Do You Need A PGA PRO?


Does Your Golf Course Really Need A PGA Pro?

Ahead of this year’s PGA Show, last week I called a few golf course owners and asked the question in today’s world  “Do You Really Need A PGA PRO?”

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The answers I got on condition of anonymity were across the board:

“No, (sic) … all they want to do is play golf. They couldn’t care less about driving memberships or rounds. I’ll never hire one again!”

“Yes, the PGA professional is part of the rich tradition of golf.  Any “REAL” golf club must have one”

“Wouldn’t dream of not having a PGA pro!”

“Got rid of ours two years ago, the best thing we ever did, all he did was teach lessons, he was never in the shop!”

“The time for every golf club to have a PGA Pro has come and gone, especially for smaller daily fee operations. We have a former retail girl behind the counter now who is far better at merchandising and selling than our previous professional. We let a local pro give lessons on the range, I never even asked if he was a PGA Pro or not.”

“Our PGA pro, who is also our club manager, is excellent. He brings a professional dimension to the club that you simply don’t get from non-PGA people! He understands the history and tradition of the game and the club culture we are trying to create”

“I have been in this business almost 40 years and like every other position, I’ve had good Pros and bad ones! But I have never not hired a PGA pro. Although several golf courses around me have no PGA personnel, I wouldn’t do it, just out of tradition. But I am not sure the customer really cares?”

After the pounding I got from my last two articles I’ll sit this one out but I can tell you it’s a question on a lot of owner’s minds!  What do you think?

Do You Need A PGA PRO? Let us know what you think here on Facebook!

Looking forward to seeing some of you at the show!



  1. What a ridiculous notion………….just as ridiculous as saying a superintendent isn’t needed because ANYONE can mow grass! The few that did not hire a credible PGA Pro either didn’t have a good job description in place or didn’t take the time and effort to hold the PGA Pro accountable to the club/course. Customer relations and business efficiencies will be critical over the next decade and golf courses need both a superintendent AND a PGA Professional to lead the organization forward on a daily basis.

    • “Customer relations and business efficiencies will be critical over the next decade and golf courses need both a superintendent AND a PGA Professional to lead the organization forward on a daily basis”.

      Wise words.

  2. Steve Jablonowski on

    I think your asking the wrong question here. The question should be: Do you need a good qualified manager for your golf operations? I do not think anyone would answer no.

    Lets not keep making the mistake of confusing PGA Membership as a “profile” for a job description. Golf course owners and managers are not hiring golf professionals, they are hiring managers who may be members of the PGA.

    When I read the dialog here I can only wonder why the person who hired the lazy-golf playing-S.O.B. would throw him under the bus like that? It was a bad hire! When I make a bad hire I try my best to keep the fact that it was my decision on the down-low. Why would I want to advertise that fact that I screwed up and hired the wrong person whether he was a PGA Member or not? This would explain the anonymity.

    • Great comment, I have always taught in PGM classes as well as classes in PGA/PGM in Port St Lucie that the PGA professional is in essence the CEO of the golf operation.
      Good job!

  3. Being a PGA Golf Pro and an owner I am mixed feelings about the question. I know most Courses need them because of what they can bring to the table. I think owners have to have an accurate(regards of what they want them to do)job description. Do they want a manager,teacher or merchandiser- these things have to be aired.Personally I could never be happy in the shop!!! But not ONE owner would every say I am a Lazy Bum and they would all hire me again. Depends on the Pro and the Owner/Decision Maker.

  4. As the interviewee for a Head Professional position, even I said the facility didn’t need a PGA pro just to run the business. But the one comment above that states “he understands the history and tradition of the game and the club culture we are trying to create” is the reason courses should have to hire a PGA professional. It is our knowledge of the game – how to play it, teach it, market it, understanding its traditions, values, culture – that make us valuable. A facility that just wants to be a golf vending machine – pay your money, head to the first tee for your golf “ride” and leave – can do that with the “retail girl”. Facilities that desire to sell the golf lifestyle for a day need to have an expert in golf, a PGA Professional, as an intrgal member of the facilities leadership team.

  5. Martin I cannot imagine a club without a PGA professional. My first club pro Gwil was instrumental in instilling my love of the game. Sold me clubs, fixed my clubs and taught me how to play. Later I work for pro’s like Dick Pearce and others, all first class people that enhance the members experience of the game.

    I agree that owners do often ask this question but WE at Legendary Golf Management always insist that they go PGA!

    • Andrew, on behalf of the 27,000 Members of the PGA I thank you for your honesty and professionalism. It could not have been put any better.

  6. we contract out our professional instruction and it has worked out perfectly for us. I beleive you are doing a disservice to your customers and your club if you don’t provide professional instruction by a PGA OR LPGA professional. Non service = Non revenue to our club.

  7. I have done it both ways….and as stated above you need agood manager….the is a huge difference between a professional golfer and a golf professional….some PGA club pros get this confused….even our local PGA chapter has issues with the guys in the section that list themselves as teaching pros so they can play the monday tournaments and make money…it isn’t fair to the golf professionals that actually run a shop….
    But I do think we will see less PGA member pros….just a sign of the times….the various associations have battled each other for years w/o wishing to say so and the owners are waking up…CMAA tries to convince an owner that an F&B guy can run the show…because his association has lobbied harder than the PGA…so the pro goes down the totem pole….and the dining room gets bigger….

  8. My Dad was a golf pro and my brother is a golf pro. Unless you are planning to own/run your own facility, the position of “golf pro” is gone the way of the dodo bird. The “golf pro” at most clubs nowadays is simply a cashier with a polo shirt that just happens to know how to break 80… usually a failed junior college player…

    Golf IS about selling the ride… Lowest price wins, grab your ticket and head to the first tee… You want a lesson? Go to youtube. Merchandisers need to re-think golf… We are selling widgets at the lowest price. NO ONE Cares about your “story” – give me your best price. If you are the lowest, you win. If not, you are out of business.

    • Greg PGA/GCSAA on

      Mark, you’re obviously what we call in the business a muni player. A PGA Professional is not mandatory but it certainly helps. The rack rate at my facility is $200 a round and we (myself and my staff) had our best financial year in 2010 breaking every record in our 6 year history. Why? Because I’m a PGA Class “A” Professional as well as a Class “A” GCSAA Golf Course Superintendent. We understand that the overall golf experience is most important to our clients not the lowest price. I’ve learned this through PGA programs, experience in the industry and constantly learning about the business and current trends. As a master instructor and a player who breaks 72 most of the time I asure you the quality of instruction from youtube and a PGA Professional have nothing in common. But keep on checking out those videos and you’ll break 100 in no time. I’m sure I’ll never see you at my club as we are too good, too expensive and too full of real golfers to make room for your kind.

    • You obviously do not know anything about the golf business. If you want to take a lesson from youtube be my guest. Probably a sign of your intelligence level. I hope you don’t get too confused.

    • Mark…I am guessing that you do not associate with your family much. Like any job, you choose to do your job well or not well. I have seen PGA Profesionals do a lousy job and I have seen Non-PGA Managers that are General Managers that do a great job. The key is to understanding your business and most golf course managers that are not PGA Members do not understand Golf. How many executives from Harvard do you know that can fit a set of clubs, put on a 144 player tournament, give 2 lessons, handle 3 rulings, score the event, and then sit in a Greens Committee meeting all in the same day?

