What is a PGA pro and does a golf course need one?

I was perusing linkedin.com yesterday and came across what I thought was a pretty thought provoking article. Someone I’m connected to through a group runs a website called Golf Operator Magazine and posted up Do You Need a PGA PRO?

The writer of the article, Martin Wellbourne, called a couple of golf courses in his area and asked the course owners, “Do you need a PGA Pro?”

The responses were varied and the overall consensus was you don’t NEED a pro, but if you hire the right PGA pro, they will definitely be a boon to the business.

This article had me thinking about myself and the courses in my area and the first question I asked myself is “If I wanted a golf lesson, would I visit one of the courses in Orlando to receive it?” My answer is no, I wouldn’t. There’s tons of facilities in the area that specialize in golf instruction which I feel are more qualified than most PGA pros you’ll find at a golf course.

This lead me to think about what a PGA Pro does if they’re not teaching and reading the comments on the “Do You Need A PGA PRO?” article made me realized that many people have very different notions about what a PGA Pro is and what their responsibilities are. Me, I’ve always considered them the folks who’s primary job is to teach golf and when they’re not teaching golf, beating the street to find new students.

Turns out, PGA or golf pro is a generic term that can be applied to many of the jobs at a golf course, from teaching and club management to sales and service. Also, the position has changed over the years and the role a golf pro played in the 70’s is completely different than the role they play now.

When you envision a PGA pro working at a golf course, what role comes to mind and given that role, do you think golf courses need them?

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  6 comments for “What is a PGA pro and does a golf course need one?

  1. TP

    You are a complete moron for writing this story…Does a hospital need a Doctor? A PGA Golf Professional is one that is hired for various purposes. Trust me there are alot of things a PGA Golf Pro does that you have no clue about, and i am not going to waste my time writing. Get a clue dude, and ask yourself some questions.

  2. at

    Hey TP, I appreciate you visiting the blog and leaving a comment, not a big fan of being called a moron, however.. I guess that’s the joy of the internet, gives people anonymity, kind of similar to liquid courage without ever having to take a drink..

    Given the tone of your comment, I’m guessing your either a PGA Golf Pro or have aspirations of being one and have taken offense to my query. But seriously man, are you REALLY comparing a PGA Golf professional to a doctor? That’s wrong for two reasons..

    First and most obvious, PGA pros did not choose that particular career to save lives or to make a difference in the world, they did it most likely because they enjoy the sport and can break 80 consistently.

    Second reason, PGA professionals do pretty much everything at a golf course if the need arises, whether it be manning the check-in counter, giving lessons, organizing tournaments, etc… You’ll rarely see a doctor do anything other than examine and care for patients. They’ll never be caught doing the mundane tasks like checking in a patient or doing administration stuff that nurses or the staff can handle.

    To respond to “Trust me there are alot of things a PGA Golf Pro does that you have no clue about, and i am not going to waste my time writing.” Yes, you’re right, as I stated in the article you just read, see below.

    “Turns out, PGA or golf pro is a generic term that can be applied to many of the jobs at a golf course, from teaching and club management to sales and service.”

    And in response to your final sentence, “Get a clue dude, and ask yourself some questions,” I have and I posed the same question to the readership. My answer to that question is, NO, golf courses do not need employees with a PGA Golf Professional certification. There are plenty of non-certified individuals that can do the job just as well, if not better than 1/2 of the card carrying members of the club. If I were looking to hire someone to manage my golf club, I would want someone who has a background in management, same applies to sales and other revenue producing aspects of the business. I’d look for individuals who have expertise in the area I was hiring for, and if they also had a PGA Golf Pro certification, even better, but if they didn’t have the expertise but had a certification, that wouldn’t work.

  3. at

    My comments about needing a PGA pro. First, I was a Pga pro at about age 24. Purchasing my own teaching facility at 28, raising a family, building a business from scratch I had no time for the PGA. Dues over priced, meetings and participation requirements a joke. With many self taught pros just giving a lesson because they have to. I worked as a pro for over 22 years, worked the counter for years and felt I could do the same job at walmart. Teaching was my passion but not how the PGA goes about it. I have taught the teaching the teacher seminar at my facility and am amazed at the lack of true wisdom when it comes to teaching golf. I no longer have my PGA for many of the reasons listed above. But just for the fact I do not want to be associated with a group who cannot teach golf. Blessings you all have a great day.

  4. Debbie

    Just wondering, my son graduated from the GAA Orlando, he was hired at a golf course did a little of everything including giving lessons that he was paid for. He now is entering a gualifier and says he was told he has to enter as a pro, is this correct?

  5. Joc

    My club just hired a new pro. The previouse pro left before I joined to take a Director of Golf position at another club, so I haven’t seen a “pro” in action yet. Coming to us from So-Flo, assume he knows his business, we’ll see.

  6. at

    Love this article and I agree with the writer 100%. I have employed golf pros but without other skills which generate profit they are simply an expense I can do without. I run an indoor golf club in Singapore and have gone through the agonising decision of whether to hire one or not. If the event sales person and marketing person happen to be a golf pro then EVEN BETTER as you say!

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