Golf Club Professional - Luxury or Surplus to Requirement.

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pauldj42

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Couple of Clubs in the North East have recently given their Pro’s notice as they look to reduce costs.

Leading on from another thread, does a Golf Club need a Professional? Are there hidden benefits which are difficult to put a cost to?

Personally I find it a bit short sighted and possibly see the Professional as an easy target for saving money, if anything some Clubs are guilty of not utilising their Professional enough.
 
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We have a pro that is nominally affiliated with our club but its a relationship in name only...he certainly isn't "resident" in any way shape or form and hold most of his lessons at his indoor studio at home.
 

fundy

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Have been at clubs that rely on their pro and his set up for the club to function properly and also at a club that only had teaching pros affiliated.

Can be hugely beneficial to a club if used correctly but is by no means critical either
 

spongebob59

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Our head pro is leaving next year although will still be teaching there and the club is taking the running of the shop in house. Guess all this saves i s paying him a retainer.
 

IanM

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The thread title is potentially a little misleading - "luxury or necessity" I could understand!

Our is a blooming star, works hard, is a great bloke and well worth his retainer. I hope he does sufficiently well on top in lessons and sales! If he went, there would be a big hole to fill.... in terms of service, comp admin, lessons etc
 

Lord Tyrion

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We don't have a pro at our place but the clubs around me do with varying degrees of success. The two that seem to work very well have a good membership, obviously helps, but are strong on teaching. They have a good area at the club to give their lessons, have an inviting pro shop that becomes a bit of a social hub and have a degree of warmth and friendliness. The ones that don't work seem to lack warmth and enthusiasm and so don't get the throughput of members booking lessons. Their shops seem to mirror this.

Having been at both types of clubs I definitely see a pro as an asset, a club is better for having one. Saying that is largely depends on the pro themselves. They have to engage with the membership, become part of the club, get on with the members. I know selling Mars Bars was not their dream but better to do it smiling than be miserable. A miserable, lazy pro is certainly not worth having, and yes I have seen them in action.
 
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My daughter's bloke has just been made Head Professional at my club - and I am pretty sure he doesn't see the role as becoming redundant.

He does a lot of work for the club through the academies - cultivating new members through his teaching - and these are providing a steady stream of new members - juniors and ladies especially. He does a lot of teaching - mainly members - his main source of income and I very much doubt he gets paid a kings ransom by the club - most likely simply a retainer. The Pros at my place - Head plus two assistants, are an integral part of the club - running the shop; lessons; playing in comps and challenge matches; joining in social occasions; running draws, and, starting next year - organising golfing trips/holidays for groups of members.

They are part of the club.
 
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pauldj42

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Does it come back to “size of retainer” and how much effort they need to put in to make it financially viable?

The 2 Pro’s I first mentioned in the OP had a big difference in their retainer and both were well thought of.

For those without a Pro, but one who uses your facilities, are they paying a set fee or % of earnings.
 

patricks148

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Nairn decided to get rid of the pro of 30 years and take it in house to cut costs.The guy they got to run the club From CS ballsed it up good a proper, we payed the old pro maybe £60K and he did everything, fist year of the club running the shop wage bill alone was £95 K , Got rid of him and we now have the guy that ran Carnoustie, he seems to have more of a clue and has made a cuts to the overstaffing and over stock. We also have a Pro attached who works out of the club but doesn't get paid just does the SGU stuff and lessons.
 

Jacko_G

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Our head pro is leaving next year although will still be teaching there and the club is taking the running of the shop in house. Guess all this saves i s paying him a retainer.

This appears to be becoming more and more common. One of the bigger clubs in my area appears to be going down this route next season after their professional retired. Th eyare going to pay a pro a wage with a % of sales bonus and he/she can teach to make extra. Club buys the stock and gets the profit.
 
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This appears to be becoming more and more common. One of the bigger clubs in my area appears to be going down this route next season after their professional retired. Th eyare going to pay a pro a wage with a % of sales bonus and he/she can teach to make extra. Club buys the stock and gets the profit.
I think this is close to the model we have adopted.
 