      And getting lessons from Youtube is like prescribing your own medicine because you read something on Good Luck with that!

  9. A golf pro is as valuable as his contributions to the membership, his influence on the golfers or members that use the facility and revenue generating componets he can influence.
    What motivation is there for a golf pro to stand behind a counter and just ring up cart and guest fees? A pro should be available during the busy tee time periods to interact with the golfers, let them know about upcoming events and specials. Part of his services are teaching golf to golfers in hopes of making their experience at that facility more complete. They have to make a living but they have to earn a living like everybody else! If they have no vested interest in the pro shop or receive no compensation for sales they will have no incentives. The same applies for membership drives, ideas about increasing play or selling golf merchandise. Not all clubs need a pro, not all club owner know how to run their business. Saving your way to a profit has never worked. You only get what you pay for(clerks and counter people with no incentives.
    As in all professions there are good and bad professionals. A good or qualified professionals can contribute. A bad or non qualified pro cannot.
    In no way does having a PGA card indicate a qualifed professional. I have seen to many bad ones just getting by. They have many things in common: do not like working in the shop, lack motivation, less than steller personalities, they feel the world owes them a living because they are a PGA pro and only do the required minimum work load because it is a job, not their career.

  10. In the 60s and 70s the golf pro was the heart of the golf club. He received a retainer because it was nearly impossible to count the hours he did. He was usually Steward, Course Manager, club maker and repairer, Golf Shop Manager ,Teacher and Exhibition Player.
    All those jobs have now gone to others except the teaching role.
    Many clubs still cling on to the 70s model quite unaware the world has changed around them and they are paying heavily for a sentimental memory.
    For these hard business reasons we cannot afford a retainer but allow a pro the right to teach at our course. If they work hard they can make a good living.
    And work hard they must: for the current trend by governing bodies to give PGA pros exclusive rights to teach golf cuts out the traditional route into golf for new players (ie accompanying friends/neighbours/volunteers to the practice ground or course).
    The reluctance of many pros to carry out this imposed duty gives rise to the derogatory comments above and is one big factor in the declining numbers of new recruits to golf club membership.

  11. In response to Mark Talk, your ideas are not the solution but exactly the problem. Granted in any business you have below average performers, but try growing your business with no service. Lowest price does not win in the long run. This is what less than knowledgeable operators do. Wow, let’s send every one to You Tube for a lesson..think about what you are saying. Selling at low prices may seem like it will drive more business, but you have to realize people will and do pay for quality.
    You mentioned your father and brother were pros – PGA or not, if they have your attitude and thoughts I can see why you would think a professional prescence is unnecessary.
    Any owner that doesn’t feel they need a person that can teach the game, properly fit golf clubs, officiate events and outings, and contagiously spread good will to the customers is not going to build new players and possibly lose many they already have.
    Your comment about failed junior college players is so far off base that it shows your lack of insight and for that matter knowledge.
    Sounds like you are a bitter person who couldn’t perform the tasks it takes to be a very competent golf professional in my opinion.

  12. Does your club need a PGA Professional? Yes. As an owner, you want someone who took the time and effort to acquire the most prestigious certification in golf.

    More importantly, your club needs to hire the CORRECT PGA Professional. Each club has its own needs. One club may want a PGA Head Professional to focus on merchandising, another on instruction, another wants a player, and another needs an outing salesman.

    Find the CORRECT PGA Professional, provide them with the resources to succeed, and you have hit a home run

  13. Depnds on the facility! If it is a “public” cattle farm, probably could do without a PGA Pro and use such as teachers and “rob” those types for using the facility to teach at.

    If the facility has a “membership” and wants events to play in and operated properly, then the initials PGA might mean something.

    The “mistake” the PGA made was: allowing corporate America to “take over” the PGA and “get hold” of multiple golf facilites under corporate titles.

    When coporate America “took over” the PGA, the PGA got away from the independent contractor/entrepreneur type of PGA Professional – that type of PGA Member is pretty much a “dead” breed!

    The PGA is now “geared for” corporate America and produces “bodies”, with initials PGA, not PGA Members with a vested capital interest in the golf operation, as we once did.

    • “10” quotes. Are you quoting yourself Montana Mike? Priceless!

      @ MARKTALK – Beware of the apparently counterintuitive downward spiral. Bottom line only thinking leads some courses to slowly wither and die. You get what you pay for (or don’t pay for in this case) and taking shortcuts by eliminating programs or reducing tee time intervals to boost revenue may end up costing the golf course operator in the long run through price perception devaluation, poor quality conditions and pace of play issues – all due to excessive traffic. We also see this with excessive coupons and at lower priced higher volume operations who scrimp on necessities to squeeze out dollars. There comes a point where increasing dollars per round becomes the focus. I agree that there is a market for the middle to upper price points, even folks who aren’t in the core demographic will splurge occasionally on that option. I think the climate in golf has changed enough that you must know your identity and execute it consistently & efficiently to survive. Just like a top notch chef will maximize your profitability, the right PGA Professional will absolutely enhance the customer’s experience. There IS quality out there and a segment of people who appreciate and pay more for it. Think of the PGA of America as a cross section of the general population, only better at golf. In any industry, along the bell curve, you will find people that are above average, below average, and everywhere in between. In assessing such things, the PGA title is arbitrary since the person had likely established personality traits before earning the prestigious title of PGA Professional.

      Thank you to a PGA pro (and my Dad) who got me into the game. I can now thank him for fostering my passion and respect for golf enough to drive me to teach and fit clubs as a way to earn a wonderfully rewarding living at a golf course. My “office” is second to none!

  14. I am afraid it is down to the management to get the best out of their people. Golfers want to play with a Professional, golfers want to be taught by a PGA Professional. Why do managers not put it in the contracts of PGA pro’s that they have to bring in to the club a certain amount of members each year, provide free clinics for members each year, play golf a certain amount of times with members each year, provide free custom club fitting to members each year. This all would give added value to a membership fee. If you are a blind manager then it is your fault and no one else is to blame. Use your PGA Professional to add value to the current membership base and to add value to new memberships. Get the Professional to do a tip each month on youtube the members can access. Provide a weekly newsletter written by the professional on how to improve memebers golf. It is not rocket science!

  15. Jon G from Virginia on

    The topic I see missing from this discussion is how important PGA members are in growing the game and the business of the facility. If the course is full, attracting customers at rack rate, then it is hard to argue that there is a need for anybody but a clerk to collect the money.

    As most courses are not in that position, PGA professionals are uniquely qualified to attract business to the facility. Whether through clinics to help newbies learn the game, instruction and motivation to keep those who are struggling with the game, or private lessons, playing better = more fun= more people playing more rounds.

    Some courses struggle with allowing that professional out from behind the counter to perform these tasks, but that is short-sighted in my opinion.

  16. Being someone who knows & understands what one must go through to become a PGA pro, I can understand how a good majority of PGA pros are posting, with great passion, how important it is to be a qualified PGA professional.

