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15/05/2019
PGA Professional Feature Article Final Thought April 2019

Do we know who is the key person at a golf facility? I call them facilities as now we have so many different formats of golf venues for customers to enjoy playing golf in some form or another. There are many ways a golf professional can be successful and have an exciting career in golf management, not for all can there be the glamour of being a tour professional such as Justin Rose.

Having been in the golf industry for most of my working life I have a feel for it, although initially a short career training as an accountant, I moved into the world of professional golf as an assistant and onto being a club professional at Lindrick Golf Club, then 16 years in the golf travel industry and even longer in the distribution, marketing and selling of brands such as Lynx, MacGregor and Greg Norman clothing, using my skill and knowledge of golf I learnt as a PGA Professional has been invaluable.

So that was me! Now as CEO of the UK Golf Federation I represent over 300 golf facilities which are mostly made up of proprietary golf course and driving ranges owners. They have a vested interest in being number one in service, quality and their offering of PGA services. The UK Golf Federation is one of the biggest employers of PGA Golf Professionals with many of my members facilities having more than five or six PGA Professionals involved in their business, from front desk to coaching and management of the business.

Golf is an industry on the move and it is my view that barriers to expanding your PGA skills into new areas of golf industry should not be missed on my members (UK Golf Federation) as new developments in management and service within the golf industry are open to all. There can be more to working in golf than playing and coaching. So, do you want to move with the times! There are no glass ceilings as the PGA qualification is taken seriously within and outside of the golf industry and there are many ways to diversify into other areas in golf to use your skills. Whilst working with the brands in both hardware and clothing is a great direction to take,

I would like to expand on golf facility management as golf courses and their facilities will change over the coming years as many will have to develop new offerings to attract and keep their customers. It might be time for you to define your focus on where you would like to be in say five or ten years-time and to do this thoughtís on specialisation are key. There can be little point in looking short-term, so looking ahead for your position in the golf industry is very important and this is something that should match your skills and desire to enjoy working in this great industry.

Firstly check-out your skills, as financial ability is part of the key skill package most of my members would see as an essential. Can you develop business plans, manage cash-flow, banking and staff? Itís not everyoneís bag! But good basics are usually a pre-requisite if you want to move into facility management. Marketing is selling and ultimately what makes business! Here there are always opportunities for creative professionals, itís a tough part of any business as you carry the responsibility of developing customers for not only the golf course and driving range, but also the catering and ultimately the whole facility etc. Financial and written skills are needed and itís always good to get your social media abilities up to scratch, as this is now key in growing most businesses.

I have probably told you what you already know? However, the knowledge, skills and qualifications you have are needed in this sector of the golf industry if it is going to thrive and help golf participation to start growing again, which of course flows through into membership, however this will look like in the future.

Defining and developing your skills is ongoing for life so look ahead and picture the place you wish to be at as a PGA Professional, playing, coaching and owning a shop is current but in ten years? Being part of the future of a different area of the industry is open to everyone. My members of the UK Golf Federation have many successful PGA Professionals running key parts of their business, not just coaching but all those I have mentioned already. Itís a gratifying profession to be involved in, but it is a business so donít be afraid to go and get more skills and qualifications in the key parts of the industry you want to work in. Managing Director, Director of Golf, marketing and operations all require financial skills to some level so my advice is check yours out now and maybe invest in getting some extra qualifications in this area.

Opportunities are there to use your skills as a PGA Professional in so many new and interesting areas of the golf industry. You can become that KEY PERSON! Presented by Doug Poole CEO UK Golf Federation