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britbroker22

Teaching Pro / Director of golf

18 posts in this topic

I'll try and keep this as brief as possible and would really welcome your opinions. (first time poster)

In 29, I've played golf since I was 4 yrs old and took the game quite seriously from age 11-18, during which time I got down to +1 handicap (shot under par a dozen or so times on various courses). I lived in Florida and played at least 3 times a week, played lots of tournaments and shot par golf almost all the time. I played in the AAU Junior Olympics when I was 17, didnt play well and shot 78,74. Thats when I realised I'd never be good enough to become a pro, the kid who won shot 68, 65.

For various reasons, including relocating back to England (from the States), getting married, having to work etc, I didn't play for a long time and my career in finance / sales was my priority.

About 6 months ago I woke up one morning, the sun was shining and I just had to play golf. I got in the car, drove to the course, hit a bucket of balls, spent 20 minutes on the putting green and 4 hours later I'd shot 76 (par 70).

I've played at least once a week ever since and yesterday shot 72 and felt I could have gone a lot lower if I'd putted better.

Heres the thing, I've realised that I don't enjoy what I do for a living, it doesn't make me happy and it certainly doesn't inspire me. Golf has always inspired me, I just lost track of the game for a while and I feel like I've found it again, and my game is quickly improving.

I'm well aware I've got no chance of becoming a touring pro, however I'm confident I'm good enough to be a teaching pro and I know I'd really enjoy getting out of the bed in a morning working in a golf environment, teaching kids, helping people improve etc.

I've got lots of sales / management experience and would also love to be part of a club / resort, working in a managerial role if I found I didn't have the desire to just be a teaching pro.

I know that I need a handicap of 4 or better, sustained over a year, before I can apply to be a PGA professional and (if I'm honest) I'm very confident I can get down to scratch in that time frame, so my question is....

.... At my age, (29), married, but without any kids yet, do I devote the next 3-4 years of my life to trying to become a registered PGA pro and then see what opportunities are available when I get there, or do I stick to just playing on the weekends and plug along at work (I make decent / good money) knowing I'll never enjoy it as much as I enjoy golf?

Apologies for the longevity but I felt the background was relevant. I'd really appreciate any and all of your opinions.

P.S - Being in the north east of England, does anyone have any knowledge about the availability of jobs in and around the industry, as I'm aware I need to be working in a golf environment whilst studying for my degree.

Many Thanks

Lewis

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Well you don't need to be a PGA pro in order to teach.  A lot of great instructors I know aren't PGA pros.  Butch and Foley aren't PGA guys.

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Thanks for your reply.

I assumed it would be very difficult to get work unless you were a PGA pro. I dont suppose there are many places hiring people like me with no golf qualifications?

If I'm mistaken, how would I find out about such opportunities?

Thanks

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how would I find out about such opportunities?

You wrote:

I've got lots of sales / management experience and would also love to be part of a club / resort, working in a managerial role

Do you think that you could work it out yourself?  I'm sure that you can. :-)

It's the same way you apply for any job. You hunt out vacancies and apply for them.

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Thanks for your reply.

I assumed it would be very difficult to get work unless you were a PGA pro. I dont suppose there are many places hiring people like me with no golf qualifications?

If I'm mistaken, how would I find out about such opportunities?

Thanks

Going the PGA route can def help you get into a job faster but not necessarily teaching.  You would basically be working at an assistant pro level.  If you wanted to just start teaching right away, you'd have to contact various clubs and driving ranges to see how much "rent" you would have to pay to teach there.

Another option would be to open an indoor teaching facility.  That way you're your own boss.

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I had done quite a lot of searching for jobs prior to writing the post and I found it very difficult to find any opportunities / positions without being able to log into the PGA website and search for vacancies. Hence my assumption that being PGA qualified would make things a lot easier.

Becoming an assistant seems like the obvious next step to take but those jobs seem to be in hot demand.

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Thanks for that, I think the PGA route seems like the road best traveled as income wise I couldnt afford to open a clinic etc.

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I think you still have many years to practice for the Champions Tour! Follow your heart, do what you love, and love what you do... the rest is gravy.
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Couple of suggestions-

1.  If you plan on staying married long term, talk to your wife before making a final decision.  Not a bad idea to have some sort of game plan first if you haven't already talked to her about it.

2.  Try to save up some $ before you transition from your decent/good paying job to something that might be a lot less for a while.  You don't have kids yet, so the time to save is now!

3.  One way to accomplish #2 might be to explore the driving range teaching type opportunities that MVMac spoke of ON WEEKENDS AND NIGHTS to start with while you keep your current job.  This could bring in extra $ and give you a chance to explore if you enjoy teaching.

4.  If you go the teaching route, study up on some of the different teaching philosophies out there and get an idea of what is important and what works.  I'd say the 5 simple keys (promoted by this site) and making sure you know the ball flight laws is a good place to start, but don't be afraid to go beyond that and check out what others are saying.  I am not saying to become a flavor of the week teacher- try to get a good foundation first, so you aren't constantly changing what you are teaching with each new article you read.

Good luck!

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If you're confident that you can get to scratch status you would then be eligible to qualify for US Open. And if you post some low numbers in the qualifying rounds you may make it to the 150+ field for the Open. That would highlight a resume of a young "would be" teaching pro.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JCRuzanski

I think you still have many years to practice for the Champions Tour! Follow your heart, do what you love, and love what you do... the rest is gravy.