MendieGK

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From dealing with a lot of pros I can tell you a large proportion of them are extremely stuck in their ways, happy to moan about not earning enough cash yet continue to let OEM brands take them for a ride every year with their new drivers due to extensive pre books and poor margins

A pro active pro can still make very good money
 
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Anybody on here played at Dewsbury District Golf Club. The pro there (Nigel Hirst) has been there for what seems like forever. Great bloke, and a good teacher of the game as well. He's due to leave soon I believe and will surely leave a massive hole in the club. He's helped build the club over the years, and has been key to its progression. Invaluable.
 

duncan mackie

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Nairn decided to get rid of the pro of 30 years and take it in house to cut costs.The guy they got to run the club From CS ballsed it up good a proper, we payed the old pro maybe £60K and he did everything, fist year of the club running the shop wage bill alone was £95 K , Got rid of him and we now have the guy that ran Carnoustie, he seems to have more of a clue and has made a cuts to the overstaffing and over stock. We also have a Pro attached who works out of the club but doesn't get paid just does the SGU stuff and lessons.
And here lies the range of a "club professional".
Who, what contract and how it's delivered are the issues; not the headline question.
 

Karl102

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I was speaking to a pro who recently applied for a job as head pro at a local club. He has a very good reputation and would certainly attract new members to the club. Long story short, he got down to the last 2 from many applicants.
He drew up a business plan to support the pro shop and the club. He wanted a 25k retainer. He lost out to a pro with a much lesser pedigree, but he only wanted a 10k retainer. The guy I know said he could have walked out of the interview there and then as he knew they would pick him.
Question is, would employing the pro with a higher pedigree make the club an extra 15 k per year? I don't know.....
 
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I think club pro's can play a very important role at a club and a club will always benefit from having a good professional on board. Reality may of course dictate that the club may have to go without but I definitely felt a club should only not have a resident pro unless its absolutely necessary. A good professional can bring in new members and is often the face people see the most when at a club. They are often a good person to get the general feeling from members about course condition, changes and all the rest of it, so can be valuable to a club as they probably speak to most members regularly and also many visitors.
 

Wolf

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Warning long post 😂

I see both sides of the coin with this one as in is it worth it to a club and is it a viable career choice for the individuals.

Firstly the individual side of it, I have lots of friends I was in junior golf with that went on to start/do their PGA training, I started mine at 19 but curtailed it when I found out I was to become a dad 6 months into it so couldn't afford the apprenticeship wages and becoming a parent. From memory I think their was 10 of us from my club alone, of that number only 8 went onto complete PGA diploma, out of those 8 now 1 is head Pro at a fellow forumers club in Kent, 1 is England golf coach for ladies and girls teams and the other 6 have jobs varying from car saleman, painters and podiatrists. The reason being they couldn't financially justify staying in the role as a career because big businesses and online suppliers meant they got minimum trade through club sales or even clothing, so effectively balls and mars bars were all that was left to sell, that along with the sheer number of qualified professionals locally teaching meant market saturation so that became limited income, so they end up drifting away to find money elsewhere to support families.

Now I don't see it as potentially stable career if you're just a club/teaching pro unless you manage to get a top end club job where members have high disposable income but those rarely come up unless through retirement. I think now you need to be more in the club & business management side where you have more input into running the whole club overall but of course this takes people away from being what a PGA pro is because they need to run other sides of the business such as hospitality, corporate , course management sonless time with regards to teaching etc, which is why many clubs seem to be going down the teaching affiliate route, and having normal employees in shops etc. But just my opinion..
 

williamalex1

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Never been a pro or shop at ours since it opened in 1905, the bar stocks the basic essential's. Most of other the local clubs have pros if we need a lesson or advice.
 

HomerJSimpson

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We did have a pro in place for 20+ years but he left about three years ago. We got a new guy in who brought in a very good assistant who did great things teaching (especially the kids) and was really driving revenue through member lessons as well. The pro left in August and we have a new guy in place in his first head pro role. That meant the assistant went as well as he was actually employed and paid by the pro that left and not the club. the new guy has already done great stuff with the limited floor space available in the shop and it is much more welcoming. He is far more engaging than the pro that has just left and has a good reputation as a player so hopefully he'll play more and help get the club name out there

I think a pro isn't a necessity but is a good to have. I think a good one can really help the club but if it isn't cost effective I can see why a club would want to do without
 
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