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What makes a good Club Professional??


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So, I was wondering what you think makes a Club Professional a good pro.

We all have pros that we like and those that we don't see eye to eye with. What traits go with each category?  

Thanks for your input!

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A good teacher regardless where they work at has to be able to communicate their thoughts and approach to the student in a way the student understands it.

They have to understand the physical abilities of the student so that they aren’t asking them to do something that isn’t possible from a physical standpoint of the student.

 

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For starters:

They ask questions what are you looking to achieve or work on - your expectations. Tell me about your current game, what's your time commitment to practice and/or play.

They ask how you learn: visual learner, etc.  

They're honest about their abilities and resources, i.e. don't push a brand because that's what you make a commission on. 

They don't make the student start from scratch, or try to teach the perfect swing. 

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Such a hard question to answer. Throughout the country clubs are very different. Some have a giant budget and some barely have one at all. Generally speaking the more money the club has to work with the better your service will or should be. You walk into a high end club and you are greeted by more than one person. The club pro can give you lessons or offer advice, give you a tour of the golf facility or connect you with a person that just handles new membership information. The assistants would be checking you in and ringing you up. Then you get to the other extreme. No budget.... The Pro is bringing up carts, loading bags on carts, trying to answer the phone and questions. Ringing you up, giving you a key to the cart. Then when things are slow he is out picking the range and maybe trying to give a lesson that usually gets interrupted. 

So what should you expect?  

I would like someone to be courteous. You are there to pay and play golf. They should be there to make sure you have an enjoyable time while you are there. 

If I run into an issue on the course and I call the pro shop, someone should answer the phone and resolve my problem.

If I want some lessons they need to be able to teach. Verbal, visual and feel type of communications between you and your Pro. There should be a commitment on both sides

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36 minutes ago, Kenny B said:

Nic, just a few of my thoughts.  Yes, I have seen good club pros and bad club pros, not just in my area but on my travels around the country.  I will qualify my response with...  I suppose it makes a difference whether the club pro represents a private club or a public course.  I have no experience with pros at private clubs. 

  1. The posts in “Pro’s Should Act Like Pro’s” should be ground rules.  Remember, club pros are in the hospitality industry and represent the club as well as themselves.  I’ve seen club pros that have no business being a club representative. 
  2. Pros need to make themselves available to both the general public as well as the members; meet and greet occasionally.  A course has a better reputation if the pro is friendly and that also fosters a better working environment for the staff.  The public appreciates that.
  3. The pro should make time to play with the various member groups that make up the core of the club; Yes, that means the Ladies group as well!  Members enjoy getting to know the pro outside the clubhouse.
  4. The pro should take charge of unruly situations on the course.  Course marshals should be give clear direction what their duties are and reflect the position of the club pro.  Situations that get out of hand are best handled by the club pro.
  5. The club pro should treat all member groups equally.  Example, if the pro runs the Men’s and Women’s Club Championships, the Men’s tournament shouldn’t get BBQ hamburgers and all the sides, while the Ladies tournament get hot dogs and a bag of chips.  That just says the pro doesn’t care about the women members.
  6. The pro should be readily available for lessons, especially “emergency” lessons.  If the pro’s schedule is booked solid, then the club should invest in a Teaching Pro in addition to the Club Pro.

I think this an excellent list. We have had a couple of pros over the years who had no business interacting with the public. I even quit and joined another course years ago because of the pro. After he left I rejoined. 

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1 hour ago, Kenny B said:

Nic, just a few of my thoughts.  Yes, I have seen good club pros and bad club pros, not just in my area but on my travels around the country.  I will qualify my response with...  I suppose it makes a difference whether the club pro represents a private club or a public course.  I have no experience with pros at private clubs. 

