What do you do for a living?
I’m a PGA Golf professional.
How would you describe what you do?
I own and operate a golf shop and golf retail operation. I manage the day-to-day operation of a country club.
What does your work entail as a PGA Golf Pro?
You name it. Everything from conducting tournaments, to teaching, merchandising, public relations, marketing. I mean, we can go on and on.
How did you get started?
I got started because as a kid I was a golfer, and was a pretty good junior player, and just decided at a young age that I was going to be a golf professional either I was going to play on tour or I was going to be a club professional and tour didn’t work out so I’m a club professional.
What do you like about what you do?
Well, for one, I’m at the golf course every day; whether I get to play or not, I’m still at the golf course every day. And the ability to interact with people on a daily basis different people and be able to share my expertise in something they love. Plus I’m not sitting behind a desk. I’m dealing with people on a social level for a living.
What do you dislike?
I have to deal with people on a social level for a living. The demands as far as time. I work every weekend, I work every holiday. When you’re dealing with the public, you have one policy and it’s there for a reason, and some people aren’t going to agree with it. And it’s the same as everything else, but probably demand on time is the greatest thing I don’t like about it.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
Well, I have a salary from the country club, and then I own the golf shop retail side of it, and then teaching, and club repair.
How much money do you make as a PGA golf pro?
Somewhere about eighty-five to ninety thousand a year. It’s probably right about average salary for golf pro’s.
Would you say there are any perks to this career?
Tons. We have endorsement contracts just like the touring professionals do. We don’t get paid as much not near as much but, we get all the free equipment, and balls, and everything we want. PGA members pretty much play free golf wherever they go, at any club or golf course. And then in the community it’s nice, because you kind of always have people wanting to do you favors. It’s just one of those things.
What education or skills are needed to do be PGA golf pro?
Well, I have a college degree. You need to be a PGA member. You don’t have to be, but the education process through the apprenticeship in the PGA education is a must. And then I’ve got continuing education. I’m a master professional. So the PGA education is definitely required. College education, not necessarily, but most coming into the industry now have a college degree. You have to pass what they call the player’s ability test, you take the course rating for the golf course that’s hosting it, and you multiply it times two, and add fifteen, and that’s what you have to shoot.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Probably just dealing with the variety of personalities, some people are always easygoing, some people are never easygoing. Being able to switch modes and know, Okay, I have to stroke this guy this way, and I got to stroke this guy this way. And being able to treat people equally but have different methods to making them, you know, understand, I guess.
What is most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing about being a golf professional is seeing people satisfied at the golf course. I work at a place where people go for leisure. So when somebody has a great day at the golf course, when they’ve played great, or they just had the perfect day, whatever, that’s the most satisfying. I know they had a good experience at the golf course, and hopefully, it was, in some way, in part to my management skills.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
If you want to play golf, don’t become a golf professional. And we all say that. I only play about once every two weeks. If you just love the game, and you want to play, just play golf as much as you can, don’t become a golf professional. But if you love the game, and you want to be around it, involved in it, in every different facet of it, then you’d probably be a good candidate.
How much time off do you get/take?
Two weeks vacation, and then in season one day a week, off season is two days a week. And then a lot of times I’ll go two and three weeks at a time without getting a day off sometimes. January and February, we’re still operating. I’m taking two days off a week I’m taking Sunday and Monday off but there is a lot to do, because you’ve got your whole golf season ahead of you that you’re getting prepared for. You’re working schedules out; you’re working out contracts for outings, things like that. You’re ordering merchandise for your shop and that kind of thing. So, you’re not working as many hours. I mean, I’m down to thirty-five, forty hours a week in the wintertime, but you’re still staying busy. But, you know, hey, let’s be honest, wintertime January and February I mean, I work for about an hour and a half in the morning, and the rest of the day I’m sitting there, you know, shooting the shit.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
The most common misconception is that golf professionals play golf every day, without a doubt. And another misconception is that we’re PGA Tour players. We’re not.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I’ve really met a lot of my goals. I’m actually in the process of setting some more. For me, my most immediate goals are really related to the club here, and seeing that membership become full, and seeing that it becomes a smooth-running operation that cash flows, and is a premier club. Long-range for me, probably go work for either the PGA Tour, or the Nationwide Tour as a rules official, but that’s something I’ll do twenty years from now.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
The time commitment is great. The apprenticeship, just to get to the level where I am, just to be a head golf professional, the commitment is huge, and the money is terrible. There’s a three- to five-year gut check that you’re going to make very little money, and you’re going to work a lot of hours, but you’re going to gain a lot of knowledge, and the tough thing is there’s twenty-eight thousand golf professionals, there’s only nine thousand jobs. So a job comes open, there’s a lot of competition for it. So, you’d better do something to set yourself apart.