    For upscale public & most private facilites, I would have to agree. However, when it comes down to the other 75% of golf courses in this country, I would have to disagree.

    While only one or two courses in each city can say they have the lowest price or best location or most pristine facility, what about the rest of them?

    There are too many PGA pros I know who struggle to break 80 on a regular basis. Don’t believe me? Lookup your local PGA section tournaments and view the results. You’ll be amazed to see that half the guys out there are very good, but the other half are just decent golfers at best.

    Where I am from, there are two or three very good players and pros, and then there’s everyone else. The two or three great ones symbolize the ideal pro, PGA or not, while the rest are just wannabes.

    I understand that most of the PGA pros reading this will have something negative to say about this, but I believe it to be the truth.

    As Andrew Wood’s company knows, over 90% of all PGA (and non-PGA) pros know little to nothing about how to use marketing and sales to improve his/her facility’s bottom line in both the short and long term.

    Until that changes, I’m afraid that most courses will have three choices:

    1. hire a PGA pro, pay him/her a hefty salary, be able to say your course has a PGA pro, and hope for the best,

    2. hire a non-affiliated pro, pay him/her slightly less, be able to say your course has a pro, and hope for the best, or

    3. don’t hire a pro at all, save money, have minimal experience on staff, and hope for the best.

    Of course, you can branch these three things into subcategories, but that’s what a golf course’s options are these days.

    While it’s absolutely necessary to have a golf course superintendent to maintain your facility (or at least someone who really knows what they are doing), the one thing a golf course business MUST ALSO possess is not a PGA pro, but a pro/manager who can shoot around par or better, understand the golf swing, teach golf in a way all students can easily understand, sell golf, and market their golf business.

    Whether that person is a PGA pro or not, in most cases, won’t make that much of a difference. And until each golf course tries it all three ways, we will never know for sure which of the above 3 options is best. Since there are more PGA pros and more money and publicity surrounding the PGA of America, the general public will always be pushed to believe that courses with PGA Pros are automatically better than courses without them.

    Unless your PGA pro is well-known, successfully proven him/herself in the golf business in a golf course pro role, how can we assume they are automatically better for a given golf course business?

    What else can a PGA pro do to cause a golfer/customer to come in and frequent their golf course over a course without a PGA pro?

    Think about that. Excluding the quality, location, and pricing of the golf course…you know…the variables that the pro can’t control… what exactly does a PGA pro do to increase a golf course’s bottom line over a golf course that has a non-member pro or no pro at all?

    • Mike, I’d like to think you put a lot of thought into this. A lot of time but I’m not sure a lot of thought.

      Ask that great counter help if they know how to manage an inventory, manage his/her labor budget, strategize how to drive more rounds to the course (not just lowering the price), teach AND play the game as an expert, handle the endless interpersonal issues concerning handicapping and other conflicts, drive enthusiasm to the players, increase participation in events, raise charitable funds, be a community leader, be a motivator for the staff as well as players, coordinate and conduct competitive events, coordinate with the other departments within the club for successful events that keep them coming back, all of which help drive additional rounds or membership and of course make sure all standards are kept up. Somewhere in this they also have a family to tend to and try to find the time to achieve balance in their lives. Anyone might be able to do this but the PGA Member is an individual who has been trained and experienced in all these areas and typically finds balance in all this as a professional. Hire who you want, but the PGA Member is the most qualified to handle all of this. Not all are equally qualified but neither is the desk jockey.

    • Great comment. But as far as the choices that an owner/management company have for increasing revenue I disagree with your top three. Doesn’t it make sense to hire a teaching pro, beef up the responsibilities of the player services manager, and pay your sales and marketing director more and give them more power? I’m at the bottom of the totem pole at a club in Las Vegas, and a PGM student as well, and our PGA head pro just seems unnecessary. I’m not blaming him, I’m blaming the system. I know he just wants to teach golf, but we hired a great teaching pro for that. I enjoy sales and marketing above all else, so I want to be a marketing director, but the other 80 people in my program don’t think like me. Feedback?

    • My issue with the PGA is that PGA pro’s always say “Your course is better with a PGA pro”, without actually naming the ways that a facility can profit from having someone with those credentials. Why is PGA better than the other certifications around the country? What specifically does it mean to be PGA certified, other than the fact that you’ve completed three levels of busy work and shot two consecutive rounds under 77? What does it mean in terms of value?

  17. I completed the training program and was elected to PGA Membership in 2004. Upon completion of the PGA’s training program, they asked me for feedback and I told them we needed a Marketing and Sales training course(s) added to the program to prepare PGA Members for an increasingly competitive industry. Now, 7 years later, there’s still no sales or marketing taught to new PGA Members by the association even though they could (as some small colleges and PGM programs are already doing) easily add The Golf Marketing Bible or some of our other books or manuals to their course curriculum.

    The golf industry has definitely made an about face in my lifetime. Long gone are the days when owners just wanted someone to open the doors, look after the members, give some lessons and run the tournaments. Now, with the supply and demand in golf so out of whack and then exacerbated by the economy, owners want one thing more than any other – someone to DRIVE revenue.

    And that means there is an OPPORTUNITY for PGA Members. Members who become experts in Marketing, Sales and Management can (to the extent it drives bottom line performance) can make themselves IRREPLACABLE.

    10 PGA Sections confirmed their commitment to helping members succeed in their carrers just last month when they JUMPED at my offer to act as sponsor and send Andrew Wood to deliver a LIVE and in person full day training to their Members at no cost! (Wonder why I didn’t hear from the other 31? This spring speaking schedule is almost completely FULL but I could still fit in a few more for the fall so if YOUR section is interested, have your ED contact me!)

    For Members who want to take a proactive approach to improving the critical career skills of Marketing, Sales and Management, iInvesting in a Membership at is a great start!

    Kevin Strom, PGA

  18. This could be a 2 page report on this question, but it all comes down to what the course needs! I am from a rural seasonal area, where every course at one time had a PGA Professional, now only 20% of them do!
    Being a course owner and former PGA apprentice, you must choose your PGA Professional wisely! When I look at a resume, I am not hiring a Professional Golfer, I am hiring a PGA Professional! I don’t care how many tournaments you won or played in! I want to see what you have accomplished at your previous facilities to boost membership, play and all sales!
    In today’s times with golf facilities, the PGA Professional should be looked at as though you are looking for a new CEO of the company, who is going to drive the the facility to the next level!
    I have watched in my golf marketing area, an 18 hole facility that hired a Club Manager and not a PGA Professional, big mistake! With the population and the play this facility receives, what a night mare the board is having, the board members are running the events and the CM is hiding in the office, because she has no golf business background!
    And that is what it is, a “business”!
    Here’s another one for you, I worked under a Master Professional that couldn’t even figure out how to use a word document let alone send a email!
    On the above comment about incentives, you do the job you earn the money, believe or not the owners or the board know what kind of job you are doing, even though you don’t think so!
    I believe that a golf facility, that has the right graphics and population, should with out a doubt have a PGA Professional on staff! One that is visible from the first tee time and until the last group goes off for the day! Hours, yeah your going to put in hours, but it’s part of the career path you decided to take!