The OP is about the same age as Dustin Johnson with guys like Graham DeLaet and Webb Simpson just a bit older and younger.  If he felt he couldn't compete with these guys when he was 17 and gave up golf for a while, why do you think he will be able to compete with them later?  There is a big difference between a scratch player and the guys making money on the Sr Tour.

If you're confident that you can get to scratch status you would then be eligible to qualify for US Open. And if you post some low numbers in the qualifying rounds you may make it to the 150+ field for the Open. That would highlight a resume of a young "would be" teaching pro.

How many scratch golfer (or better) try to qualify for the US Open each year?

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"Do you think a guy like me worries about the percentages". It doesn't matter how many try to qualify and fail - you can't win if you don't play the game.
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The OP is about the same age as Dustin Johnson with guys like Graham DeLaet and Webb Simpson just a bit older and younger.  If he felt he couldn't compete with these guys when he was 17 and gave up golf for a while, why do you think he will be able to compete with them later?  There is a big difference between a scratch player and the guys making money on the Sr Tour.

How many scratch golfer (or better) try to qualify for the US Open each year?

He has 20 years to get better and I don't see why he should shy away from trying to qualify for events if that's what he wants to do.  I'm sure he understands that winning is a different story, but who wouldn't try to qualify if given the chance?

If you want to go the route of a PGA Pro, I would save money like mentioned above and give lessons on the side to help that cause.  You may find that to be very profitable as well. Most of the full time teachers in my area seem to never have much time to actually go out and play a lot of golf themselves, so that may be something to think about as well if you have plans of qualifying for tournaments or something like that.  Obviously I am not a full time teacher, but the ones I have talked to always tell me they don't have time to play golf.

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If you have a passion for it then you'll find a way to make it happen while enjoying it at the same time.  I always thought it would be cool if my buddies tour aspirations didn't pan out that we could all join up and start some sort of golf school for kids and hopefully with the right ideas and by marketing ourselves in the right way we could grow it into something bigger.  I think young kids look up to guys in their 20 somethings as players/coach's or just in general (I know I did) and if you did it right it would be a blast.  I haven't thought much about details but once you were more established you could target players graduating from college to hire as teachers and since there's college's across the country you wouldn't run out of potential prospects.

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If you have a passion for it then you'll find a way to make it happen while enjoying it at the same time.  I always thought it would be cool if my buddies tour aspirations didn't pan out that we could all join up and start some sort of golf school for kids and hopefully with the right ideas and by marketing ourselves in the right way we could grow it into something bigger.  I think young kids look up to guys in their 20 somethings (I know I did) and if you did it right it would be a blast.  I haven't thought much about details but once you were more established you could target players graduating from college to hire as teachers and since there's college's across the country you wouldn't run out of potential prospects.

Yes, I have thought about that as well.  The closest teacher to my area is really about 2 hours away.  I know a PGA pro that teaches at a high school and he does some stuff on the side but he is limited to when he can do it.

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Great to read the comments and I appreciate your ideas / responses, thank you!

I'd like to think that one day I might take a shot at a big event (the open) or maybe a senior tour event, however if I was ever that good I'd consider it a bonus to be honest. I just want to be a scratch golfer earning a living in the golf industry. Whether that's an assistant pro (initially), a head pro, teaching pro, director of golf or coach, at this stage I don't know, but I'm confident in my ability to succeed in those areas and I know I'd get much more satisfaction than I currently get from work.

McFree - your suggestions are spot on! I've considered them all, the Mrs is on board and would support my decision. She works and earns enough to cover all of our bills (just!) so if I could earn say, £1,000 a month then we would be OK for a few years until I gained my qualifications. I earn more than that currently and I suppose my evenings are free for teaching / coaching.

I guess my real concern, living in the North East of England in a less than perfect economic climate and with jobs in (seemingly) short supply, is whether or not I'd be able to find work / progress within a club once qualified. I've looked around and on the PGA website (well, the parts I can see as a non member) I cant see a job within 100 miles of where I live and there are probably 100 courses / ranges within driving distance. I'd go and speak to my head pro about it for advice but I kinda feel a bit awkward, as if he'd feel like I was just another person trying to get in on a crowded industry. 30,000 pro's, 8,000 jobs, even though I've beaten those odds in every job interview i've had so far in life I'm sure its even harder in golf and I'm pretty sure we'd have to relocate.

Regarding teaching at ranges in the meantime, I guess its a case of just making the enquiries but also marketing myself and I just didn't think there would be a line of people queuing up to be taught by the legendary 4 handicapper, soon to be scratch, with no formal qualifications ;).... I always (probably wrongly) assumed that people took lessons from a pro at a course they knew or from a recommendation or contact.

I think my mind is decided and I know what my heart is telling me, its just the logistics and the risk / reward to consider!

Cheers

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Gre I always (probably wrongly) assumed that people took lessons from a pro at a course they knew or from a recommendation or contact.

I think my mind is decided and I know what my heart is telling me, its just the logistics and the risk / reward to consider!

Cheers

Can't get that word of mouth without teaching.  But really, I know a kid that is still in high school that gives lessons at a local course.  He is REALLY good and everyone knows it.  I always see him teaching kids out there.

It sounds like you have a plan.  Only you know what makes you happy.  Good luck with it!

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I think TN94z is on to something with his last post- maybe you could talk to the guys that run your local ranges and see if they would be up for you putting on a free weekly clinic for juniors and then hand out some fliers at local schools.  If some of the kids take to it, you might get some private lessons out of it and maybe the range would start giving you some free balls?

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