KOHLER -- It's a game that has carried one man from Madison, around the country and back to Kohler. Now, in the 101st year of the PGA of America, he's the organization's secretary. Jim Richerson's love for golf is paying off.
"We have to grow more interest and we have to continue to grow the game," said Jim Richerson.
Growing the game of golf has been something Jim Richerson has been trying to do ever since he became a professional at the sport.
"We've made some great strides in the junior space, but there's other areas of the demographics throughout the country that we can really go after," Richerson said.
Now, Richerson is in a position to do just that as he was elected to be the secretary of the PGA of America.
"This is an opportunity for me to give back to others and hopefully help PGA members to get up in life, and get up in their situations, and hopefully be able to really drive, again, some of the initiatives that the association's been trying to do," said Richerson.
The beginning of his journey started when he was just a kid spending time with his dad.
"We grew up as kids in Madison, Wisconsin. My father was an assistant football coach at UW back in the 70s. Back then, coaching was'`t what it is like today, 24/7, 365 days a year. He and other coaches on the staff loved to play golf, so as a kid growing up in the summer time, that's an activity that we did with our father. Later we moved to northern Missouri, and that's where I really got bitten by the golf bug," said Richerson.
Richerson was never able or willing to shake that bug as his career in the sport has spanned nine PGA sections with many different roles along the way.
Eventually he returned to Wisconsin -- this time Kohler -- where he's the general manager and group director of golf at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run.
"You know I grew up with Paul Chryst. Our families were friends when we were little kids playing little league sports together. So coming back here now and kind of finishing my career here at a premiere facility, one of the best resorts in the country. Then seeing Paul and his success at UW and my family that can come back to where we kind of grew up, it's truly special for me and for our family to see where I started and kind of now where I am ending up in here and being part of the golf community in Wisconsin," said Richerson.
In his new role, Richerson is looking to continue to work with junior programs, such as First Tee of Southeast Wisconsin, Drive, Chip & Putt, the PGA Junior League and many others -- as well as expanding the game in general.
"There's other areas of the demographics throughout the country that we can really go after. We can really do more to promote the game to different minorities. We can do more to promote the game to the millennial segment. We can do more to really bring seniors in that want to stay active and want to participate in certain activities. I think golf is the perfect sport for all of those demographics so it's something that we're going to be working on," said Richerson.
All the while he's still living in a dream that continues to come true.
"It's something I never could have envisioned when I got into the game when I was eight, nine years old," said Richerson.
This will be an eight-year commitment for Richerson as he will also two-year terms as Vice President of the PGA, President and Honorary President.