  19. I agree with some of the commentary. Some PGA members are value added employees and some that have been trained in old school methods may just want to play and teach. The one owner who contracted for lessons with a local Golf Professional and didn’t know if the person was PGA affiliated may want to check with her insurance company in regards to her liability. PGA members in good standing have this coverage.

  20. I was looking at purchasing a Private Club in dire straits (aren’t they all) a month ago and I think Martin’s post is timely. I would say in the next 2 years, about 70% of the private clubs not in the top 100 could be purchased…because they all seem to be making the same mistakes.

    The club isn’t the only place to get a drink, a decent steak, or play the game any more. But worse? They seem to all be run by a GM/Pro/Membership committee that can’t spell marketing or sales? I can’t believe they still don’t know how to produce their own slow drip marketing via email/web/post card mailers? I can’t believe the lack of follow up when a guest decides to darken their doors? I can’t understand the lack of follow-through and follow up when a current member quits? Web traffic/Google analytics…that’s for ‘nerdy types, we want people to want to join not go after them’.

    If you ask the golf pro why the Tennis pro has a full calendar of events (like every other day) and they do one event a quarter (basically), they act as if that isn’t their job? Three kids camps in the summer seems to be the limit???

    My kids just signed up for Karate a month ago….and boy does the golf industry have a lot to learn from these guys! Emails, phone calls, and a reward system that is interactive. They are referral machine. I asked them why they don’t just sit and wait for people to come in the other day and the head instructor laughed!

    How many place are going to have to shut down before they start focusing on sales instead of complacency?


    • Joe as you may know I was in the Karate Biz. What turned that industry around was, that with a little help from me instructors suddenly got interested in sales and marketing. The golf industry as a whole hates salesand that is part of the problem! It’s not a PGA or manager problem but as you say an industry wide issue. If you really want to grow the game WE have to get better at selling it! Aw

  21. Golf has a tendency to attract quiet, introverted types that aspire to become good players, but then end up as club professionals – not a good fit for today’s requirements – and a source of customer dissatisfaction. When was the last time a golf professional walked around the counter, smiled, and stuck out his hand to welcome you?

    PGA or not, one must clearly define the responsibilities, authority, and skill set for the job they are looking to fill and hire accordingly. Just importantly, you must continue to supervise, follow-up, and mentor that hire. On average, the PGA members, especially the top 20%, are very well qualified to handle most of these requirements, but if they are not supervised, supported, or given the tools they need to do their jobs, it doesn’t matter what credentials they have. Everyone loses.

    The days are over where you are going to find outstanding players for they are playing, but why is that important anymore? People, administrative, and marketing/sales skills and the ability to make the golf experience fun in an effective, efficient manner are now more critical in most cases. While I would focus upon PGA applicant, I certainly would not close off other options if I were hiring.

  22. In my last 2 positions, the non-PGA Pros that I replaced sure made it easy for me to improve the golf operation.

    The previous staff made no effort to help run weekly events (or anything else that could be called service) and their was no “club spirit”. The clubs were drained physically and spiritually.

    Just by offering basic services like pairing players and makeing scorecards and scoreboards for events, I heard shouts of joy.

    Physically, the facilities were outdated because no re-investment was being made.

    Why was I so lucky? Because of the old ownership philosopy that believes it can “save itself rich”.

    Most golf operations need, a good manager (leader), a good POS operator, a good retailer, a good tournament manager, a good instructor and a good outside service person. How many people it takes to accomplish this is different at each club, but a PGA Member is trained in all of them.

    Make the right selection and you’ll never regret it.

  23. Mike Tait • Great blog post.

    As a 31 year PGA Professional…. and also one that pulled the ripcord a decade and a half ago on “that side of the counter”, I have several comments.

    1. The PGA is a Union with no member protection. PGA guys don’t like to hear it, but reality sometimes has teeth.

    2. Golf courses and shops that believe they need a golf professional to bang on the register all day long are wasting a valuable asset. Hire a minimum wage worker to ring greens fees and let your professional be more visible and network.

    3. Golf professionals NEED to start thinking and acting like their facility is being operated with THEIR money. Across the board there is no sense of accountability.

    4. Facilities need to hire the best and trust their judgement. Pay the Pro to do what it is they do and set guidelines. Take off the handcuffs. If you want a guy that writes monthly reports… hire an accountant.

    5. Contrary to popular belief… Golf professionals do not play golf all day, nor do they want to. It is kind of like being a dentist… when you are off work, do you want to look into wet mouths the rest of your day?

    6. If you feel your golf professional is playing too much golf ( or vise versa )…….. talk with them. They are your employee. Treat them as such.

    7. Management companies have turned golf into “Corporate America”… jump only as high as necessary to clear the next hurdle. The guy or gal that stands out too much gets chopped. It is a sad thing.

    8. Golf professionals need to have their pay structure based upon incentives! Golf professionals and Life Guards both are merely summertime jobs for the vast majority of the American landscape. Make sure your golf professional joins the Chamber of Commerce and the like…. Give them the latitude to get players to the property and if numbers are up…. compensate them accordingly. Hold them accountable.

    9. After 25 years of going to or exhibiting at the PGA Show I can tell you that it is dead. A complete waste of time for the lions share of vendors and TOO MANY of the attendees are only there to catch up with people not seen since last year, eat, drink, play some golf and go to the strip clubs. It is like forst day back at camp….. “Hey.. how ya’ doin’?…. Ya’ still over at Old Elm? (as they are walking away from each other)… “we have a tee time tomorrow at Orange County… 2:00 if you can make it… let’s get together this year” . And they are gone.

    10. Unless “Joe or Joanne Corporate” is going to fix a short game, there had better be someone there that can! Otherwise, players will go to the facility that can help them straighten out their chipping…. and since they are there… why not play a quick 9? It is all about revenue.

    11. If the club thinks they deserve a cut of my lessons, then they had damn well better pony up when I need the skin cancers removed from the back of my neck at 57 years old too. Problem is, they are under new ownership.

    12. There is a difference between a PGA Professional and a guy or gal that is working toward their membership in the PGA.

    I think it is clear that it is a two-way street.. both need each other, but either way, we all need to figure out how to increase play. Otherwise we just keep cutting the grass for nobody.

    Thanks for the space.

  24. Taken from Andrew Wood, “enhance the members experience”. Golf is made better by the experience. I stand by what I have said for years…”Golf is just a business. It has customers and product. Anybody can operate a golf course. But what you can’t do is take a manager from Target and expect the quality experience you would get from a PGA Pro.” (I generalized with Target) I have seen operations run by the best business people and also by the best PGA Professionals. There is a gigantic difference. I would love to see the business people run a double full-field shotgun AND fit 2 people for golf clubs in the same day! Oh that’s right…The business people never got trained to fit clubs. Or run tournament software. If you want to run your 9-hole mom and pop golf course, hire a someone with an associates from your local community college. If you want to run a golf operation like it should be, please hire a PGA Professional.

