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Jay Miller loves the game of golf. He’s passionate and has great ideas on how to grow the game for the future. A big push Jay says that needs to be made in golf is to encourage more young people to take up the game. By giving youth golfers more opportunities, Jay says, we can help grow the game. Attracting the youth is also valuable in business because in order to maintain the longevity of a business you have to be willing to attract younger generations that will one day fill the role of different age groups. By learning how to build a business focusing on the youth, we can help build better businesses overall.
Jay Miller was the past President of the California Golf Course Owner’s Association, Founder and past-CEO of one of the most successful non-profit golf foundations in America,past General Manager of the National Golf Course of the Year, Golfer’s Association’s “Man of the Year” and is currently the Director of Business Development for Golf Card International and Fairway Rewards.
Jay got started in golf at Edgewood Country Club when his parents let him hit his first shot at a young age and knocked it close. His parents immediately got him a set of clubs and got in touch with some golf teaching professionals who taught him the game. He eventually gave up all the other sports he played to become a golfer. He started working at a local course and he went to Purdue University on a golf scholarship where they won the Big 10 Championship in his senior year.
Jay tried to become a professional golfer but realized he wasn’t good enough to make it and so he quit playing professionally but started his own business. The man who sponsored him on tour owned the largest manufacturing facility of plaques and he jumped into the business. The first year he did the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs and got to play golf with Gerald Ford. Betty Ford went on Good Morning America where she talked about Jay and his business which gave his beginning company a huge boost.
He was doing donor recognition wall displays across the country and offered a bunch of new products until 2001. He was playing 160 rounds of golf. In 1986 he had a dream about changing children’s lives and he wrote a 72 page thesis on how to grow the game. A good, wealthy friend of Jay took him golfing and asked Jay what he would do with money if his friend were willing to give it to him and Jay said he would start an organization to teach young people the game of golf. A couple years later his friend gave him $3 million dollars to start Jay’s project.
His wife named the project “Get a Grip.” Get a Grip on your life, education, the golf club and the Lord.” They were named three-times the National Junior Golf Education Foundation of America. They had one location called Cresta Verde Golf Club in Corona California. They built an education center at Hidden Valley Golf Club.
Jay took over Hidden Valley Golf Club in 2007 and became the National Golf Course of the Year in 2011. Jay went down to Florida where he managed a few clubs and did some consulting for other golf courses.
Jay is addicted to the game of golf and has probably played over 16,000 rounds of golf at 700 golf courses. He got hooked on hitting the cool shots. He loves the camaraderie the fellowship, and talking smack with your buddies.
His purpose is working in a program called Mulligan, connecting golfers to God. The famous Wally Armstrong, Jim Hiskey who invented Bible study on the PGA Tour. He loves helping golfers enjoy the game and grow the game.
Jay says we’re losing 100,000 golfers a year meaning that more people are quitting the game than are starting the game. In 1957, 88.6% of all children had a father at home. In 2007, 44.4% of the children born had a father at home. Around 90% of the golfers were introduced to the game by their father or by a sibling of their fathers.
Single mothers don’t have the time, energy or resources to introduce their children to the game. Some parents are spending $20,000 a summer in an effort to get their children a golfing scholarship.
According to Jay, $100 million has been spent on the First Tee Program which offers money to inner city youth to take up the game and the program is failing. Because many inner city youth do not go on to college and therefore can not afford to pay for golf at a later age. Jay suggests we raise $10 million a year to get students started playing the game in preschool. They get preschool teachers to learn how to teach golf and the instructors can teach preschool teachers in around 5 hours.
If you love golf then you should introduce others to the game. Donate clubs and balls to juniors. Glen Ivy in south Corona gave Jay close to 12,000 golf balls to give to young players. Jay encourages golf courses to give youth the opportunity to play the game in any way they can. If all golfers could have a philanthropic attitude we can all help grow the game.
I interviewed 1,500 real golfers and I found out that 68 to 78% of golfers don’t have a handicap.
Jay has gotten to play with two U.S. Presidents, many celebrities, many professional golfers at hundreds of courses. Jay feels he was created to change childrens lives through the game. He wants to improve their game, make them feel important and give them a product that was a good value for their money.
The top golf stories Jay ever had was when he played golf with Keith Jackson and Frank Boyles, Bob, the friend who funded the get a grip foundation on a golf trip. They spent four days at Augusta National and and Shoal Creek. The opportunity Jay had to spend the trip with two legends in the game of football was one of Jay’s most memorable golfing stories.
Engaging Discussion Questions:
- How can we help grow the game of golf?
- How would you get more people to play golf?
Links to Great Stuff:
- California Golf Course Owner’s Association – “The California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA) is dedicated to the stimulation of market growth for California’s golf course industry. We promote collaborative advertising and promotional advertising programs encouraging more rounds of golf throughout California.”
- Golf Card International – “Golf Card International was founded in 1974 with a simple idea: find a way to help golfers save money on the high cost of green fees. To do this, we formed a club for avid golfers and built a network of affiliated golf courses that would provide savings to our members. After 38 years, our membership is still strong, and Golf Card is now accepted at nearly 3,000 courses in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean.”
- Fairway Rewards – “Fairway Rewards is a venture–funded startup now located in Sonora, California. For eight years, we’ve strived to provide innovative customer loyalty, incentive marketing, and media solutions for golf courses.”
- The Mulligan Golf Club – The “Mulligan Golf Club” is a metaphor that describes the largest golf club membership in the world (golfers who have been invited to follow Jesus!)
- The Golf Club at Glen Ivy – “Glen Ivy Golf Club is a unique golf experience, with scenic views and creativley placed fairways, tees and greens.”
- PGA Tour – “The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. The mission of the PGA TOUR is to expand domestically and internationally to substantially increase player financial benefits while maintaining its commitment to the integrity of the game. The PGA TOUR events are also committed to generating revenue for charitable causes in their communities.”
- Wally Armstrong – “Wally Armstrong competed in more than 300 PGA Tour events, including numerous US & British Opens, Masters, PGA and Tournament Player’s Championships. In his first Master’s tournament, Wally finished fifth, setting a rookie scoring record of eight under par at Augusta. He is a Lifetime Member of the PGA Tour and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Florida, where he also achieved All-American Honors in Golf.”
- Augusta National – Home of the Master Golf Tournament located in Augusta, Georgia.
- The Esteban Toledo Family Foundation – “For fifteen years it has been my dream to establish a Giving Foundation that will put efforts into helping children around the world, and I am proud to announce that my dream has become a reality. With the assistance of my family, friends, fans, and supporters, I am proud to introduce The Esteban Toledo Family Foundation. A foundation focused on helping others, especially children. Our purpose is to supply basic needs such as shelter, clothing, food, education, love, and an introduction to the Lord.”
- “Success is using your blessings and your purpose.”
- “You show me somebody that wakes up in the morning with a purpose and can’t wait to go to work no matter what they do.”
- “Women golfers on average play faster than men ever dreamed about playing.”
- “If you don’t have four hours three to four times a month to enjoy a game of golf with your friends than your life is not balanced.”
- “The father is a key component to introducing your children to golf.”
- “You hit one shot equivalent to somebody on T.V.”
- Connect with us at 19th Hole Media if you’re in the golf industry or if you know someone who is, please send them our way. We can help golf courses grow by reaching out to more customers and encouraging them to play more often at any golf course.
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