PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.: In response to the severe challenges impacting golf communities in the US, PGA of America has established the Golf Emergency Relief Fund to provide short-term financial assistance to workers in the golf industry facing significant financial hardship, including those suffering as a result of COVID-19.
This relief effort was initiated by the PGA of America through a lead pledge of $5 million and a matching fund for gifts by third parties of up to $2.5 million. The PGA contribution included every member of the executive leadership team voluntarily reducing their compensation, and additionally, personal donations from members of the board of directors have been pledged. The effort is also being supported in various ways by a number of industry organizations, including the GCSAA, PGA TOUR, LPGA, USGA, NGCOA and AGM.
Managed by E4E Relief, an independent third-party public charity, the fund will provide grants to certain industry workers, inclusive of golf association members, employees of local/state golf associations, caddies and certain professionals playing on developmental tours to help offset COVID-19 related financial hardships, such as living and medical expenses.
Further details around eligibility are forthcoming, with applications being accepted as early as Thursday, April 16 at 2 p.m. ET at https://relief.golf.
“The golf industry is in an unprecedented crisis, and our friends, colleagues and their families need our help right away,” said PGA president Suzy Whaley. “People throughout golf are driven by a strong desire to help others every day. We have to ensure that the heart and soul of our game — our people — are able to get back on their feet and continue to serve others down the road. Eventually, golf will return, but we first need to reach out and help people in our industry during this national emergency.”
“The golf industry steers $4 billion to charity each year,” added PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “Now, we need to come to the aid of those who make this game we love so special, to help ensure their livelihood. Our leadership team is so passionate about this that each has volunteered to take a substantial reduction from their own compensation to support the PGA’s efforts. With matching, our goal is to raise at least $10 million for this important effort.”
“The Golf Emergency Relief Fund is designed to assist those who need our help right away. These associations and their respective members run the game locally across the country, and the players seeking to make a career at the highest level are at the heart of the dream. These are the people who are the backbone of making sure our game continues to thrive. Supporting them through this difficult time is not only the human thing, but it is also the smart thing to do to ensure our industry rebounds quickly.”
Individuals eligible to apply for aid through the Golf Emergency Relief Fund are:
PGA of America professionals (includes members, students and associates)
LPGA professionals (includes members and students/apprentices)
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) members
Employed or contracted as a caddie of one of the following caddie companies (qualifying employers and their subsidiaries) Caddienow, Caddiemaster, 4C Caddies, Premier Caddies, ClubUp, CaddieU, Circuit Caddie and Caddy King
Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) members
Players in developmental tours operated by the PGA TOUR (Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR China Series)
Players in developmental tours operated by the LPGA (Symetra Tour)
Employees of United States Golf Association (USGA) authorized allied golf associations
Employees of PGA of America Sections
National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) members
The first phase of the fund will distribute two tiers of funding with $500 grants for basic needs and up to $1,500 grants for critical needs, with applications being reviewed, approved and grants disbursed by E4E on a rolling first-come, first-served basis. A second phase, currently scheduled to roll out after the completion of Phase 1, will have a longer application process, and distribute funds of up to $3,500, as reviewed and approved by E4E on a rolling first-come, first-served basis.