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5 Things I've Learnt in My First Years as a Golf Professional

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Hi Everyone,

Attached below is an article I have written that I believe can help anyone just getting started in the golf business. Take a look and let me know what you think!

5 Things I've Learnt in My First Years as a Golf Professional

    My name is Sean Murray I am a young PGA of Canada Golf Professional who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently works in Calgary, Alberta. During the cold Canadian winter there is what a lot of people call downtime. This is a great time to take and use it to your advantage and grow as a Golf Professional. Whether it's reading books, watching instructional videos, making your own instructional videos, visiting year round facilitys to shadow others, build your brand, attend seminars or write articles for blogs it all goes a long way for your development. I figured I would write the top 5 things I've learnt in my first 3 years as a Golf Professional. Now, this is obviously biased but, I believe as someone just starting out in the business these could help you in some way, shape or form. 

1.Have to have passion 

    I haven't met one person in my short lived career that said they got into the golf business to make a fortune. We all love what we do and if we don't I personally think you won't go very far in this industry. Being a Golf Professional means you're going to work long hours during the summer, not do a whole lot during the long cold canadian winters and not get paid a lot for it. I truely believe in the saying "if you love what you do, you dont have to work a day in your life. Waking up early to go open the gates to the course is personally the only time I enjoy waking up befor the sunrises. 

    Now, I've met a couple Golf Professionals in my first year or even befor I playied in saying well don't do it if you love the game because if you do you'll end up hating it. Or, don't get started you dont make very much money. I see these guys and in my opinion their passion is gone. They're very content where they are, what they earn and probably staying where they have been for the last 5,10,15 years. I truely believe the more passion you have for the game and to suceed the more you earn, I've seen it first hand. I have met many Golf Professionals who are always continuing to learn, grow and still have that passion for the business and coincidently those are the guys who are working at the top clubs and making a very good living. 

2. Get involved 

    Starting out as an Apprentice or CFM I urge everyone to get involed within your golf course and the zone or section you're apart of. Members and fellow Professionals notice what you do at your course and what you do at events the zone or section puts on. This is a great way to get to know your peers and potentially future employers. Usually your local zone will put on many events where you can volunteer a couple hours teaching lessons. Not only is this a great chance to make an impression on your peers it is also a great chance to learn from others around you. Alot of these events you're teaching 15-20 minute lessons for a couple hours. This is a great way to improve your knowledge and its a great chance to meet potential clients. 

    Play in local tournaments even if you know the chances of you placing is low. Now I can say this first hand, I am not as good as I would like to be. But, I always try to play in atleast 3-5 tournaments a year to put myself out there and network with a couple of fellow Professionals. I highly doubt it the guy you're playing with is going to remember or judge you if you don't shoot low 70's. I say there is a greater chance he remembers you if you act like a baby about it, swear and throw clubs. Yes, shooting pourly sucks but, I garuntee it if you smile, talk to your group, ask how things are, and shake their hands you will be remembered postively no matter what you shoot. My last employer new I wasn't going to go out there and win 3 tournaments but, he didnt say during the interview how impressed he was with me how I also went out of my way to shake his hand and ask how he was doing. Now, saying this shooting low scores can definitely help you find potential jobs and saying you were the Player of the year could definitly bring some clients your way. So, I would still say I work hard on my game and continue to try and get better. 

3. Educate Yourself 

Education is absolutely everywhere. Your provincial or national office usually has a website where you can find a library for Professional Development. This is all on you to take a peak at what they have. They have anything from mechanics of the golf swing, branding, and course mapping. These articles are done by some of the best Professionals in the nation, take advantage of them.

    Get social media and follow the crap out of the best Golf Professionals. I've learnt more from Twitter, Instagram and Youtube then I can ever imagine. Some of the most successful Golf Professionals in the world share their content and findings and post their own instructional videos on their to help you as an Insctructor. Alot of the time they cause debates or bring up questions which they all share their opinion. This is a great way to learn and to see where the best instructors are at or what they think. The best thing about this content, it is absolutely 100% free. Alot of PGA of America sections have educational seminars that they film and eventually put it on youtube for everyone to watch. These speakers are some of the top rated instructors in the world such as Chuck Cook and Butch Harmon. Again, this content is all free. 

    Pick up a book, you hear this everytime from the best instructors. They read everything they get their hands on. Even if you disagree with what they're saying you can still learn alot from reading that book. There are endless topics you can read as well, it doesn't always have to be on the golf swing. It can be on pyscology, learning aqquisition, branding, leadership. All of these would help you become a better Golf Professional.

    Ask the top Instructors in your region if you can spend a couple hours shadowing their lessons. There is a reason why these guys are where they are today. There is always something to learn from someone. Even if its not on the swing, it can be how they present the information, how they set up their lesson tee, their appearence or many other little things. People want to help you, there hasn't been a time where I emailed a Golf Pro and get turned down.

    A qoute I live by is, "continue to move forward or you're going to get left behind." There is new findings and technology daily, get on them, learn, grow, and ask questions . 

4. Options 

    Just because you're a Golf Professional, doesn't mean you have to become a Head Golf Professional. You have many different paths you can take during your career in the Golf Industry. During my first couple years during as a Golf Professional I have had many different thoughts on which path I would like to pursee during my career. As someone in the industry you can become a Sales Rep, a General Manager, a Director of Golf, Retail Manager, an Associate Golf Professional, a Teaching Professional or a Member Services manager and i'm sure a couple more. They can all be very rewarding, you don't have to become a Head Golf Professional or a General Manager/Director of Golf to make the best the living. Now, on average I would take an educated guess and say they do make the most money. But, I do know some very sucessful Associates, Member Services Manager and Teaching Professional. I would say take a look and explore all options, you may enjoy or have more passion for one or the other. 

5. Find the right place to work

    My grade 11 metals teacher once said "as an apprentice you only learn as much as your much as your employer." Obviously you have a responsibility to take time to educate yourself as stated above. But, be a sponge to those arround you. You're there to learn and grow as a Professional. When you believe you can't learn anymore from the people around, don't be afraid to move on. Your Head Professional wants to see you succeed and move on to bigger and better things. 

    Before you apply for a position research the facility and Professional Staff of that facility. There is no question that your employer will research you before you are hired. Whether its browsing through your social media or calling your references. Why shouldn't you do the same? Research their website and see what their calender looks likes. Do they have a lot of member events? Do they have a seperate page promoting their inscructors? What kind of practice facility do they have? How big is their junior program? Whats the Pro Shop like? These are all very important questions that you can simply get from looking at their website. 

    Now if things go to as planned and you continue to climb the ladder don't burn the bridges you've built with your past employers. Thank them for the oppurtunity to be apart of the club and stay connected. Your past employer most definitly helped you in one way or another. Remember, they're going to be a great asset to you down the road when you apply at other clubs. A simple text, email or call asking how they're doing goes a long way.


I would love to hear your comments please feel free to reach out to me. 

Email: smurray@golfbearspaw.com

Twitter: @seanmurrayCPGA 

Instagram: @smglessons


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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

Welcome to the site.  :beer:

Sounds like lessons that can be applied to most people starting out in any career.

I was thinking the same thing. :-)

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