Golf Pro/Instructor

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Golf Pro/Instructor


Golf originated in Scotland hundreds of years ago, possibly by fishermen knocking pebbles around the sand dunes with sticks as they made their way to their villages from their boats. The habit soon rose through the ranks until even Mary Queen of Scots became an avid player. Eventually the game made its way across the ocean and landed here, in North America, where it has recently become one of the fastest growing sports out there.

Golf professionals are excellent golfers. They begin just like everyone else, playing for fun and exercise, but when it becomes evident that they are talented, they begin to practice in earnest, hoping to register as a golf pro, begin touring the competitive circuit, and eventually manage a golf course.

Most golf professionals tour in competitions for a few years, but it can be a grueling schedule, and, unless you are an incredibly gifted player, not very lucrative. Many choose to work at courses and clubs, where they teach lessons, manage staff, run the shop, organize games, and host tournaments. While this schedule can be demanding as well, often working 15 hours or more a day during the golfing season, it doesn't require as much moving around as touring does. As well, the business aspect is appealing for pros who are looking for a more tangible and consistently rewarding line of work.

Golf pros get to do it all. They can compete, they can plan and host events, they can run a shop, manage a staff, oversee course maintenance, and teach visiting golfers. They sometimes get to travel during the winter months, teaching classes at resorts and courses all over the world. And, if they're lucky, golf professionals may even get a game or to in once in a while!
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in working as a golf pro? Not only do golf professionals need to love golf and be skilled players, but they should be good communicators who enjoy working with people. They are leaders who can manage staff as well as a business. They should have a head for economics as well as public relations. Good organizational skills are vital. They should enjoy competition, be physically fit, and enjoy the outdoors as much as an indoor office.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Compete in tournaments
  • Manage staff of golf course
  • Arrange tee-off times for clients
  • Give golf lessons
  • Manage course pro shop
  • Arrange golf tournaments
  • Meet regularly with grounds crew, support staff, and other administrators
  • Represent the club or course in professional or national golf activities
  • Ensure the maintenance of the grounds, buildings, and shop is completed
  • The typical day for a golf pro depends on the capacity in which they work. Those who are involved in tournaments travel the world to different golf competitions, give interviews, and endorse products. Those who have left competitive life work at golf courses or clubs, dealing with the business side of the sport. They will fill their day with meetings, phone calls, and paperwork, as well as the odd game of golf and lessons with visitors. There is travel in this job, especially for competing pros, who often travel for months at a time. However, managing pros will only travel if they are asked to teach a lesson elsewhere in the world.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Golf professionals work . . . Where else? On golf courses! They are hard at work either in competition or as course managers. During competition, they travel, playing wherever there is a prize to be won. The rest of the time they work at self-promotion, practice, and advertising and endorsing products.
  • Golf pros who choose to work with golf courses stay in the same place all year, working in management, even during the off-season. They teach students, manage shops, oversee staff and ground maintenance. They work alone, as the only pro on site, but they do have assistants and support staff. They work long hours, often more than 15 hours a day, during the golfing season. They work as traveling teachers, at resorts and clubs around the world.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Golf professionals can spend time touring with the competition circuit, after which they can get into product endorsement, or turn to management and become the pro at a club or course. They can travel the world and teach the top players, or start up free lessons for underprivileged children. They can also write golfing books and make golfing tip vidoes, host golf help sessions on the radio or television, and open up a golf shop.

  Educational Paths  
Those who plan on working as a professional golfer outside the touring circuit, should consider a college course or university degree in business management or golf course management. They might also consider taking some language classes, as they will be working with many tourists and new Americans who don't necessarily speak English.

Any one interested in this profession should start practicing as soon as possible. They may also try to get a job working anywhere on the golf course, so they can get a feel for the business and culture.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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