Top-100 or Bust: Working at a Top Club

by Brian Dobak
January 18, 2010

How much should you emphasize trying to get into a Top-100 club? As an assistant professional, ultimately you want to make your resume as attractive as possible to hiring committees. Working at a top-100 club will do just that. Nobody can deny that these facilities are launching pads. However if you think about it, technically you likely won’t learn anything more at a prestigious club than you would at a “non-prestigious club”.

Speaking in terms of automobiles, some cars have a history, a reputation, a standard, a quality to them, and are seen as a prestigious brand, yet at the very core, a Mercedes and a Toyota have the same parts – tires, rims, bumpers, suspension, throttle bodies, fuel injectors, etc. Oakmont Country Club and Moccasin Run Golf Club have all the same parts – Merchandising, tournament operations, instruction, a golf car fleet, golf shop personnel management, GHIN system, a point of sale system, calligraphy pens, etc. The only difference though is that one of them is more attractive than the other. The point is that you learn the same thing at both facilities.

If you take anything from the experience of working at a prestigious club, it is that you will likely be exposed to a higher level standard of service, one which you will bring with you and have a major impact on a club in the future. You will also be surrounded by opportunity because of the relationships you will be cultivating while working there and after your time there. You will be surrounded by a different demographic of members who will pose different relational opportunities. There is no denying that a resume adorned with top-100 facilities will give you an edge, however it is not the be-all-end-all of your career. Without top-100 facilities, you still will ultimately get where you want to be, you will just be taking a different path than you would if you did have top-100 facilities on your resume. The determining factors that will take you further in your career as a golf professional are what your experiences are, what you did with your experiences, and your work ethic, not the names of the clubs on your resume.

Top-100 Clubs are a very attractive pitch from a resume. When a hiring committee sees top-100 courses on a resume, they probably think “glamour and networking”. When we as golf professionals look at our resumes with a top-100 club on them, we think “job interview”. Unfortunately, both are true. To get into a top-100 club, there is some luck involved, you might have to make some sacrifices, and it will aid you greatly if you know someone. But at the end of the day, all you can do is work hard and try your best to establish and cultivate relationships and see where the cards fall. Who we meet is largely out of our control despite some small influences we have from our decisions. A strong work ethic is an attractive characteristic, and veteran head professionals can smell it like its blood. Your work ethic will always be the basis of any reference, and it will contribute to you getting into a top-100 club. The hard work is worth it to have an attractive facility on your resume to act as a launching pad for your career.

Ultimately, hiring committees are going to hire you for your experiences and what you did with your experiences, not the names of the facilities on your resume. They’re not going to hire you for where you come from, they’re going to hire you for what you did. Even if you have four top-100 facilities on your resume, the hiring committee’s selection of you won’t be about where you worked as much as it will be about what you did there. It is certainly okay and commendable to aspire to earn employment at a top club, but don't for one second think it will make or break your career. Being fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work at a top club is not in the cards for everyone, but don't think your career depends on it.