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August 9, 2021

Paul Coutoumas: Create a Welcoming Environment of Diversity at Your Facility

Paul Coutoumas, the 2020 New England PGA Section Player Development Award winner, is the PGA Head Professional at D.W. Field Golf Course in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Paul Coutoumas on the importance of creating a welcoming environment of diversity at your facility:

I’m not big on slapping labels on things, but by welcoming an incredibly diverse group of golfers to our facility, we have grown our business through “true inclusion”. In addition to my PGA Head Professional duties, I own the golf shop and am the president of the management company that has been so dedicated to creating a welcoming, enjoyable golfing experience for our customers. One of my goals when assuming management of the facility six years ago was to make the course and practice range more inclusive and representative of the population of Brockton, Massachusetts and the surrounding communities. We aimed to open the facility to everybody and implemented a First Tee Program and PGA Jr. League early in our days. We welcome a large group of women golfers, often more than 70 of them, who have clinics every Monday and Tuesday, and have a large group of racially-diverse golfers who call a neighboring course home, but enjoy our welcoming facilities several times per year. With programming for veterans, beginners, seniors and golfers with special needs, we are satisfying our business goals and growing the game by addressing every demographic of golfer. In fact, our workforce is also representative of our local population, as I felt early on that this is where we need to go, having a staff of individuals who mirror the people we’re there to serve. We have 17 employees, volunteers and instructors who play key roles in our player development programming.

Paul Coutoumas on the business impact of creating a welcoming environment of diversity at your facility:

This is about creating an environment where every single person feels like D.W. Field is his or her golf course. The days of golf facilities excluding kids, women, minorities or anyone who doesn’t fit a specific mold is over. Not only is it good for society as a whole, but it’s great for business. Juniors and beginners are the golfers of the future, and not welcoming them today may mean ostracizing them from the game forever. The business benefits of what we’re doing are many. Most PGA Professionals will tell you, “Get the kids and you’ll often get the parents as well.” Many parents take the game up because their kids have, or they’ll enjoy your food and beverage services while their junior golfers are at PGA Jr. League practice. When you have “something for everyone,” you’re more inclined to get everyone. Once they’re on your property, it’s up to you and your team to give them every excuse to stay in the game, again, developing a love for golf that transcends age, gender, race and background.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email paulcoutoumas@hotmail.com.