Ward Sutton, a PGA Master Professional, the 2014 Northern California PGA Section Horton Smith Award winner and 2016 Northern California PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh winner, the Sierra-Nevada Chapter PGA President, NCPGA At Large Director and NCPGA Foundation At Large Director is the PGA General Manager at Hidden Valley Country Club in Reno, Nevada.
Ward Sutton on the importance of cooperating with clubs to support veterans:
As you all know, PGA HOPE helps disabled veterans learn the game of golf through PGA-led instructional programing. This year we ran a fundraising event to raise money to cover the costs of having PGA Professionals provide a complimentary six-week clinic for veterans. To ensure that those involved in our program can continue to explore their interest in golf, we created “graduation cards” that they can use at select public facilities in our areas to receive golf-related deals. We reached out to local facilities to explain what we were trying to do and to ensure that they were prepared when a veteran showed up and showed their card. At our facility we had 11 participants during our six-week program, but other locations managed to attract larger groups of up to 60 players.
Ward Sutton on the business impact of cooperating with clubs to support veterans:
First and foremost we organize these types of events to support our community, with little regard for the financial impact. Having said that, through working with local golf clubs we are able to create exposure for facilities and bring new potential clients to them. In the long-term, if veterans enjoy golf and feel comfortable knowing they can receive excellent deals at a certain facility, they are likely to spend their disposable income at facilities that accept their graduation card. Ultimately though, helping veterans spend time in the great outdoors forming friendships on the golf course is the driving force behind our initiative.