  1. The posts in “Pro’s Should Act Like Pro’s” should be ground rules.  Remember, club pros are in the hospitality industry and represent the club as well as themselves.  I’ve seen club pros that have no business being a club representative. 
  2. Pros need to make themselves available to both the general public as well as the members; meet and greet occasionally.  A course has a better reputation if the pro is friendly and that also fosters a better working environment for the staff.  The public appreciates that.
  3. The pro should make time to play with the various member groups that make up the core of the club; Yes, that means the Ladies group as well!  Members enjoy getting to know the pro outside the clubhouse.
  4. The pro should take charge of unruly situations on the course.  Course marshals should be give clear direction what their duties are and reflect the position of the club pro.  Situations that get out of hand are best handled by the club pro.
  5. The club pro should treat all member groups equally.  Example, if the pro runs the Men’s and Women’s Club Championships, the Men’s tournament shouldn’t get BBQ hamburgers and all the sides, while the Ladies tournament get hot dogs and a bag of chips.  That just says the pro doesn’t care about the women members.
  6. The pro should be readily available for lessons, especially “emergency” lessons.  If the pro’s schedule is booked solid, then the club should invest in a Teaching Pro in addition to the Club Pro.

Said very nicely exactly what I was going to post

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What I like about the course I have been a member at for a year now---- Both Pros are the owners. One of the owners his kids work the bag drop and the other one his Mom runs the grill snack bar. With that family atmosphere they treat everyone outstandingly good. We are semi private and when they get in a jam busy wise some of us will help with the carts etc. They pay all their attention to smooth operations. As far as lessons they have an outside guy who gives lessons on the range. He rents the building and range space

This is a far cry from the big group tourist operated courses. Most of the tourist courses their staff are rude and obnoxious and could care less if you or anyone else plays there again.

I think the reason I love my course so much is because they run it like my old man ran his Customers First

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Irons 5 thru PW 1980 Macgregor VIP Hogan Apex #2 shafts

SW- Wilson Staff JP II 56* shaft unknown

Putter 1997 Santa Fe rusty as heck

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, BIG STU said:

What I like about the course I have been a member at for a year now---- Both Pros are the owners. One of the owners his kids work the bag drop and the other one his Mom runs the grill snack bar. With that family atmosphere they treat everyone outstandingly good. We are semi private and when they get in a jam busy wise some of us will help with the carts etc. They pay all their attention to smooth operations. As far as lessons they have an outside guy who gives lessons on the range. He rents the building and range space

This is a far cry from the big group tourist operated courses. Most of the tourist courses their staff are rude and obnoxious and could care less if you or anyone else plays there again.

I think the reason I love my course so much is because they run it like my old man ran his Customers First

Which course are you a member at?  I'm usually down your way once or twice a year to play golf. 

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The pros who stand out in my mind are the ones who are interested in what I am at the course for and offer things like course book and scorecard, directions and pointers on what to watch out for.  They are the ones who are genuinely happy to see me coming out to golf at their course and have something positive to say.  They don't criticize but offer a suggestion if I want to hear it and then when saying it use as few words as possible and actually watch to see the result.

In many cases I don't realize they are the pro but think they are just another one of the gregarious kindly folks, like I am at the course (elsewhere too I hope).  Those are the pros that I would part with my hard earned money for to ensure they make a livelihood from providing the complimentary spirit to the serenity of the course I go there to experience.

I'll leave it to everyone else to point out the negatives as it is not my preference to do so, keeping it positive and looking at the good in life ⛳🏌️‍♂️

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There are two customers the Club Pros need to manage, the members and their staff. 
 

From a membership POV, you are first and foremost the MC of all entertainment.  You are their pride and joy.  From the way you dress the staff, how you devote attention to all facets of the operation, not just the Men’s low handicap group.  While being an accomplished player is nice, the people you surround yourself with can either make or break your operation. 
 

From an employment standpoint, the best pros I worked for never delegated a task they wouldn’t do themselves. They wouldn’t mind driving the range cart or cleaning carts after a long night to help the staff.  Show up first and be the last to eat.  If you want to be a good teacher / player / shop manager, they will be attentive to your desire and help you grow; in return you need to reciprocate that effort. 

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On 1/12/2021 at 3:27 PM, RickyBobby_PR said:

A good teacher regardless where they work at has to be able to communicate their thoughts and approach to the student in a way the student understands it.

They have to understand the physical abilities of the student so that they aren’t asking them to do something that isn’t possible from a physical standpoint of the student.

