I was speaking to a longtime colleague / mentor of mine not too long ago and he made a comment regarding the new crop of candidates who just successfully passed their playing ability tests. He said, “Well they’re one step closer to being OUT of the golf business”. I was floored at first but afterwards I thought a little deeper about this statement. The sad thing was he was exactly right.
Golf is a wicked game. Demanding, hard and almost unconquerable. But her softer side is the real wicked one as she provides a potential or the allure of a career working in & around a game that you love. She teases you with images of wealth, endless supply of golf, and it has a certain “cool” factor when you say it out loud, “I’m a golf professional”. The dictionary defines a professional as: “Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally” . So the idea of being an “expert” in an athletic endeavor holds a lot of weight in decisions of young men and women.
I bet you can name at least 1 or 2 individuals who have left the golf profession in the past 12 months. Don’t worry, there is a wave of young guns ready to take their place. Fresh with PGM graduate certificates in hands they leap into the world of the golf industry to apply what they have learned. Some expect full time positions and because they have spent the past 3 – 5 years going to school in the winter, when suddenly faced with the need to “find a job for the winter” many fall into the pit of despair. Why? This is nothing new. The temperature has not changed here in Ontario or Canada for that matter, our golf season is a limited one.
Well the fingers start pointing: “The Association (PGA of Canada) doesn’t do enough for us”, “My head pro doesn’t do anything to help me find a job”, etc… But the real issue is not waiting for a hand out but working to get a hand up. Figuring out what it is exactly you want to do as a professional and focusing on creating your career path can create the right method required to achieve what it is you want. The unfortunate part is that a lot of us have absolutely no clue.
But How Do You Find Your Path?
Douglas Adams said:
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
This path finding mission is not rocket science. There are individuals / coaches who can help you reach your goals. However they are available at a cost far outside the income of 90% of those who really need it. So who can they turn to? It should be the Head Professionals and General Managers, but rarely do they have time to do this properly. Now don’t get me wrong as there are some terrific mentors and individuals who DO practice this. The sad truth is many do not. Why? Time, effort, insecurity, egos or they don’t know how. This is not me taking a shot at my own profession but more of an exposure of what the Golf Business has morphed golf professionals into. So how do we change this?
I challenge my fellow PGA of Canada Professionals to make more time, listen more, ask questions, and by all means take genuine interest in those working the front lines for us. They need help in navigating their path. We should be there to help them every step of the way helping them construct the map for their journey. Would you not feel amazing being able to change the stigma of more people leaving than entering the golf business? We are in the “experts” category of our Association, we are looked upon to be the leaders, mentors and spark plugs to ignite the passion in those following behind. Job security is not dependent on how many professionals you can put forward into long lasting careers, but it feels awesome when you do!
If you don’t know how to, or maybe you think that you need to set your path, drop me a line at: Doug@focusgolfgroup.com , follow me @FocusGolfGroup on twitter, or ask to be friends on Facebook.
A Networking, Social, Relationship Building, Motivational, Influential PGA of Canada Golf Professional, Coach, Instructor, Mentor and lastly a really great DAD! Doug Lawrie is the CIO (Chief Influencing Officer) of the Focus Golf Group, and has been a proud member of the PGA of Canada for 20 years.