Mesa golf course owner seeks coveted PGA post The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa golf course owner seeks coveted PGA post

Mesa golf course owner seeks coveted PGA post
Mesa
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By Janelle Molony, Tribune Contributor

Don Rea, owner of the Augusta Ranch Golf Club in East Mesa, is running for the highly coveted position of secretary of the Professional Golfers Association of America.

Founded in 1916, the PGA is known as the largest sports organization in the world.

His campaign plans are stirring up business and keeping the “teeny tiny” Par 61 club owner extra busy.

If he wins the vote in October, he’ll serve two years as secretary, then become eligible for a promotion to vice president, and later, president.

“It’s a big deal,” Rea said, “One day you’re the secretary, then the next, you could be handing the trophy to the next big ‘Tiger Woods.’”

His excitement could be felt during the interview with the Tribune.

If elected, the new title would come with a lot of responsibility and no pay.

“It’s not a job,” Rea explained, “it’s volunteer work.” As secretary, he’d oversee PGA of America memberships, some media engagements, host Junior events, and organize the annual meetings.

There is an administrative function as well, such as tracking budgets and recording board meetings.

When asked how he heard about the position – which is unlisted on the association’s job board, he replied, “I’m a very prepared board member and I’ve been serving on the board of directors for the National Golf Club Owners Association.”

His reputation preceded him. When the NGCOA suggested he run for the position, then “the local PGA section got behind it and nominated me.”

His official nomination letter offered an exuberant recommendation for Rea as a passionate and visionary leader.

In this year’s election, Rea will be against Tom Henderson of Connecticut, David Schneider of Iowa, and Kelly Williams from Kentucky.

“Only one other person from Arizona has ever run, and it was a decade ago,” Rea said.

The public cannot contribute to the vote. The election is limited to officers in the association from 41 sections of the country.

Rea was drawn to this opportunity because of the potential to impact more PGA members and families in a positive way.

Golf, Rea believes, has a unique advantage over other sports because of its whole-family component.

He cited a recent sample survey which showed only 8 to 10 percent of adults in America as having played golf in past years.

Though the activity continues to be more popular among seniors, he says the competition against other sport options is very high for the younger crowd.

Rea, 52, hopes to change this.

“I love what golf does for families,” said Rea, describing the game as the “greatest thing ever,” because it incorporates fun, family, fitness and “forever” – stressing the importance of making treasured memories through gameplay.

Rea fondly remembers golfing together with his father, before his passing. He’s also spent many hours with his wife Karen and daughter Katie on the course.

In person, Don Rea is a vivacious go-getter who never turns down an opportunity to help in his community.

In 2019, he hosted a 100-hole “Golf-a-Thon” in support of Every Nation Campus, a faith-based outreach program providing resources to students at ASU and Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

Over $40,000 was raised through this initiative.

Augusta Ranch hosts programs in support of PGA Hope, a military-focused outreach uses golf to support veterans in need of ways to increase their mental, emotional and physical emotional well-being.

He strives to invite younger crowds onto the green with family movie nights on a 50-foot screen and free clinics for kids. Rea hopes more youth with try golfing and fall in love.

Rea started working at Augusta Ranch in 1999 in an outdoor/maintenance capacity, “cleaning clubs,” as he’s said on social media.

He jokes even after 20 years, and at the age of 52, he can still be found help his employees make the club sparkle and shine.

Upcoming community events at the Ranch can be found at AugustaRanchGolf.com/Community and more information on the Arizona nominee’s campaign are posted at DonReaPGA.com.

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