I think its great when a club pro is a good instructor, but that's just a small part of the job in most cases.  The pro generally runs a business (the pro shop), he runs tournaments (usually working with a committee of members and coordinating with F&B), he may have responsibilities in recruiting new members, he's the point of contact for maintenance concerns, so many things.  So a good club profession must be a jack of all trades, he must be organized and able to delegate as appropriate.  He has to be able to interact with lots of different personality types.  And yes, he ideally should be a good instructor, with all of that entails.  The really good ones make it look easy, but its like watching a duck swim.  On top, its smooth and easy, but underneath he's paddling like crazy!

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4 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I think its great when a club pro is a good instructor, but that's just a small part of the job in most cases.  The pro generally runs a business (the pro shop), he runs tournaments (usually working with a committee of members and coordinating with F&B), he may have responsibilities in recruiting new members, he's the point of contact for maintenance concerns, so many things.  So a good club profession must be a jack of all trades, he must be organized and able to delegate as appropriate.  He has to be able to interact with lots of different personality types.  And yes, he ideally should be a good instructor, with all of that entails.  The really good ones make it look easy, but its like watching a duck swim.  On top, its smooth and easy, but underneath he's paddling like crazy!

Yeah there’s really two types of club pros. The head pro does a lot more of the pro shop and “admin” stuff while the teaching pros do the majority of the teaching. My old pro was the head pro at wood ore before quitting to teach full time. I used to talk it’s the head pro at lake pres periodically back in 2014/15. He was pretty good with members and the greens fee clients 

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For me, in addition to all the traits that he needs to successfully run his business, I believe that the club professional, be it at a muni, a private country club, or a resort club, must be a people person.  Making the golfer feel welcome and important goes a long way to starting that person's positive experience at the club.

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So I have worked at a few golf courses for the past 18 years now during the summers.  I have worked with some great pro's and some not so great pro's.  For me, I think it comes down to personality.  Lets face it, most pro's can play golf and most can teach it (not all, but most).  For me, I like to have a pro treat me/members and the guys off the street as equals.  I have worked with a few pro's that feel as if they are above the members and just John Q. Public.  I worked at a course for a number of years and never once played  a single round with the head pro.  He was too good for me.  He and I got a long and talked sports but he never asked to join me for a round.  He would only play with the scratch golfers at the club. 

The pro I work with now has a totally different mentality.  He plays with everyone!  He makes them all feel welcomed and he takes an interest in their lives.  It shows and we all feel welcomed.  Before I started working there, he gave me a lesson.  After the lesson he told me to hit as many balls as I wanted on the range and then told me to go play the course.  He didn't charge me even though I tried several times to pay for the round.  He simply said, "go play, I want to see you get better.  Work on what I showed you."  Shortly after that I got another lesson (good marketing tip to get me to come back lol) and he asked me if I wanted to work out there with him.  To this day, he will not charge me for lessons, lets my entire family play for free and frequently tells me how I am doing him a favor by working out there.  He genuinely wants to grow the game.  He never charges kids to play, while frequently giving them sets of clubs to use or gives them a quick lesson before they go out.  

In short, I guess a good pro, is someone that makes you feel welcomed.  Kinda like how Norm must have felt every time he walked into Cheers. 

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1 hour ago, ballplayer002003 said:

So I have worked at a few golf courses for the past 18 years now during the summers.  I have worked with some great pro's and some not so great pro's.  For me, I think it comes down to personality.  Lets face it, most pro's can play golf and most can teach it (not all, but most).  For me, I like to have a pro treat me/members and the guys off the street as equals.  I have worked with a few pro's that feel as if they are above the members and just John Q. Public.  I worked at a course for a number of years and never once played  a single round with the head pro.  He was too good for me.  He and I got a long and talked sports but he never asked to join me for a round.  He would only play with the scratch golfers at the club. 

The pro I work with now has a totally different mentality.  He plays with everyone!  He makes them all feel welcomed and he takes an interest in their lives.  It shows and we all feel welcomed.  Before I started working there, he gave me a lesson.  After the lesson he told me to hit as many balls as I wanted on the range and then told me to go play the course.  He didn't charge me even though I tried several times to pay for the round.  He simply said, "go play, I want to see you get better.  Work on what I showed you."  Shortly after that I got another lesson (good marketing tip to get me to come back lol) and he asked me if I wanted to work out there with him.  To this day, he will not charge me for lessons, lets my entire family play for free and frequently tells me how I am doing him a favor by working out there.  He genuinely wants to grow the game.  He never charges kids to play, while frequently giving them sets of clubs to use or gives them a quick lesson before they go out.  

