Being a golf club professional requires both an understanding of golf and how to manage a leisure industry business. At large clubs and golf resorts, this position is called director of golf, reflecting the responsibility for all aspects of the facility. The position may also be called head golf professional. Clubs may have golf professionals on staff called teaching professionals, who specialize in golf instruction for members or guests.
Get started early. During high school or college, take a summer job at a golf club and learn as much as possible about its operation. Watch the club professional at work, particularly how he interacts with the members or guests, and how he supervises staff. Ask questions and learn as much as you can.
Develop customer service skills. The position requires an outgoing personality and friendly, positive attitude. Golf club professionals work hard at making sure club members and guests get the most enjoyment out of the game as possible. They have a keen eye for the details that add up to high-quality customer service.
Work towards PGA membership, which is part of becoming a club professional. For those working at a golf club, this can be accomplished through a combination of study and on-the-job training or internship. Tell the head professional at your club that you want to pursue this career path. Golf club professionals serve as mentors and guide young, aspiring pros through the course study and tests necessary to earn PGA membership.
Improve your golf game. Although a club professional is not required to be as good as a touring pro, he must be at least good to excellent and routinely score around par. One of the requirements for gaining membership in the PGA is to pass a PGA Playing Ability Test.
Gain PGA membership through university training. Enroll in the PGA Golf Management University Program (PGM). This four-and-a-half to five-year program is held at 20 well-known U.S. universities, including Penn State, University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Clemson University. Course study includes business courses like marketing and finance, and courses specifically about the golf industry. Graduates earn both a bachelor’s degree and PGA membership.
Graduates of the PGM University Program receive assistance with job placement.
Students in the PGM University Program do not need to be currently employed in the golf industry. Standard college entrance requirements apply.
Though a golf course can be a fun place to work, club professionals do not have an easy job. They work long hours, particularly during the club’s busiest seasons, and the pressures to operate the club efficiently are similar to any other retail business.