Thorburn: A new era for Australian golf

A robust domestic tour, increased commercial opportunities for all golf professionals, greater industry collaboration and better marketing of the game of golf will be key priorities for the PGA of Australia over the next 12 months, according to Brian Thorburn, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of Australia.

Thorburn, speaking to a large audience at the PGA’s Annual General Meeting in Sydney recently, said that his appointment to the association in March was a significant change within the organisation.

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He indicated that he had been charged with the role of chartering the course set by the new Board which he hails as a new era for the game.

“The PGA has a significant agenda for both Tournament and Vocational golf professionals. We boast a world class education program which continues to produce elite players at a rate second to no other country the world over,” said Thorburn.

“The plan for the next 12 months is in line with the new Strategic Plan set by the Board and it will create a new legacy for the PGA which will see our Members, the Association and the wider industry reach new heights.”

At the AGM, which for the first time was webcast internationally to PGA Members, Thorburn and the PGA Board of Directors reported to Members on the operations from 2010.

“The PGA reported a loss of $1.2 million for 2010, money that was invested for the future benefit of our Members. A priority for the PGA has been to increase tournament playing opportunities for our members and as such we have invested significantly in both the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship,” he said.

Thorburn, who has a background in the financial industry, said he is committed to reversing current financial trends while remaining devoted to improving opportunities for Members.

“The PGA’s mission is to create opportunities for our Members and we will continue to invest in certain areas where this will have a direct benefit for all,” said Thorburn.

“Golf continues to be one of the most popular participation sports in Australia, and there are very significant growth opportunities available. Marketing and commercial partnerships will be a key focus for the PGA in the coming months and we hope to collaborate with others within the industry to ensure maximum benefit for all.”

Thorburn reported on many successes for 2010 which included:

  • A comprehensive review of the PGA’s world renowned Trainee and Education program
  • The establishment of an e-learning platform for PGA Trainees and Vocational Members
  • A new joint-venture agreement with World Sports Group, one of Asia’s leading sports marketing companies to leverage both the Australian Open and PGA Championship
  • The re-signing of GM Holden as the Major Sponsor for the Holden Scramble, Australia’s largest and most successful amateur teams event
  • The launch of a marketing campaign, featuring Geoff Ogilvy and Sarah Kemp, broadcast via Network Ten and OneHD
  • A continued successful relationship with Major Partner, Coca-Cola Amatil
  • Continued industry collaboration as Chair of the AGIC and, as one of three founding partners of the PGA World Alliance
  • The launch of the PGA Learning Centre
  • The successful staging of the 2010 Srixon PGA Coaching Summit headlined by David Leadbetter and attended by over 400 PGA Professionals

Thorburn said an additional priority was the launch and execution of the PGA’s Centenary program which will run from September 2011 and throughout 2012.

The AGM also saw three PGA Members inducted as Life Members of the Association based on a vote from their peers. The PGA’s newest Life Members are; Eddie Emerson (NSW), Kel Llewellyn (VIC) and Chris Tickner (NSW).