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The PGA of America has chosen Sonoma Ranch PGA Professional Elias Eilers as one of 15 PGA members who will comprise its fifth PGA LEAD class (2020-’21), which is the Association’s leadership development program, created in 2016 to identify, mentor and progress PGA members from diverse backgrounds into volunteer leadership positions in the association.
Eilers was in Orlando, Fla., last week to network with his 14 colleagues in the class and to attend the PGA of America’s 67th annual merchandise show.
“I’m really honored to have been chosen, and I look forward to growing the game in the Sun Country Sector, which includes all of New Mexico and El Paso,” he said.
Eilers said the Sun Country Sector is the only sector in the United States that has had a class member chosen in every PGA LEAD class since its inception.
“The PGA of America has made meaningful advancements in embracing and leveraging inclusion, and this impressive new class of PGA LEAD members represents a diverse group of individuals who are on a pathway to serve as future golf industry leaders,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley, whom Eilers said he met in Florida last week.
A native of the northeast, Eilers said he came to Las Cruces as a college student in NMSU’s golf-management and marketing programs, fell in love with the climate and never left. He worked a few years at Picacho Country Club before taking the job at Sonoma Ranch four years ago.
He said he’s hopeful his participation in the LEAD program will help him make all aspects of golf more accessible to every demographic in Doña Ana County, including those – young and old – who may think they can’t afford to take up the game.
PGA LEAD was created to establish a deep bench of diverse PGA Members who are prepared to ascend through the volunteer leadership ranks of the Association at the Chapter, Section and National levels. PGA LEAD also aids in developing PGA Members who have a desire to serve and make an impact on nonprofit boards within the communities where they work and live.
Eilers said he looks forward to his two years in the LEAD program and what he can bring back to the Sun Country Sector as a result.