In short, I guess a good pro, is someone that makes you feel welcomed.  Kinda like how Norm must have felt every time he walked into Cheers. 

Excellent information. Thank you.

 

N.

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2 hours ago, ballplayer002003 said:

So I have worked at a few golf courses for the past 18 years now during the summers.  I have worked with some great pro's and some not so great pro's.  For me, I think it comes down to personality.  Lets face it, most pro's can play golf and most can teach it (not all, but most).  For me, I like to have a pro treat me/members and the guys off the street as equals.  I have worked with a few pro's that feel as if they are above the members and just John Q. Public.  I worked at a course for a number of years and never once played  a single round with the head pro.  He was too good for me.  He and I got a long and talked sports but he never asked to join me for a round.  He would only play with the scratch golfers at the club. 

The pro I work with now has a totally different mentality.  He plays with everyone!  He makes them all feel welcomed and he takes an interest in their lives.  It shows and we all feel welcomed.  Before I started working there, he gave me a lesson.  After the lesson he told me to hit as many balls as I wanted on the range and then told me to go play the course.  He didn't charge me even though I tried several times to pay for the round.  He simply said, "go play, I want to see you get better.  Work on what I showed you."  Shortly after that I got another lesson (good marketing tip to get me to come back lol) and he asked me if I wanted to work out there with him.  To this day, he will not charge me for lessons, lets my entire family play for free and frequently tells me how I am doing him a favor by working out there.  He genuinely wants to grow the game.  He never charges kids to play, while frequently giving them sets of clubs to use or gives them a quick lesson before they go out.  

In short, I guess a good pro, is someone that makes you feel welcomed.  Kinda like how Norm must have felt every time he walked into Cheers. 

Exactly!!

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21 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Which course are you a member at?  I'm usually down your way once or twice a year to play golf. 

Indigo Creek in Murrells Inlet--- If you do not hook up with me tell them I sent you--- And no it will not get you thrown out---- But I will tell you they do not know what a stranger is there they will treat you as good as anyone else. Our fellow spy John Smalls has been there with me

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16 hours ago, CarlH said:

For me, in addition to all the traits that he needs to successfully run his business, I believe that the club professional, be it at a muni, a private country club, or a resort club, must be a people person.  Making the golfer feel welcome and important goes a long way to starting that person's positive experience at the club.

Well said my old man was a people person. He ran a 9 hole regulation and a 9 hole Par 3 course. I can tell you many examples of how he was successful. I can remember in the early days we had limited carts and sometimes folks had to wait for one to come in. He would tell those waiting to play the par 3 on him and when a cart came in we would come get them. He would send me down with the cart after I put their bags on and they rode up and I walked up. Our driving range was impractable because it was a 1/2 mile down the road and you had to get on the main road to access. When he sold beginner sets he threw in about 20 lake balls and a hand full of tees also gave away free range tickets. He also had a buy back thing where if one upgraded they got top dollar for the beginner set on trade in. Lots of times the beginner set would be resold or put over in the rental clubs. He believed in customer service--- But he would not take any crap. If someone misbehaved he would tell them of it and not to do it again--- 2nd time you were out of there period banned

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SW- Wilson Staff JP II 56* shaft unknown

Putter 1997 Santa Fe rusty as heck

 

 

 

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I have seen a lot of great comments and if I missed this I apologize.

One of the things that I feel most Pros miss out on is getting out on the course to see what is actually going on. I know they can't do this all the time, but they could also require their Asst's to do this. In my opinion most people in the golf business want to sit/stand behind the counter and process golfers as they come in. Greeting the golfers is great, but greet them while they are playing and see what improvements can be made regarding pace of play, golfers abusing cart rules, etc. etc. You could even throw in a few pointers while out on the golf course. It might get you some business with providing future lessons.

Just my thoughts from the 3 clubs I have been a member at over the years.

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