PGA Seeks to Boost Presence Among U.S. Hispanics [4-A]

The Professional Golf Association (PGA) of America has not been traditionally very active in the U.S. Hispanic marketplace. Yet, the organization’s leadership is determined to change that. Earlier this month the PGA committed $50,000 to the Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation to support the creation of a network of “ambassador” facilities to offer low-cost instruction by PGA professionals. These facilities, says the PGA, will support neighborhood events and bring mobile golf experiences to local communities, mostly in U.S. Hispanic neighborhoods.

“The ultimate goal is to increase membership [to the PGA] among minorities,” Earnie Ellison, PGA’s director of business and community relations told Portada. Currently, only about 6 percent of golfers in the U.S. are Hispanic, a figure the PGA and the Lorena Ochoa Foundation are determined to grow, at least to better represent the nation’s total Hispanic population currently estimated in 15.8 percent. Overall, out of the 28,000 current members of the PGA, about 1,250 fall under what PGA calls “members of color.”

 Ochoa, Mexico’s famous golfer, officially retired from competitive professional golf in 2010 at the age of 28, but she has kept active in the support of golf among minorities, working through her foundation and in partnership with the PGA. Ochoa, who was the No. 1-ranked player in the world for three consecutive years, has been very vocal about her desire to grow diversity in golf by providing U.S. Hispanics with the opportunity to learn, play and pursue careers in golf.

Yet, the PGA effort falls short of undertaking a major marketing or advertising campaign as it does in the general market. The marketing and promotional campaigns are done on a month by month basis, and mostly at a local level. “We are not hiring a Hispanic advertising agency at the moment; but that doesn’t mean we will not do so in the future,” said Ellison.