View From the Spire: PGA Pro – “Best-Man-for-the-Job”?

Opportunity:

An experienced Director of Golf is required to oversee commercial activities whilst delivering a 5 star customer service at a well known Hotel and Golf Resort in the UK. The Director of Golf will be fully responsible and accountable for the efficient management the Golf Operations in accordance with the policies approved by the Board of Directors and demonstrate:

  • Overall control and management of the Golf Division on a daily basis
  • Oversee all areas of the business including tee-time yield management, sales & marketing, membership, retail, golf services and golf
    course management
  • Financial and administration control
  • Business development activities
  • IT Management
  • Leading and motivating all employees of the Club
  • Revenue generation

Conundrum:

Who is the best man for this job?

a)     Is it someone who has significant experience of running and managing a multi faceted business?

b)     Is it someone who has come from a successful management career within sales and marketing or general management with significant experience of handling financial responsibilities?

c)      Is it someone with the eye for strategic planning, the placement of relevant procedures and the acute knowledge of leadership and recruitment of the best staff?

d)     Or is it someone who has a former proven playing ability who dedicates his career to teaching kids and old ladies and has reasonable retail sales success who has taken three years working in a golf shop to earn professional membership?

Whatever your preference, the best man for the job is the one who has the skills and experience required to get the job done and deliver for his employer. My personal thought is that the best man for the job definitely has “a)”, “b)” and “c)” and it might be handy to also have “d)”.

Sadly, there is a train of thought within the golf industry that the best man for this job can only be a man who has undertaken his PGA Professional training. (Answer “d)” above for those that may not be any the wiser).

At this point I will refer to the PGA Training Academy for their words on why you should employ a PGA Professional. Interestingly no-where on this list does it mention strategy, real leadership, financial, IT, management or, the bane of all of our lives, corporate governance training.

http://www.pganationaltrainingacademy.org.uk/why-you-should-employ-a-pga-pro

Now please don’t get me wrong – I was nearly an assistant training PGA Professional once – when I was 16. It would have taken me three years of working in my local golf shop, fixing new grips on golf clubs, hoovering the shop twice daily, selling tees, Mars bars and the occasional jumper or full set of clubs to become qualified and I would have loved it.

Despite the quality of instruction of the PGA academy, three years of working in a predominantly retail environment is not on a par with further education via college or University that I subsequently receive (for starters there are no requirements for entry other than golf ability). Nor is a PGA Qualification (OR further education for that matter) anywhere near as valuable as experience in a relevant position where you would gain invaluable and relevant skills to match your theory over many years.

However, career progression in golf is a funny one. Once qualified and with the appropriate experience; you may consider attempting to compete on one of the many tours for PGA Professionals – culminating in the elite European or PGA Tours; you may have an opportunity to become a Head PGA Professional at your own, or another Club, and that’s it.

Thereafter, it might be that I wish to consider attempting to compete on one of the many tours for PGA Professionals; I may have an opportunity to join a bigger Club, or I could consider a role with responsibilities that are additional to those normally expected of a golf club professional – something like a Director of Golf position.

[Here is a direct quote from the PGA themselves] The title ‘Director of Golf’ is already widely used in the golf industry. It has been adopted by many different organisations and is applied to a variety of working situations. It is evident that the position of Director of Golf is usually accepted as one with responsibilities that extend from and are additional to those normally expected of a golf club professional; however, to this point there has been no clear standard or job description to consistently define the role.

The PGA goes on to proclaim that for their own members who wish to be appropriately qualified Directors of Golf, they have launched a three phase qualification. This qualification is designed to provide a means of recognition for those who already perform effectively in the role of  Director of Golf (the point?) as well as providing a framework for acquiring the skills needed for those who aspire to such a role. Appropriately, this qualification includes (at long last) an understanding of:

  • Strategic Management
  • Operational Management
  • Managing People
  • Managing Finance
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service and Personal Management

I hope that this recent development ensures appropriate developmental opportunities for PGA Professionals such that they, alongside those who fall in categories “a)”, “b)” and “c)” are business capable, and potentially can also become equal to the best men for these positions.

However, in closing, if the PGA are spending time to serious develop and prepare their brethren via a points based learning system to be the best men for the Director of Golf, General Manager and other related jobs – why then utilize valuable opportunities via their annual event in Harrogate (http://www.golftradeshow.co.uk/) to train PGA Pros how to fold jumpers? (I saw this with my very own eyes last October!)

Much like the game itself – and perhaps demonstrating a small insight into why over 150 golf clubs face serious financial difficulties and over 25 slide into administration every year- the PGA lead business of golf seems to defy any form of business related logic.

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About davidmorganjenkins
I am an experienced international, commercial, strategic business leader delivering customer focussed initiatives for world class leisure & sports brands. I have a credible track record of leadership and senior management experience in particular with business operations, marketing & business development within leisure, sport, ecommerce/retail & B2C sectors. I have a unique creative vision, supported by sound financial management & budgetary responsibility having increased brand awareness, sales & core revenue by 60% & profit 200 % at Football Aid over a 3 year period. In parallel, I am centred on attention to detail ensuring a consistent product offering and the greatest possible customer experience. This is delivered through strong collaborative teamwork and creating a culture of creativity, determination and enthusiasm amongst team members. I possess an ability to cement & develop relationships at all levels and can easily engage, report to & upwardly manage share & stakeholder alliances ensuring delivery of business objectives. Key skills Developing & implementing business plans focussing on sales, profits & volume Bringing sales & marketing strategy to life to inspire customers; making visions/dreams a reality Customer service; driving enhanced customer satisfaction & delivering a reputation for excellence Developing, influencing & implementing plans & partnerships that deliver competitive advantage Effective planning & delivery of multiple channel, venue & geographical programmes & projects Leading & managing operation, marketing & business development teams to believe in their ability to succeed Experience headlines Commercial; sales, strategy, development, marketing, sponsorship, promotion, customers service Business administration: P&L, performance, improvement & operational management Marketing & brand; communications, brand management, development & membership/loyalty Ecommerce & retail; FMCG, optimisation, data (CRM), social media, SEO, PPC & affiliates Technology; CRM, web TV, new media, smart phone/iPhone applications

2 Responses to View From the Spire: PGA Pro – “Best-Man-for-the-Job”?

  1. Alain Gagné says:

    Hi David,

    I’m totally agree with you. In fact, I’m a PGA pro (Canada) and I think you touch a huge problem for golf industry. I could talk about that for all day but you get a good resume of the situation. Golf career has to evoluated and change but golfer (PGA members) are first of all a player…don’t forget that! Thats why we’ve seen superintindant take over some interesting jobs!!!

    Good comments!

  2. Brian Allman says:

    let me start with the question you pose, “who is the best MAN for the job”? I think you are missing a very large and integral part of the golf industry… Women. There are many talented individuals out there, male OR female, with solid credentials that can fulfill this position. Also, many a club has failed with a very traditional approach to filling this job and with that in mind I suggest looking out much further into the work stratosphere to find the right person for the assignment not just the right Man for it!

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