Getting Off To A Great Start In A New Job

July 26, 2010

Golf Business Network (GBN) was founded in 2004 by Steve Archer, Bob Mulcahy, and Bob Ford. Of all of the ongoing services provided by GBN on a daily basis, it is their periodical newsletter that arguably reaches out the most.  In them are articles specifically tailored to assistant golf professionals. In the fourth installment of PIFG's GBN month, taken from their newsletter, the staff sheds light on a subject that will ALWAYS be of significance. Considering how transient the golf business is, there is nothing more fitting than an article about getting off to a great start in a new job.

As a young professional joining a golf staff, it may help you to think of the upcoming season as a feature film. The head professional is the lead character, exerting primary influence on how the narrative unfolds. But bear in mind how important the supporting actors are to any memorable story - as a staff assistant, that’s where you fit in.

Your work style and daily approach has to complement the themes and tone your head professional establishes. And yet the audience - your members - is also looking for the special touches that a well-developed secondary character provides. So, don’t just reflect on the excellent work of the head pros you have known, think about the assistant professionals who have brought those little extras to the golf programs you’ve experienced. With that as your inspiration, here are some common sense guidelines to help you prepare and go forward:
  1. Brief yourself on the people you’ll be serving. “Find out as much as you can about the membership,” says Cameron Wiebe, Director of Golf at The Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Florida. In Wiebe’s view, if you understand the personality of the club it will positively affect “your teaching style, your communication style, even the way you dress.” Every club has a heritage worth understanding, Wiebe points out. “If you take time to learn the history of the club, it can shed a positive light on your presentation,” he says. “A little research goes a long way”. 
  2. Eliminate possible distractions in your personal life. Have your living arrangements and transportation organized in advance. If you have a family, make sure their everyday needs are addressed before you begin the new golf season.
  3. Ask for a list of the employees you’ll be working with. Pick up some background information on each one. You may not end up as close friends with your co-workers, but you’ll be spending a majority of your time with them and it’s vital to get off on the right foot.
  4. Hone your playing skills. “Constantly work on your game, remember that you’re a Golf Professional and playing like one is an important aspect of your job” says Mike Scully, Head Professional at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, IL. If you arrive at the club as a new assistant with your ball-striking and short game in tune, you’ll have one more valuable way to make a fine first impression with the members.
  5. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Don Hurter, Head Professional at Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock, CO has found that the best approach is to “be yourself and learn as much as possible.” Hurter’s policy is to hire assistants based on their personality and to some degree what their experience has been. “Be yourself, learn to teach, keep your game to a high standard, don't be afraid to play with the membership, and learn how to merchandise properly,” says Hurter. “If you start with those principals and stick by them you’ll always be an asset to the club and the staff.”
  • Be a sponge and learn how things work. Keep searching for new ways to contribute.
  • Spend some of your off time shadowing the teaching professional and watching how they teach.
  • When a member comes to you with a question it’s great to provide a correct answer on the spot. Just remember, people are equally as pleased - sometimes more pleased - when you get back to them in a timely manner on a question you could not answer initially. Conscientious follow-up means you didn’t forget them.