Golf on Georgias Mind


Tuesday, I made a quick trip to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta to represent Golf Channel in celebrating “Georgia Golf Day.” This year, Georgia will bookend the grand slam events. The 2011 major championships begin with the year’s first men's major, the Masters Tournament in Augusta, and conclude with the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. Georgia’s House of Representatives and Senate proclaimed 2011 the “Year of Golf in Georgia” and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal lauded the game for its contributions to the state.

Golf is more than a $5 billion industry in the state of Georgia and is responsible for almost 57,000 jobs. In addition to providing employment, it is also a key source for tourism in the state as well as responsible for annual charitable donations in excess of $50 million.

I was joined by Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America; Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation; and members of the Georgia Section of the PGA of America, the Georgia Golf Course Owners Association, the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association, and the Georgia Chapter of the Club Managers Association as we took over the downstairs of the Capitol building. Bridgestone was on hand to do ball fittings, another bay was set-up where you could track your clubhead speed in addition to other statistics, and multiple other booths showcased the different ways golf is an important business in Georgia.

The highlight of the day for me was being able to lift the Wannamaker Trophy (which weighs 28 lbs.) as well as the FedEx Cup. Both were on display, in addition to other trophies that will be given out in the state this year, including the Tour Championship trophy, awarded at East Lake in Atlanta; the McGladrey Classic trophy, from Sea Island; and the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic, which is held in Athens.

Win McMurry

A few fun facts I learned while I was there: Did you know, 95 percent of the golf carts in the United States were manufactured in Georgia? And how about this, if you took the golf industry as a whole and put it all under one umbrella, golf would be bigger than the motion picture industry! Impressive.