Player Development


PA Homepage coverage of the PGS Drive, Chip, and Putt Qualifier at Mill Race Golf & Camping Resort, a Spirit Golf managed club in Benton, PA.


2015 was a banner year for Spirit Golf Management. Since being established in 2009 we have maintained a consistent commitment to exist by our motto, “growing the game one club at a time”. To truly be successful in this endeavor the key has been to embrace the individual personality, character and assets of our different properties. This was never more evident than in 2015.

The Spirit Golf Management Team

To best illustrate these unique achievements, here is Spirit Golf’s Top 10 List from 2015:

· 1 ·

For the third year in a row, Makefield Highlands PGA Director of Instruction Ed Gibson received a player development/growth of the game award from the Philadelphia PGA, this year for his industry leading accomplishments in Junior Golf. This serves as a tribute to his passion, Spirit Golf’s commitment to growth of the game and illustrating how these types of efforts can make a positive impact to any type of facility. This makes a total of 11 Growth of the Game Awards won by a Spirit Golf Professional! There is no better honor than being recognized by your peers.

· 2 ·

Mill Race Family Fun Month EventsNew for 2015 we had great success with a company-wide “July is Spirit Golf Family Fun Month”. Each of our properties used this umbrella to promote a wide variety of activity to make golf more easy, fun and affordable for families to enjoy golf together. A key success was our newest client Mill Race Golf and Camping Resort and how they used a variety of Family Fun Nights, clinics, PGA Family Course and $1 a hole promotions to generate nearly $8,000 in ancillary business.

· 3 ·

Under Spirit Golf’s leadership, an 18-month campaign to secure a Liquor License at Greencastle Golf Club was successful. Club Manager and Regional Operations Manager for the Mid-Atlantic, Mike Porter led the charge working closely with the community to obtain the needed votes for the approval. The addition of the new liquor license is an important revenue generator and asset for the ownership. The township has been dry since the prohibition, thus this was a huge undertaking. However, this has already expanded the services and amenities at Greencastle making it a more attractive property for golfers, outings and the community at large.

· 4 ·

Els for Autism, Stonybrook Junior League, and Middle Atlantic Blind GolfersContinuing to prove that anyone can play golf, Spirit Golf leveraged Stonybrook Golf Club’s unique setting and executive golf course in becoming a model facility for hosting accessible golf programs. These efforts included being an official Els for Autism golf facility, plus hosting numerous programs for the Middle Atlantic Blind Golfers Association, First Tee of Trenton and New Jersey Special Olympics. Joe Porter, our PGA Professional, continues to expand our companies and the club’s reach with his passion and excellence as one of the best instructors in the area.

· 5 ·

Mill Race Best Camping Photo Winner 2015Proving Spirit Golf is committed to adapting to the individualistic ‘personality’ of each of our clients, we successfully took on the challenge of managing an Golf Club/RV / Camping Resort as part of our newest relationship with Mill Race in Benton, PA. In fact, thanks to our customer service and growth models, we turned Mill Race into an Award Winning Camp Ground, earning 3 different accolades from the Pennsylvania Camp Owners Association.

· 6 ·

Under the leadership of Spirit Golf’s Director of food & Beverage, John Goeke, we completed a variety of renovations at Makefield Highlands, including updating the kitchen and bathrooms, plus building out the “Courtyard at Makefield Highlands”, a new 200 seat banquet and event facility with an open-air-bar and tented reception space. While just launching in late 2015, this has already made Makefield Highlands a premiere facility to host weddings and functions. The addition of the new facilities provided a new revenue stream for our client Lower Makefield Township and through our project management experience was completed under budget.

· 7 ·

Stonybrook Ladies LeagueAt Stonybrook we have continued to grow our ladies league which jumped from 24 to 50 weekly golfers this year. However, thanks to these ladies showing the way, we were able to establish a similar program for men for the first time in 2015.

· 8 ·

Makefield Highlands hosted a US Open Regional in May. Considering Philadelphia is home to numerous incredible private golf clubs, it was a distinguished honor to be selected by the GAP to host this prestigious event. More importantly, the 120 competitors all raved about the golf course and their experience, which was a true testament to Spirit Golf’s Director of Agronomy Mark Peterson and his team.

· 9 ·

We were able to kick off a newly established Mill Race Golf Association towards the end of the year, which generated hundreds of new-found rounds in the fall. The highlight was promoting November as Veteran’s Golf Month which climaxed on a very emotional and well attended Veterans Day Golf Tournament which is sure to be an annual success.