  25. All of the above replies have significant merit.
    It is, and has been my belief that the struggle golf is encountering is purely bad management and, in keeping with the times, no one is willing to stand up and take the responsibility for it.
    If the way that golf courses have been managed had been successful, then we would not be in this present situation. If the truth about the financial viability of existing golf courses was truly known, some golf courses would just not have been built

    I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people state “ look at golf course X our club should be like them” I happen to have worked at those clubs and I know they don’t make money, they look good but carry a significant debt, barely make enough to make payroll and cover operating costs. ROI not even close but, they sure look good!
    As long as what you want is shown to lose money and you are ok with that then be like them, just prepare to lose money!

    Do we have too many golf courses? Probably. But, we have more poorly managed facilities than is necessary. Everyone from the developer, architect, General Manager, Superintendent and Golf Professional all have to share in the responsibility of a business gone bad. Keep it simple, people come to a golf course firstly to play golf, let’s make that work, then add on the rest later if the finances and rounds are there to support it.
    Present day Golf Facilities Management for the most part is failing, yet we resist the need
    to be creative and deviate from the norm!
    Insanity “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” At last years Golf Inc.conference, Joe Steranka PGA CEO made this statement during a forum with IRI Golf President Jeff Silverstein. Here is an excerpt from that forum.
    “There were a few industry executives who espoused the former and pointed critically at golf course management staff, be they PGA professionals or GCSAA superintendents. The criticism suggested professionals are out of touch with contemporary customers and course needs.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    I discussed the second strategy of aligning costs to reinvest in the business of golf, starting with the key employees that drive any business — PGA professionals. I pointed out the value of flying the PGA flag at a facility as a point of differentiation in these challenging times”.
    If the PGA thinks it is the answer to renewing the golf business, where have they been the last 15 years on the way to the decline of the game of golf and the golf business?
    The PGA certainly can provide to the management pool of golf, its fair share of good management. It certainly isnt the secret to getting golf out of its present situation , that is association arrogance. Architects,Golf Managers, Golf Professionals and Golf Superintendents will lose their jobs because the market will dictate that, not associations and what they feel their value is. All associations have been protecting mediocrity in their ranks in their race to create themselves. Quality managers will rise to the top irrespective of what Association they come from.

    Golf can recover, it needs individuals and all of the Professional Associations involved in the business to re-evaluate their mandates.

  26. Pretty interesting sign off – “Looking forward to seeing some of you at the show”

    PGA Show that is!!!!!!!!

    PGA is 2nd to none in training and qualiying its members to run every side of the golf operation. If you have had bad PGA Pro’s more due diligence should be taken in the hiring protocal or in the overseeing of that individual!

    Golf would not be what it is without the PGA. It is in down economic times when this really comes out because everyone thinks the PGA pro makes too much money. That is far from the case.

    Another comment was made about the smaller operations do not need the PGA pro – THEY ARE THE ONES THAT NEED THEM THE MOST!

  27. The economy has certainly impacted the golf business, no one is immune. I’m not really sure what the PGA does for its members anymore. I see the status of the PGA Professional eroding. The PGA professional is just another employee to many clubs, no different than the landscaper, locker room attendant…etc. Many clubs fail to recognize that PGA Professionals, regardless of their responsibilities, have a very unique relationship with the customer and almost always have a far greater role in ensuring the repeat business upon which a facility depends. Instead of being treated as a key investment by the employer, too often, golf professionals find themselves as a line item in a budget.
    The PGA Golf Professional-from a Director of Golf to an Assistant Golf Professional-is a true professional who has invested years and a considerable amount of money (in most cases the expenses incurred to acquire a college degree as well as the $8-$10,000 necessary to achieve PGA membership) to acquire the knowledge and savvy required to contribute to the success of a facility.
    The sacrifices required, both personal and financial, eventually led me to leave the business. This is not a gripe, it’s just a little bit of my story…and I’m movin’ on.

    I spent a decade as a member of the PGA of America. My experience was exclusively at high-end, private facilities. I initially took a tremendous amount of pride in my profession. The opportunity to be able to make a living within the game I loved was, to me, the best of both worlds. I took very seriously my role as an ambassador, role model, and “pied piper” for the thousands of club members and (especially) juniors with whom I crossed paths. I was fortunate to start my career at a smallish, seasonal private club. The Head Professional had a solid system in place, with his first assistant getting lots of opportunity to learn the business aspects of the profession in addition to doing the lion’s share of the teaching. There was a tremendous amount of interaction with the membership and to form lasting personal and professional relationships. The second assistant was an entry-level kid who learned the ropes and cut his teeth teaching the juniors – and when the First Assistant moved on he was hopefully ready to step into the position.
    It was, unfortunately, the last job where I felt I worked under conditions that valued my contributions to the facility. My last two positions were at very high-end, fancy, mega-clubs with many amenities. At the first, my position involved standing behind a counter for 10 hours per day, answering the phone and taking tee-time requests. The facility employed a non-PGA teaching professional who did 99% of the teaching. This facility (36 holes and approx. 17K rouds per year per 18) of 300 members employed a GM who was paid $300K per year, a Club Manager who was paid $175K per year, an F&B Manager who was paid $125K per year, in addition to many, many other semi-managerial positions. The golf staff consisted of a Director of Golf who was paid $180K, a Head Professional being paid $50K, a shop merchandiser who was paid 35K, and three assistant golf professionals who were illegally classified as exempt employees and paid a salary of $32K. For this $32K per year, the three assistant professional worked 54 hours over a six-day workweek – year round. If you wanted to take a week off, management forced you to burn 6 of your paid days off, instead of the legally mandated 5 – because, as the Director of Golf put it “…you work six days per week”.
    At many similar clubs, the Director of Golf hardly ever interacts with the membership, and spends most of his days in “meetings”.
    The final club at which I worked had multiple courses and clubhouses. Each course had its own clubhouse, Head Golf Professional at 45K, Club Manager at $75K, and Executive Chef at 55K…In addition to multiple layers of F&B/Club Management that included an overall GM at $350K, an overall F&B manager at $225K, Director of Finance at $250K, Human Resources director at $150K…etc. While the club is throwing all of this money at its management and F&B staff, it is paying its golf professionals far, far less than comparable jobs listed in the PGA’s annual Compensation Survey. The assistant professionals are paid a maximum of $10 per hour. In addition to this sterling package, the club takes 25% of any lesson income and calls the portion going to the instructor a “commission”. While lavishing money on its F&B department and upper management, this facility looks at golf instruction revenue as an opportunity to pay the golf professional less money out of their budget and expect him/her to supplement their income through teaching. No one else affiliated with the golf business (chefs, GM’s, accountants, F&B Directors…etc) are paid the bare minimum by their employer and then expected to supplement their income. To make it worth the professional’s while, the club has to charge more so it can still get it’s 25%. As a result, a lesson that should cost $60 per hour costs the member $82. The vast majority of the membership is unwilling to pay $82 for a golf lesson, especially in this economy. The subsequent loss of revenue is a big deal to a guy who is only making $24K in salary.

    • So true. Meanwhile memberships sense of “entitlements” continue to escalate. Sad that the department that contributes the most to the profit side of the ledger is the least respected in so many ways. The front line PGA Members and Apprentices simply don’t get the respect they deserve in most cases.

