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5 Questions with MN Section PGA President Steve Fessler

November 17, 2014

New MN PGA President Outlines Goals and Priorities

Riverwood PGA Professional Steve Fessler, who we profiled in May when he won the Horton Smith Trophy, was elected Section President at the fall meeting held at Bunker Hills on October 27. Steve has been a member of the Section’s Board of Directors since 2005 and also serves as Chair of the Section’s Junior Golf Committee. We checked in with him just as the first snowflakes of the Minnesota winter brought the 2014 golf season to a close.

MN PGA President

MN PGA President Steve Fessler

1) What are your goals during your upcoming presidency of the section?

My number one goal would be to engage as many fellow professionals as possible in our MN Section. I would like to have both private and public golf professionals understand each other’s challenges and see now we could work together to tackle many of these challenges.

Second, we should educate our PGA members on the avenues our national organizations offer us to better our value to our employers. MotionPro is a good example – a tool with hundreds of templates that already exist to aid us in our everyday jobs.

Third, to understand that to promote the game, we must play the game in our customers’ eyes. We as pros need to play with our members every now and then.

Finally, for all of us to realize the effect we can have on a child by simply acknowledging their involvement in the game when at the course. We were all likely that kid, years ago, that hung around the golf shop dying for the local PGA pro to talk to us. The impact is priceless.

2) What do you feel are the biggest challenges currently facing Minnesota golf professionals?

Time management and showing our value to our employers.

How can we differentiate ourselves from any retail manager? Working 60+ hours a week doesn’t show value. Creating an environment that others want to experience has value.

3) Minnesota will soon be in the golf spotlight again as the 2016 Ryder Cup approaches – what impact do you think this will have on the golf business in the state and what advice do you have for section members to capture this excitement?

This will be an event never before experienced in the Minnesota golf business. The new Task Force, with Tiger and Phil involved, will create energy we can’t imagine. “The Road to Hazeltine” will be talked about for literally two years. If our members can jump on the bandwagon and hold local events within our clubs, the excitement will be captured. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity we all have in front of us.

4) What trends do you see in pro shop sales? Any favorite gear or merchandise?

This may be the one of the toughest areas in the golf business. A lot of “watch” type course yardage devices will become popular versus phone apps (which burn up battery life). Hard goods and soft goods are difficult with the internet. However, the internet can’t fit someone for the proper shaft and loft. We are the experts and new adjustable heads now allow us tools we never had in the past.

As for brands, Taylor Made was a beast last year, while this year I think Nike will step up a bit in popularity. The top of the line companies all have quality products – players just need to figure out which one they like best.

One area I would love to see grow is the use of music in golf carts and on push carts. Music creates energy and a much more upbeat atmosphere. At Riverwood, we encourage our players to use music devices as much as possible. Nothing obnoxious, but it allows the average golfer to get away from this stuffy atmosphere and dead noise. Let’s change the image!

5) You’ve mentioned how much you enjoy playing golf with your family. If you could take them on a Minnesota golf vacation, where would you want to play?

The dream trip would be hopping in a car for 3-5 days and driving to any course we come upon outside the Cities. Just drive and play – each course has its own character, hidden gems are all around.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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