West Central Chapter Pro Ams Are All About Having Fun

For more than 15 years, the West Central Chapter of the North Florida PGA has been hosting Pro-Ams, up to seven a year. Though in recent years they've had to cut back on the number of events, Jon Johnson, the chapter’s vice president, and company have worked hard to increase the purses and payouts. That, in turn, has increased the number of players who participate.

"We try to make the Pro-Ams a really special day for the pros and the amateurs," said Johnson, who manages the Tampa Bay Downs Golf Practice Facility in Oldsmar. "We’ve seen an increase in players recently. Right now, we're making sure it's about quality, not quantity. In the last two years, we've increased the number Pro-Pro events while decreasing the number of Pro Ams. We had to pull them back. People were getting a little tired of so many a year."

The seven-county West Central Chapter, one of 41 sections of the PGA of America, has two more Pro-Ams scheduled this year:  June 14th at Emerald Greens Golf and Country Club; and August 5th at Belleair Country Club.

At the Pro-Ams, foursomes including a pro and three amateurs are created for play. Many pros bring their own team, but there are spots available for non-affiliated amateurs.

At recent events, Johnson says participation has increased from about 12-14 teams to 25-26 teams. Johnson adds that additional sponsors have been brought on board to help generate bigger purses.

Johnson feels the Pro-Ams are very anticipated events, ones that end with a nice dinner and a social outing fit for any avid golfer, even if he/she doesn't have a membership at a local golf club. Any amateur with a USGA handicap is eligible to play.

For more information regarding the Pro-Ams, contact Jon Johnson at (813) 854-4946, e-mail him at jejohnson@tampabaydowns.com or log onto www.nfpga.com.


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