  28. I stand behind having the proper job description in place for any new hire. This goes for all facility types. Not all facility types are created equal. That being said, not all PGA Professionals are crated equal. We may have all had the required playing skills and passed the PGA curriculum, but we certainly won’t be good at all jobs within the industry. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

    I agree with Andrew Wood, golf and golf professionals have to get more involved in sales and marketing. The golf industry needs to be in touch with current trends and our respective target audiences.

    A facility looking to target a certain market, drive sales, create an “exclusive” membership, great tournament programs must hire the correct candidate.

    Putting together personnel isn’t always easy when there are no clearly definable goals and descriptions. Start with goals and put together a team based on this and constantly evaluate the team members to make sure the facility is on track.

    I have had opportunities to work at many different types of facilities and had to learn to adapt to the needs of the operations. Fortunately, I had clearly identifiable goals in each position and it helps.

    As Bob Fagan put it, (if a pga pro is not) supervised, supported, or given the tools they need to do their jobs, it doesn’t matter what credentials they have. Everyone loses.

    Accountability is paramount on both sides.

    Before I blame anyone else for a failing operation, I must look at myself, my actions, my strategies and plans. It’s called acting with integrity and the PGA teaches that at Level 1.

    To a good 2011 everyone! Hope to see you at the show in Orlando.

  29. The one thing that sticks out here is the approach the clubs and the teachers are taking. Now I don’t know if this is what they teach at the school…I remember the PGA pro as being the guy you never saw at the clubhouse. He was either giving a lesson, on the range giving tips to entice lessons, riding with the superintendent looking the course over, etc. I don’t ever remember him at the clubhouse. He was your star marketer. I don’t see how hiring a PR firm to bring in new golfers can be better than that. Secondly, He was the best source of instruction you could get. This generation is too media intensive to see that. So why hasn’t the PGA been teaching how to use media to generate interest in a new generation? Ultimately, you will always want a human to teach you to get better; look at all the basball instruction videos out there. Yet how many kids still take lessons from profesisonals after it? Why? Because they see the improvement that can only come from human intervention. As an industry, we need to embrace this and let “what people are good at” do what they are good at.

  30. My first PGA Pro I worked for went through 9 Assistants in 1 1/2 years and couldn’t walk by a mirror with out looking at himself. The second embezzled 60k from vendors and the Saturday sweeps from the men’s club (arrested). He was replaced by a PGA pro who passed out drunk on the putting green during a putting tournament (fired). The one after him put the club into bankruptcy (fired). I left Northern CA. and in So-Cal it continued. This PGA pro was having affairs with the members causing the disruption of the Christmas party, and was being sued by the employees for sexual harassment (dismissed). He is running another club.
    The industry is filled with golf professionals that didn’t make it to the tour and woke-up one day and had to become a businessman. And that, they are not! We do not want a good player, we require a multi-tasking, personable, master salesperson, who will work on holidays and want to be there. Tall order? Not really, there 40 guys for every job in the biz! The problem with the old school is they have no business sense. They think in these times, their rack rate is still valid, when in fact the value of a tee time is directly tied to the amount of discretionary money in the system. The current picture is looking brighter, but for some that didn’t adapt, they are on the brink of collapse. We work hard to average 160 players p/day, and it is done by listening to our customers, they tell us how they want to spend their money. Tee times are perishable, and I assume you have already mowed and watered, are you really going to let it expire worthlessly. No one take’s percentages to the bank, and no owner wants to hear you held rack-rate right up to the last day you were open!
    To summarize, you can understand why I want these guys to surround me on all sides. I will hire one of those kids from one of the Golf Colleges first (and I do). As a Golf professional we do Jr Camps, grip day, putting and pasta, guest day, video day and so on. We strive against the current to make the club the center of the universe, and we do not make money on all those special events. They add value to our membership. We have rounded the bottom with 2010 behind us and I see a slow recovery which in fact is good for us. I will never hire PGA, period. Fairways and Greens.

    • Greg PGA/GCSAA on

      Tom, if I ever send you a resume I’ll make sure to take out PGA additionally I guess I should eliminate GCSAA Class “A” Golf Course Superintendent in case you’ve had any bad experiences with members of that organization. Certainly not all PGA Members are role models or great businessmen. However, when you say “I will never hire PGA period” you are effectively eliminating a great number of highly qualified individuals such as myself. I have 35 years in the business and have turned a profit at every facility I’ve every managed, improved playing conditions, provided an exceptional golf experience to my members, guest and clients. I would potentially be the best asset your club has ever had but I’ll never be hired because I’m PGA. Be careful how you discriminate it could lead to poor business decisions.

  31. Well said Tom, we must have worked at the same places I only viewed it as a golf superintendent who couldn’t understand how supposedly intelligent business people could continue to hire these individuals.

    Now I am not saying every PGA pro is bad, there are very many conscientious well intentioned successful PGA pros out there. Just as there are good and bad Superintendents.

    Golf has spoken and there is no desire for fluff, value is the word, good management is the solution. The Professional Associations in the golf business have lost touch with the game of golf and have become far too self absorbed running the business of their associations. Along the way they forgot about the golf course.

    It will take progressive forward thinking individuals to change the way we do things and it does need to change, the market is dictating it.

    I have been involved in all sides of the business from management, maintenance, construction and retail and I don’t care who the manager is whether he is a PGA member, a golf Superintendent or a F&B manager he just better be good and not have his head stuck in the past. The past has shown most of it doesn’t work

  32. If you understand what it takes to be a successful golf operator, you will know the answer is yes. If you don’t, you might want to sign up for one of the Legendary Marketing courses to catch up with the rest of us!

  33. I’ve been a PGA Professional for over 35 years. You can’t say all PGA Professionals are bad just like you can’t say All Lawyers or Doctors are all good or bad. In fact that goes for any Professional occupation. There is going to be a percentage of every profession that is going to have people that can’t handle the job.
    I happen to know Tom T. and he does a great job where every he has been and maybe he has had bad luck with the bosses he has had in the past. But I think he hit one out of bounds here.
    The majority of PGA Professionals are well trained and passionate about the golf business. All PGA Professionals have to take continuing education to keep their PGA Status. I know this doesn’t guaranty some one doing a good job running a golf operation, just like a college graduate may not be good at their job.
    I have opened new courses and taken over existing ones through the years and I feel I am old school but I am also progressive and listen to new ideas.I teach at a Golf College and tell my students all the time we have to change with the times and use resources such as Legendary Golf to make ourselves better Managers and improve the golf industry. But I can tell you one old school idea that stills works and that is customer service. We are not seeing that at a lot of golf courses these days. With a lot of foreign companies buying golf courses and hiring the cheapest help that they can and cutting staff a lot of operations are failing. In down times we need to provide even better service.
    My advice to all owners is do a good job of interviewing, give everyone a fair shot at getting the job and I still think you will find The PGA Professional to be the one you hire and believe me you will be glad you did.

  34. Tom,

    I have my own issues with the PGA of America…it has indeed lost its way and I don’t have a ready answer for how to fix it.

