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Careers in Golf: Golf Professional

Jul 21, 2014

This is the first post in a series exploring professional paths in the golf industry.

You might think of a golf professional as someone who plays the sport for a living. While that can be true, the title of “Golf Professional” isn’t limited to sponsored athletes on the PGA and LPGA tours. More often, Golf Professionals are found working hard at courses around the world, keeping their establishments running smoothly.

Whether you’re playing at a public or private course, a driving range or even a resort, you’ll find Golf Professionals on staff. They oversee the routine functions of the course, having a hand in accounting, staff supervision, pro shop operations and inventory, as well as the scheduling of course maintenance and property upkeep.

Golf Pros are business-minded individuals who serve as the public representative of their club. They promote the course through advertising, public relations and social media.

While business management is a big part of the Golf Professional’s job, don’t expect him to spend all day sitting behind a desk. Pros are often found interacting with club members, hosting golf tournaments or overseeing golf clinics and private lessons. They also ensure everyone is playing fair, enforcing golf course regulations.

 

"Golf Academy of America gave me an all-around firsthand look at what I should expect going into the golf industry. They prepared me for every aspect of the job."

 

In short, Golf Professionals are absolutely vital to keeping courses, clubs and the sport alive.

John Shelley, a PGA Professional at Golf Academy of America in Dallas, said that it’s important those considering a career as a Golf Pro, “Enjoy working with people, be empathic, recognizing that golf is a tough sport and, most importantly, have a passion for the game. They will promote and pass along the whole golf experience to new generations who can play for a lifetime.”

A solid education is important in securing a Golf Professional position. PGA certification and an education from a school like Golf Academy of America give candidates a leg up.

Hard work pays off in the golf business. If you work hard and show that you are friendly and upbeat there is a spot for you in the golf business. Starting from the bottom is not a bad thing.

Requirements for individual positions vary depending on type of facility and income potential, according to Tim Eberlein Campus Director at Golf Academy of America in Phoenix. “For example, most high end private facilities want a seasoned Golf Professional who is well-educated because their members are highly educated,” he said. “Your municipal and public courses want someone who is qualified by experience or education.”

At the end of the day, “A Golf Professional must be able to wear many titles and be the expert,” Eberlein said. “The successful Golf Professional not only has the proper training, but has the soft skills to be successful--speaking, listening, writing. They have exceptional people skills and must enjoy being around golfers and the game of golf.”