"The First 90 Days" by Hartford GC's Joe Connerton

by Brian Dobak
January 24, 2011

Joe Connerton is approaching his third season as the Head Golf Professional at Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford, Connecticut. It is his first HP position as he arrived there fresh off an assistant professional position at The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Joe describes the first 90 days in a unique way. According to him, it’s of particular importance to evaluate the general golfing environment that exists at the club so you can then formulate an appropriate plan of action. Joe provides some great perspective on how to approach the first 90 days of a head professional job, let alone our first Head Professional job:

Establish Lines of Communication

As an incoming Head Professional, the first ninety days provides an opportunity to gather information, set goals and form priorities for the upcoming season. Open lines of communication within each department and member chairpersons of the respective committees associated with the golf program will help a Head Professional to garner the necessary information.

Define the Golf Environment

As the lines of communication develop you will be able to define the golfing environment and learn what makes the game of golf significant at your facility. It is imperative to recognize the noteworthy details pertaining to the importance of the game, as this will provide the opportunity to establish a game plan for the future.

Plan of Action

As the environment becomes apparent, the Head Professional can establish a golf program that fits the needs of the particular facility. Elements that require particular examination are the golf shop, the men’s program, the women’s program, the junior program and the teaching program. The information obtained pertaining to each program and their current levels of success will allow the Head Professional the opportunity to devise a priority list and to set goals that are concurrent with the department heads and chairperson of each committee.

Team Effort

Please keep in mind that as your goals develop, it will be a collective effort from an entire team. The more you understand about the club and the golfing climate will allow the best opportunity to search for the most appropriate candidates to hire to complete your professional team. The best leaders hire a team that has a common goal. An accurate set of goals and priorities, and a team to execute the goals, should provide positive results for the future.

Once again, Joe comes to us with a very unique perspective. We can't do anything or make any decisions until we evaluate the golf climate and the general environment of the club with regards to golf. If we have an itchy trigger-finger, then rash decisions will result and it could cause some friction between us and the membership. Have a keen eye and a firm set of goals that the first class staff that you built will buy into. The job would seem to be half way through if you can accomplish that.