    Golf professionals exist to grow the game, but we also are tasked with preserving the special relationship we have with members/customers. And, you’re not doing the poor kids you hire any favors. My suspicion is that you hire these kids exclusively because you can pay them far, far less than anyone who can utilize the PGA logo. Typically, the kids who attend these “schools” are less educated than PGA Apprentices/Members and the “diploma” they receive marks the end of their academic achievement. The kids you hire from the Professional Golfers Clown College might know how to answer the phone and make tee times – but do they really understand golf…and why people play it? Do you teach them what an open-to-buy plan is? Do you teach them how to network? Do you teach them how to teach? When your “clerks” move on, is it to better jobs? I’m guessing not – I’m guessing that it’s on to bartending or real estate school. Or it might be simply to another assistant position where they then are compelled to begin the PGA’s PGM so they will be marketable. When someone asks where the locker room is do they wave them down the hall or walk them in person? Can your clerks (I hesitate to call them golf professionals) actually give a golf lesson and help someone get better (unlikely because you probably have a non-employee doing all of the teaching so you can keep your “clerks” indoors to answer the phone). The fact that you go out of your way to advance the ignorant generalization of PGA members as alcoholic, womanizing scoundrels belies, at least to me, a vague psychological tendency towards jealousy at not having the motivation and/or academic skills necessary to complete the requirements necessary for PGA membership. I think that, deep-down, you are envious of the fact that you don’t have any legitimate professional affiliation. You might have had some success as someone who can operate a golf course/snack bar…but you have absolutely zero credibility as a golf professional. I doubt you even know how to give a proper lesson.

    I (and I suspect many others who read your insulting diatribe-regardless of their feelings toward the PGA)take exception to your denigration of PGA members in general. The very fact you have a career in the golf business is owed to the thousands of golf professionals who have gone before you-99.999% of them PGA members. It is the PGA member who has made the game and business of golf a viable career choice over the years – YOU ARE DOING NOTHING MORE THAN RIDING THEIR COATTAILS. You might have been fortunate over the years to find employment – but it sounds to me as if you are an angry man sitting in a room somewhere – crunching numbers – with hardly any day-to-day contact with your customers. That might work for you, and it might work for an owner who is interested only in beating as many people through the turnstile with a stick as possible. You sir, and the many people like you, PGA or not, are what’s really wrong with the golf business.

    • I’m a PGM student currently and I learned of the open-to-buy plan last month in my retail and merchandising class. You suck.

      • I liked your first post, except you seemed to be whiny and complaining about the head pro position instead of finding ways to make yourself more valuable.

  35. So as to divert for a moment, I would venture to say that it is not the bad PGA pro or the bad owner or bad superintendent; golf was never run as a business-it was run as a service. The course provided the holes, carts, and supervision to anyone who wanted to pay for the privilege to play the course. It was a place where you could go and hangout and talk to other golfers about golf or what happened yesterday in town. You felt comfortable and warm.
    Today, it is a business all based on how many players, how much merchandise, how many club fitters and X amount of this and that, while cutting staff here to add to there to improve getting more out of the fewer golfers pockets…..
    Listen to yourselves. Can anyone talk straight about their 12 month strategy for improving the customer service without even a mention about the business side?

  36. Well Tom! at least you had the balls to stand on the tee, swing hard and hit it out of bounds (or not). Not like the rest, who choose to stickhandle their careers down the middle of the fairway afraid to deviate towards the truth for fear of jeopardizing a job down the road. The truth always rises to the top. If I was (and intend to be) surrounded by 12 forward thinking people such as yourself, my feeling is it would be a pretty good place to work. Keep up the attitude.

  37. John Spiropluus PGA on

    We the PGA are only as good as our members.
    We can get them in the door, but they have to perform to stay.
    Enthusiasm or a Labor of Love attitude is required. Unfortunately today’s generation never had the mentors to instill those traits.
    It’s not only our golf profession, but all professions,

  38. John Spiroplaus PGA on

    We the PGA are only as good as our members.
    We can get them in the door, but they have to perform to stay.
    Enthusiasm or a “Labor of Love’ attitude is required. Unfortunately today’s generation never had
    the mentors to instill those traits.
    It’s not only our golf profession, but ALL professions.

  39. I will never forget when I heard of a course operator say when he heard “PGA” all it meant to him was “Please go away”. Good thing it wasn’t me he said it to as I may have gone across the counter!

    As a 20 year PGA Member (with hopefully 20 more to go) I was quite interested in the ramblings and varried opinions offered on this topic.

    To say things have changed in our business is the understatement of the day. Problem is it’s been changing for years but hardly anyone seemed to notice until a year or two ago. I got into the business the “old school” way; caddie, high school & college golf, mini-tours and finally a glamorous entry level asst. pro job scrubbing wrenches. If it wasn’t for my own good sense, interest and ambition, I wouldn’t have learned a thing about this business and I’d be selling cars or insurance or something……..and probably playing more golf. The people skills I always had and that carried me as well as many professionals a long way in this profession. However I soon realized I would need more than good “schmoozing skills” to be successful long term.

    I am proud to be a PGA Member and I bring value to my employer in multiple tangible, measurable ways. However, most of the talent and skill I use evey day to benefit my facility and our patrons are not directly attributable to my PGA education.

    As I look back, the PGA has done a rather poor job in both apprentice & member education to prepare us for the current business environment. The lack of marketing and sales training is now quite obvious, I’m fortuntae to have acted sooner rather than later, but had to go outside of our association to get the proper training. I never knew how much I didn’t know!

    Hire a PGA Professional, HELL YES OF COURSE! But hire the right one, PGA or any other capital letter next to your name only mean so much if the candidate is not suited for the specific needs of the facility. There are thousands of qualified PGA Members out there and many are probably in jobs they are not uniquely qualied for and thus a problem is just waiting to happen. Accurate job description is critical with routine follow up and review.

    PGA Members’s it’s time to look in the mirror and identify what you do well along with those things you don’t and how you bring measurable benefit to your facility. Perception IS reality!

    Structure your career around the aspects of the business you are the most passionate and both you and your employer will benefit.

    • Scott most large organizations move slowly it’s the nature of the beast….The key as you said is to be a self starter and realize that organized education any any field will always be behind the curve. I am happy to be doing a number of seminars for a dozen PGA sections this year but even a full day of Yours Truly only scratches the surface, things are changing so fast! Brian Tracy told me twenty years ago invest 5% of your income in yourself and you will always be at the top of your profession. I took his advice (I quit school at 15) and to this day spend an average of $300 a month on books, audio, seminars, the internet etc. Look both inside and outside the industry for information, clues.. trends etc AW

  40. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and excellent user genial style and design, let alone the content. You are an expert in this topic!

  41. This entire forum is nothing more than the Democrats vs the Republicans. If people understood that passion for the game is what drives it, they would see that it doesn’t matter as long as the employee is passionate about what they are doing. The problem is that for some reason the business side appears to drive the passion from the passionate person. I’m not so sure that golf needs to “recover”, individual courses and their operations however, do. I worked at a 9 hole municipal course that had lines out the door on a regular basis. The Head Pro was PGA, the GM was not.

