10 Things PGA Professionals Are Talking About

From golf club committees to not getting out to play enough

PGA Professionals
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Golf Monthly has an ear to the ground to keep up with discussions in different golfing circles. Here’s what PGA Pros are talking about right now.

10 Things PGA Professionals Are Talking About

At Golf Monthly we keep our finger on the pulse and our ear to the ground as we like to stay abreast of what’s being discussed in various golfing circles.

We’ve been speaking to our (anonymous) contacts to find out what PGA Professionals have been chatting about recently if they get the chance to go out for a pint, or just get a catch up on the phone with their peers.

Here below are 10 things that PGA Professionals are talking about right now:

Expanding role of the club pro

PGA Professionals

Many clubs have looked to tighten their belts in recent years and one strategy has been to merge staff roles.

Many PGA pros find themselves elevated to Director of Golf or Club Manager.

It sounds great, and it can be, but such “promotions” generally come with increased responsibilities.

The secretary may take on a more part time role or stand down completely and the PGA pro finds that not only are they being asked to provide regular professional services but they’re also having to run club comps and events, look after club marketing and membership and the day to day club administration - A full-time job in itself.

Many club pros are now being asked to do three jobs in one!

Related: What is the PGA Vision 2020?

Retainers paid by golf clubs

PGA Professionals

It's all about the money...

Quite straightforward this one really – Do they get one? How much?

In testing times for club pros, a retainer could be the difference between breaking even and starting to struggle.

It could also be the deciding factor on whether a club pro can afford to take on an assistant, which can make all the difference to the level of service the pro is able to provide to members and visitors.

Golf Club committees

PGA Professionals

A hot topic this one – how do you deal with the ever-changing golf club committee?

Just as the PGA pro gets to grips with one committee’s whacky way of doing things, their tenures end and a new group of well-meaning and opinionated members step in.

The PGA professional is a constant at the club and sees committees and captains come and go.

Problems and issues are discussed at length and dealt with, only for a new captain or president to come in and question the approach.

It must be infuriating and led us to ask the question; Is the golf club committee an outdated institution?

Indoor studios

Foresight GCQuad launch monitor

Every PGA pro would like to have the benefit of an indoor swing studio, enabling them to teach and to fit equipment all year round, no matter what the conditions.

Some wealthier clubs with the necessary space will see the benefits and pay to have such a facility installed, particularly now that the standard of launch monitors is so high.

But PGA pros at clubs with less money to burn have to make a decision – Do they put tens of thousands of pounds of their own money into a swing studio and launch monitor equipment? Will it pay for itself? And how quickly?

Big retailers

Not a favourite amongst PGA pros (unless they work for one of course).

It’s tough for a club professional to compete with big retailers who are able to offer low prices on equipment owing to their significant buying power.

It’s frustrating for pros to see new kit in the bags of members that has been bought from a competitor offering much lower prices.

Related: What makes a good golf club member?

Clearly a club pro can offer their expertise and after-sale service, but many will always go with the cheaper option.

Does, then, the club pro offer price matching and risk making a loss to keep a member’s custom? It’s a tough one…

Buying groups

Related to the above, club pros can greatly enhance their buying power by joining a buying group.

Many do this and are able to benefit from lower trade prices to offer their customers lower retail prices.

It seems like a no-brainer for PGA pros to join a buying group, but some are reluctant to tie themselves in: To be expected to focus on certain products and brands, to follow a more generic approach than they otherwise would have done….

But, in the end, it makes financial sense…

Related: What does the PGA do?

Moaning members

PGA Professionals

A moaning member

We all know them – Every club has a handful of members who would moan if the course was presented like Augusta and Michel Roux Jnr was employed as Club chef.

At front of house, the PGA pro often has to put up with the brunt of the whinging.

“Why are we not using the back tees on the 12th?” … “I’ll ask the course manager.”

“Why are we now being given Daddies rather than HP sauce?” … “I’ll ask the caterer.”

“Why haven’t we repaired the pot-hole at the bottom end of the car park?” … “I’ll ask the treasurer if we can spare the funds.”


Domestic Competition and lack of Pro/Ams

The top professionals in the world compete for huge prize funds and can become extremely wealthy from their skilled play.

Some would argue that there’s too much golf at the very top level. But at a lower level, there's less opportunity for PGA Professionals to earn money from competitive golf.

In decades gone by, many clubs would have hosted an annual pro/am with prize money up for grabs. Not so many do now.

Domestic circuits in this country could be lucrative for the best players.

Also, pro/ams provided an opportunity for average golfers to see how the game can be played and maybe to get a pointer or two - It was a chance for pros to make contacts and maybe bag some new clients.

Could there be a way to get more juniors involved?

Could the PGA host more pro/ams where all playing PGA pros are paid something to attend but in return are expected to give time to coaching youngsters or holding clinics?

Almost all PGA pros love playing the game and competing with others, but many find there’s not an awful lot to play in right now.

Online coaches

A bit like big retailers, online coaches are a tad annoying for PGA professionals who make a good section of their living from instructing and coaching amateurs.

If members think they can get their instruction for free online, they’re less inclined to shell out to get advice from their professional.

Not wishing to stick the knife in – have a look here at our online coaching section.

Not playing enough

PGA Professionals

What are PGA Professionals Talking about right now?

As mentioned in discussion of the lack of domestic tournaments above, most PGA pros got into the business because they love playing golf.

But because they’re working so hard to make a living and, as we’ve seen in many cases, run the golf club too, they never get a chance to hit the fairways.

A common lament from PGA professionals is that they spend their lives thinking about, and organising golf, but they never get to play.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?