Former Nike executive Keith Houlemard named new APGA Tour CEO
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Keith Houlemard was named the new CEO of the APGA Tour. (Courtesy APGA Tour)
Founder and longtime APGA CEO Ken Bentley to assume leadership role with Board of Directors
Written by Staff, PGATOUR.COM
LOS ANGELES — Officials from the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour announced Thursday that Keith Houlemard will assume the APGA Tour’s CEO role. Ken Bentley, who co-founded the APGA in 2010 and has served as CEO since its inception, will remain heavily involved as he transitions into a new role as chairman of the board of directors.
Houlemard’s distinguished career includes more than 30 years at global sportswear giant Nike, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility including president of the Jordan Brand, vice president and general manager of Nike’s Olympic Games Division, and vice president and general manager of Nike’s EMEA Running Division. Houlemard is also an angel investor and co-founder of FOODe, an Artificial Intelligence-led platform that takes the pain points out of the dining journey. Houlemard is a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi, the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of an Historically Black College, and also sits on the board of the APGA, the Maurice Lucas Foundation and the Black Fives Foundation. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance at San Diego State University, where he was a member of the baseball team.
"The APGA brings together a few of my great passions,” said Houlemard. “The first being the love of sport and my desire to return to one where I have great passion. Secondly, I believe in creating opportunities for underserved communities to participate at sports' highest levels. Lastly, the APGA Foundation’s work to impact youth with opportunities in sport is where I have been focused since retiring from Nike."
Bentley co-founded the APGA with former professional golfer Adrian Stills in 2010 while still working as vice president of Community Affairs and Workforce Diversity for Nestle USA, a position he would hold until retiring in 2013. Under Bentley’s leadership, the APGA has grown from its modest roots into a destination for minority golfers with aspirations of advancing to the highest level of professional golf. In 2023, APGA Tour players competed for nearly $1 million in prize money across 17 events, playing on world-class venues including Torrey Pines Golf Course, Valhalla Golf Club and several TPC courses, among many others. The APGA has also grown its sponsorship base with support from a number of Fortune 500 companies including Cisco, Farmers Insurance®, Bridgestone and Mastercard. As chairman of the board of directors, Bentley will continue to play a role in helping to shape the future of the APGA.
“It has been an honor to work on behalf of the members of the APGA Tour over the past 13 years," Bentley said. "I am so proud of their perseverance and all they have accomplished on and off the golf course. Looking back to when we started, it is truly amazing how much the APGA Tour has grown. I am grateful for the support of sponsors, donors, the APGA Tour staff, our board and family and friends who all have a passion for helping minority golfers pursue their dreams in professional golf. There isn’t a better person than Keith to lead the APGA into the future and I can’t wait to see the continued impact that the APGA Tour can have on the sport.”
“Ken is truly a legend and an inspiration to all of us who have competed on the APGA Tour,” said APGA Tour player Michael Herrera. “I can’t thank him enough for the opportunities he has created for us to play world-class golf courses that will prepare us for the next level. The growth in purses and financial support from sponsors has been amazing as well. While I’m sad to see Ken move on, Keith is also a legend in the sports world, and I am excited to see his vision for our Tour come to life in the years ahead.”
The 2024 APGA Tour season will kick off in San Diego at the Farmers Insurance Invitational. This 36-hole event will take place in conjunction with the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open, with a field of 18 players competing on the Torrey Pines North Course on Saturday, Jan. 27, and the South Course on Sunday, Jan. 28. The full 2024 APGA Tour schedule will be announced soon.