation among people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, Veterans, and those with disabilities. Approximately 88 percent of adults and children reached through these programs are ethnically diverse, while 51 percent are female, and 80 percent are under the age of 18. Fifteen organizations have received the maximum grant possible, reporting an average of 21 percent growth in participants since 2021.
To better service newcomers to the game, Make Golf Your Thing built a searchable directory on its website – www.makegolfyourthing.org – that allows visitors to find the best possible golf program that suits them and their specific needs.
Through Make Golf Your Career, the movement is working to attract diverse talent to the industry, directly connect with students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and equip the industry with inclusive best practices. The Make Golf Your Career job portal launched in early 2023, golf’s first-ever industry-wide career platform that allows golf employers to connect with diverse talent in a singular destination, driving greater awareness of the industry’s opportunities. Through its first nine months, more than 100 employers have registered for the platform with another 446 job seekers signing up. Nearly 8,000 jobs and 170 resumes have since been posted to the platform. The portal also includes access to the career exploration app ‘MyJourney’ as well as a workplace inclusion toolkit with tips for employers on important practices for an inclusive work environment.
In 2023, Make Golf Your Thing held an engagement and career day at Alabama State University with plans to connect with more HBCUs in the coming years.
Through Make Golf Your Business, the movement is connecting historically underrepresented vendors and suppliers to golf’s $102 billion industry through a searchable supplier database of nearly 3,000 vendors, 99 percent of which are diverse-owned businesses. The portal, which has been visited more than 13,000 times since launch, features 70 searchable product and service categories for users to browse through.
“The game of golf has seen incredible growth since 2020, both on and off the course. We are proud that Make Golf Your Thing has played a significant role in that increased interest across a much broader audience,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “While we certainly can’t take credit for all of the game’s new popularity, Make Golf Your Thing has had a real impact and absolutely had its thumb on the scale in terms of how the growth had manifested itself. We’re proud to see this game we all love impact more lives, particularly among females and people of color, and remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that this work continues.”
PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan added: “Our game must continue to evolve and foster a more inclusive environment if it is to better reflect the rest of society. Make Golf Your Thing has made incredible inroads on that front over the last three years, but its job is far from finished as we work to ensure the future of golf is open to everyone.”
“Sport, and golf in particular, has the power to change lives. Through golf, athletes young and old learn critical life skills, build meaningful connections and friendships and often develop a passion that creates meaning and purpose,” explained LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “As an industry, it is critical we provide opportunities for people from all backgrounds to enjoy this great game and 'make golf their thing.' This undoubtedly will make our game better, but it will also make society better.”
“We’re passionate about ensuring that our game is strong not only today but 25, 50, 100 years from now,” said USGA CEO Mike Whan. “That starts with a welcoming environment for all, whether it’s playing experiences or everything the golf community and industry have to offer, and that’s why we are so excited about the impact Make Golf Your Thing has had in its first three years and committed to building on that success.”
Over 40 organizations across virtually every aspect of the industry – associations, manufacturers, retailers, operators and nonprofits – are participating in the movement. To learn more or get involved in Make Golf Your Thing, visit https://www.makegolfyourthing.org/.
About Make Golf Your Thing
Make Golf Your Thing is a collaborative movement that reflects the industry’s commitment to making the sport more diverse, equitable and inclusive by welcoming more people to golf from all backgrounds, identities and abilities to play the game, build a career, and do business in the industry.
About the PGA of America
The PGA of America is one of the world’s largest sports organizations, composed of more than 29,000 PGA of America Golf Professionals who love the game, are expert coaches, operators and business leaders, and work daily to drive interest, participation and inclusion in the sport. The PGA of America owns and operates numerous championships and events, including major championships for men, women, seniors and the Ryder Cup, one of the world’s foremost sporting events. For more information, visit PGA.com and follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Morgan Comer, American Golf Industry Coalition, email@example.com
Jesse Dodson, PGA of America, firstname.lastname@example.org