  42. First, you can’t compare a superintendent to a golf pro. the SI is far more important to the golf course. the difference is leaps and bounds. Second, as an avid golfer, i don’t pick a golf course to play based on who’s managing. i pick it based on the condition and price. condition is determined by the super and the price has many variables one of which, salaries. if you have fewer employees (ie pga golf pro), then hypothetically, the greens fee should be less. the only places that really need to have a pga pro are private facilities, otherwise play on a golf course is determined by the price. if it’s too high, no one will play and there isn’t a pga pro on the planet that can sell people into playing an over priced golf course. on the other hand, all facilities need teaching pros that are independent contractors, but facilities need to stop over charging them for the right to teach on their property. they need to start thinking of it as a future investment. if i had a golf course with a range, i want people learning how to swing so they can play the course. if you can’t play, you’re not gonna pay, so i’m out of business. i would want my range loaded with teaching pros helping people, drumming up business for themselves, earning money, and getting people excited to learn.

  43. David Cooper on

    after 35 years in the maintenance end, or some call “the backbone of golf” finally someone see’s the big picture…club pro’s?…useless

  44. I’m afraid that many PGA pros are useless, lazy, have no motivation, poor managers, bad business men, awful teachers. I think much of the above is a result of too many days chained to a proshop. However, there are also some excellent examples, including myself 😉 a good PGA professional will be a credit to any golf business.

  45. Money miles seems like a bitter career college student who has realized that he will never get anywhere great in this business because he decided to take a number off a commercial instead of getting proper education. I am a PGA apprentice working my way toward membership. I have been taught by an incredible PGA Head Pro who has taught me so much more than any classroom in some career school. Every negative comment has been made by either a cheap owner, a bitter PGA drop-out or a clown college graduate who has come to the realization that he shouldn’t have wasted his money on a useless diploma!

  46. Hiring PGA professionals is an essential part of the process, but the hiring committees must do due diligence and find capable men and women who can do the job. If you have two people who will be great for the position and one has a PGA Card, common sense would let the PGA member prevail. PGA members continue their education each year.

  47. What I have found in my 20 years as a PGA Professional is that there are no 2 PGA pros alike. The PGA Pro wears many different hats and are in ALL areas of golf….not just at golf courses. They can be your golf rep (Class A-20), he could be the guy that built your golf course (Class A-16), or a PGA Tour rules official just to name a few. For anyone to say that the PGA Pro is useless or is not needed obviously knows nothing about the PGA and what they are about. We are GOLF! The key is for the employer to do their due diligence and match up which trained PGA Pro’s skills matches the job description they are looking for. Then it’s a win-win for both parties!

  48. Excellent feedback in this thread. Golf business is very much about marketing, sales and customer service. F & B is one profit center out of a dozen. That being said, your head golf pro is your poster – child for brand advocacy. The top salesman has to sell his product. You have to want to play like that person, and what’s more, they have to be accessible – on the range, on the course with the members, talking equipment – cross-sell, up-sell, cross sell up sell….

    Now this part is important:

    Your pros had better be the best golfers in the club. No one wants to take lessons from a hack that can’t play consistently at par (or better), and opportunities for cross sell and up sell (and credibility) will suffer.

    Second, the PGA’s biggest flaw is that it doesn’t force its members to re certify every other year. If it held to higher quality standards, there’s be less room for people who are generally bad at their jobs.

  49. Does work experience make somebody a golf professional or does only a PGA class A membership make a person a golf professional?

  50. the golf pro where I golf is nothing but a drunk two faced piece of shit. all he does is get drunk , high, & smoke cigs, and talk shit about the employers that keep his course playable. He also treats the members who pay for memberships like shit once he gets their money he could care less about them he’s all about the money , and himself. It’s the only course I know where there are no rules pretty much do whatever you want. He sits in the bar at the course and talks shit about its members. On top of that he doesn’t charge everybody the same price, if you give him pills/other drugs he lets you play for free. What kind of pro is that. He should have his pro card taken away for good. Who do you contact to do that if anyone knows how please let me know asap.

  51. Randy Vaskas, PGA on

    Opinions on knowledge that you don’t understand is useless. I agree you don’t need PGA GOLF PROFESSIONAL THAT ONLY WANTS TO PLAY GOLF AND GIVE LESSONS. That is part of his jobs, but a true PGA GOLF PROFESSIONAL IS THE ONE WHO BELIEVES IN THE CLUB AND MISSON STATEMENT. He is the one who is on the battlefields and should be in charge of the troops( members). Every Club is different and the challenges to win the battle are very complex. It is a learning process and the battle changes from time to time. Knowing what battles to conquer will help win the War of the dieing golf club. He wears many hats and involves himself with every aspect of the whole operation. Surrounding himself with knowledgeable staff and open to suggestions allowes him to make solving problems easier when they occur.

  52. You get what you pay for….more and more these Head PGA Professional jobs are offered for very low salaries and more likely to new young PGA members.

    PLaying too much is a sign of immaturity, just teaching and not being in the shop is a sign of needed additional income and/or poor job description.

    If either are what upsets the powers that be, then the people who made the hire did not do THEIR JOB!

    Granted, some public courses just may not need a PGA professional because of the lacking facility or players that are not interested in organized events professional guidance etc etc

    Any private facility absolutely loses credibility without te PGA professional.

    That being said, your golf professional is a direct representation of the membership and committes that hired him

  53. Wow I wish I had time to read all of the comments because I think they are great. I have been in the golf business for over 14 years and managing golf courses for over 11 of them. I am not in the PGA (sometimes I wish I had joined) and have done very well at managing golf courses. The current golf course which is city owned golf course doesn’t require a PGA professional but a Golf Course Manager. Here I do it all from retail, to running a junior golf program, teaching, marketing, working the counter and playing with members and guest. I have been successful in my career and have been stuck between being a PGA Professional or going through the Club Managers Association of America. Some of the places I have worked at you had a GM, Assistant GM, or Club House Manager that took care of the guest and then the PGA Professional who just concentrated on growing the game by providing lessons, club fitting and junior golf camps. So to me there is a difference.

  54. JVT MARKS , Chairman GC Management Committee on

    Here we are in the year 2018 with on going pressure to arrest the declining interest in general from the fee
    paying public to take up or continue to play the game of golf , let alone commit to the cost of joining a member’s owned club . Hence an increase in the “nomad style” golfers who simply take advantage of low cost discounted rounds of golf over poorly presented and maintained courses which have sprung up in recent years by entrepreneurs who see/saw golf as a high cost high quality source of income from an enjoyable countryside location . Where the PGA trained and qualified Golf Professional fits into this scenario is hard to see with the minimal commercial marketing and retail content of the PGA course curriculum or man management leadership required to encourage increasing golf club memberships and reverse the decline in the game.
    The net result is a steady move by the club golf professional whether PGA qualified or not , especially the ones that show any promising commercial business acumen, moving across to take on the role of General Management or Golf Club Secretary , after all successful golf clubs concentrate on the golf facilities and
    quality of the course on offer , which is the main reason for everyone being there.
    The sooner the PGA recognise this shift in the game and the changing role of the non tournament playing
    golf professional with their training and qualification to reflect this requirement , prospective golf professionals will more readily recognise the career path on offer and golf clubs will benefit from a steady
    source of employees more adequately equipped to successfully fulfil the role that is best for clubs and the
    game in general.

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