MGA Announces Transition Year

January 20, 2023
By Warren P Ryan


EDINA, Minn. (January 20, 2023) – The Minnesota Golf Association (MGA) has announced the upcoming departure of longtime executive director and chief operating officer Tom Ryan, who plans to retire from the association following the hiring of a successor later this year.  Ryan, 69, of Minnetonka, Minn., has served the association for more than two decades, and will remain onboard through the planned leadership transition. 

“It will be quite a change as Tom has been the face of the MGA for so long and helped guide the association through many challenges and opportunities” said Ede Rice, president of the MGA, adding, “His passion for the game has allowed him to be a thoughtful and transformative leader. He will be missed.”

A search committee is being formed, and the MGA has engaged the Orion Search Group, an Edina-based executive search firm, to assist the committee in filling the leadership position. 

During Ryan’s tenure, the golf industry experienced an extended period of correction following the construction boom of the late 1980s and 1990s, an economic downturn after the 2009 financial crisis, a myriad of new technologies that impacted how golfers participated in the game and interacted with their fellow golfers, leagues and golf clubs, and a resurgence of golfer participation during and immediately after the COVID pandemic in 2020. 

Locally, the game of golf drives significant economic activity, representing $2.3 billion in direct and induced economic output, 24,933 jobs, $743 million in wages, and $201.3 million in state and local taxes. Beginning in 2019, Minnesota golf facilities saw a slight uptick in golfer participation of 0.2 percent. With the pandemic curtailing many activities the following year,  golf represented an outdoor activity easily adapted to social distancing guidelines, and golfer participation soared 29.1 percent. Thanks to favorable weather in 2021, as well as a longer season, golfer participation ticked up an additional 4.4 percent.

Likewise, over the same period individual MGA Associate Memberships steadily increased from 69,375 in 2019 to 83,340 at the end of 2022, an annual average growth rate of 6.4 percent. 

“Minnesota golf is thriving, and the MGA is well positioned to continue its growth with an enhanced mission of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, ensuring that we welcome all golfers to the game,” Rice said.   

In addition to the leadership transition, the MGA has plans to relocate to a new suite space within the Southdale Professional Center, from suite 211 to suite 411 (6550 York Ave. South, Edina, MN 55435), effective in March.

                                                                 About the MGA
Established in 1901, with the formation by seven golf clubs to organize the state’s most prestigious and storied golf championship, the MGA Amateur Championship, the Minnesota Golf Association is today the governing body over amateur golf in the state, responsible for administering the Rules of Golf and committed to upholding and promoting the game of golf and its values for all golfers in Minnesota.
 
The MGA conducts 23 major amateur championships and 14 USGA qualifying events each year. Thanks to the support of its member clubs and associate members and the efforts of its volunteers and staff, the MGA provides a variety of services such as handicapping, course rating and measuring, an online golf news and information resource, www.mngolf.org, and an official publication, Minnesota Golfer magazine, which benefit all golfers throughout Minnesota.
 
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Warren P Ryan

W.P. Ryan is the MGA’s communications director and editor of Minnesota Golfer magazine. Prior to his communications career, he has worked at several golf clubs in Florida, Maryland and Minnesota "guarding the Titleists" and teaching the game to junior golfers. 

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