· 10 ·

In our second year at Five Ponds Golf Club, our client, The Township of Warminster saw,  for the first time in over 10 years,  a positive cash flow for the golf course. The course achieved this success with the addition of new marketing programs, the increase in customer services, new outing sales, a new men’s league 90 strong and improvements to operational controls and expense management.


Bridging the Golf Gap from Gym to Course

by Mike Attara on May 3, 2013

When the PGA asked several sections in the country to pilot a program for the PGA Junior League Golf, Eagle Ridge Golf Club was ready. The concept wasn’t new to Eagle Ridge or Mike Attara, PGA Professional and founder of Spirit Golf, because they had already established a junior golf team that had been active for several years.  One of Mike’s goals as Chairman of the Golf in Schools committee for the NJGF has been to establish a link between middle school students who were being introduced to the game in their gym class and actually getting interested students on the local courses.

Eagle Ridge PGA  Junior League Golf in action.

Eagle Ridge PGA Junior League Golf in action.

The New Jersey Golf Foundation had already helped in achieving this goal in Brick Township, NJ.  Gary Paxton, a middle school teacher and advocate for the NJ Golf in Schools program, worked with Mike and his team to establish a program that brought interested students directly to the course. Having an established NJGF Golf in Schools Program lead to the development of a small grant that funded the intramural golf program for a group of students from the middle school.   With the funding in place to cover some of the instruction, course fees and practice balls, the PGA staff at Eagle Ridge were able to give these students an on course learning experience they may not otherwise have had.

Eagle Ridge already had several groups of interested young golfers including the Brick students and the Eagle Ridge Junior League players who had already been playing together in a league format. They even had a coach.  Teaching professional, Rylee Plitz had already been acting as the coach of the Eagle Ridge junior golf team so it was pretty easy for her to round up a dozen players for PGA Junior League Golf.

If you want to build a junior golf program and grow your business, an excellent way to start is to get involved in the PGA Junior League Golf.  This year the PGA is expanding the program throughout the country. If you happen to be lucky enough to be in NJ or another Section with a foundation like the NJGF then there is help out there for you to establish a junior golf league at your club or maybe a golf in school program in your community.

To take golf to the next level, we need to establish golf in school programs like we have done in New Jersey on a national level.  Then we need to build on that program by creating a bridge to our local courses that students and their families can easily walk across using programs like the PGA Junior League Golf. This year we are excited to be fielding two teams from Eagle Ridge Golf Club.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or to learn more about how we have established our golf in schools and PGA Junior League Golf Teams.


Collaboration on the Field and on the Course

by Mike Attara on September 19, 2012

When The Lakewood BlueClaws players are not on the baseball field, they like to be on the golf course.  The players were happy to share their love of the game with their youngest fans at Eagle Ridge Golf Club.

It was a great afternoon as Eagle Ridge golf pros and BlueClaws baseball players came together to show how golf and baseball are very similar in some ways and different in others. PGA Magazine took a closer a look at this collaboration.


This past week I was featured in PGA Magazine’s Best Practice section. The questions and answers are below.

As seen in PGA Magazine 3/10/12:

Mike Attara on Player Development: Use Online Registration to Grow Your Database
Mike Attara, a five-time New Jersey PGA Section President’s Plaque winner and the 2005 New Jersey PGA Section Merchandiser for Public Facilities, is a PGA Certified Professional and president of Spirit Golf Management in Yardley, Pa.

Mike Attara on the importance of using online registration to grow your database:
Our management company oversees four golf facilities, and all of them host player development and Play Golf America programs. Registration for all of these programs is handled online using the website. In fact, using the online registration capabilities of Play Golf America is so easy and successful that we use it for registration for all of our programs: Family Fridays, leagues, instruction clinics, and anything else we offer to the public. It only takes a few minutes to get your facility and its programs on the Play Golf America website; the site walks you through the process. This makes registration easy for the consumer and for us, and it also helps us compile and grow a large database of golfers that we can market to. Once we have golfers in our database, it’s easy to shoot them a quick email about anything from a new program we’re offering to a rain delay that might impact that day’s events.

Mike Attara on the business impact of using online registration to grow your database:
We have more than 4,000 names in our database, and it is a very effective way to market to our customers. Once a golfer has been to your facility and started a relationship with you, they’re going to open emails that come from you. We’ve been able to save money on advertising because of the large number of golfers we can reach through our database. It also offers a lot of convenience to the consumer: When a parent gets an email about registering for an upcoming junior camp, they can go online and register right away before the camps fill up. In this business, you have to create your own opportunities. Using the Play Golf America website for registrations creates growth opportunities in an easy, cost-effective manner that provides both the PGA Member and the facility with new revenue opportunities.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments at

Spirit Golf Management. Growing the game one course at a time.