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In response to overwhelming need from workers across the golf industry suffering hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Golf Emergency Relief Fund has awarded more than $4 million to more than 3,300 individuals seeking assistance during Phase 1 of the initiative. Registration limits were reached within 24 hours after the fund was opened. Phase 1 financial assistance included $500 in basic need grants and up to $1,500 for critical needs grants.

The Golf Emergency Relief Fund is managed by E4E Relief, an independent, third-party nonprofit, and was initiated by the PGA of America through a lead pledge of $5 million and a matching fund for gifts by third parties of up to $2.5 million.

The fund is providing grants to certain industry workers, including golf association members, employees of local and state golf associations, caddies and certain professionals playing on developmental tours to help offset COVID-19 related financial hardships such as living and medical expenses.

Starting May 27, eligible workers could apply for Phase 2 grants of up to $3,500. Individuals receiving grants through the first phase are eligible to apply for grants in the second phase but the maximum amount an individual can receive in aggregate from the first and second phase is $3,500. The second phase will have a longer application process and distribute grants as reviewed and approved by E4E Relief on a rolling basis.

“As evidenced by the incredible demand, the need is critical,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said. “We will continue to turn to our friends both in and outside of golf who love the game for their generous and immediate financial support.”

The effort is also being supported in various ways by numerous industry organizations, including the GCSAA, the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the USGA, the National Golf Course Owners Association and the Association of Golf Merchandisers.

Melrose remembered

Ken Melrose, the legendary former chairman and CEO of The Toro Company, died last month at 79.

Melrose joined Toro in 1970 and served in multiple leadership roles with increasing responsibility over the course of the following decade. In 1981, as the company faced extremely challenging times, he was named president. Melrose stabilized Toro and retired as CEO in March of 2005. During his tenure, company sales increased from $247 million to $1.7 billion. He was also a strong advocate in Toro’s philanthropic and industry support, and played an instrumental role in forming the company’s partnership with The First Tee in 1998.

“Ken was a great man, and the epitome of an exceptional leader,” Toro chairman and CEO Rick Olson said. “The culture he instilled continues as a positive influence and will guide The Toro Company long into the future. Ken was passionate about supporting the industries we serve and helping our customers succeed. The impact of his generous philanthropic initiatives will continue to positively affect many in our industry and our communities.”

Tartan Talks No. 47


One architect believes equipment players never touch has advanced golf more than anything sold in a pro shop.

“Gary Player made this statement and I completely agree with it,” Steve Smyers says on the Tartan Talks podcast. “Everybody talks about equipment, the titanium drivers, the evolution of the ball and everything like that. The biggest change in the game of golf is the mower and how we’re maintaining golf courses.”

Smyers brings a unique perspective to conversations involving the intersection of agronomy and architecture. He served as the chair of the USGA Green Section committee from 2008 to 2012. “I was the chair, but I was really the head listener,” he says. “I have added a lot of what I have learned to my designs.”

That knowledge helped Smyers complete one of his more recent projects: The Pfau Course at Indiana University. The home of the Hoosiers features zoysiagrass fairways in the northern boundary of the Transition Zone.

Enter bit.ly/SteveSmyers into your web browser to hear the podcast.