Is the "First Assistant" Title Necessary?

by Brian Dobak
June 20, 2012

Like any other career path, there is a career ladder to climb in the club professional industry. But what exactly must this ladder entail? What are it's steps? One that is questioned often is the necessity of attaining a First Assistant Professional position. Is it necessary? Do I need to have this title on my resume to attain a Head Professional position?

In getting some great feedback from very accomplished Head Professionals during the National PGA Annual Meeting in January, the sentiments were clear. In the grand scheme of things, it is not absolutely critical that you have experience as a "First Assistant Professional". There are plenty of assistant professionals without that title that have proven themselves worthy of and are ready for a Head Professional position. If you do not have the title on your resume, it does not mean you can't advance into a Head Professional position. But here is why it is important and why you should at least aim for a First Assistant role: 

Titles are Marketable 

Selection committees like titles. When they scan a resume, they don't necessarily read every single word, but they do pay particular attention to the facility names and titles in the resume. To a committee member, the "First Assistant" title is the last stop for an assistant on the way to becoming a Head Professional. It also speaks volumes that they include in Career Links job descriptions, "Must have at least 4 years of experience as a First Assistant".

 Responsibility & Accountability 

Although you are still an assistant professional, with the title of "First Assistant" comes added responsibility and accountability. As a First Assistant, it is common for the opening line on a resume for that particular experience to read, "Led the golf operation in the absence of the Head Professional". Key words: "In the absence". As the First Assistant Professional, you are next in command and the Head Professional has put you in that position because you have put your time in, and you are trusted to do the job when he/she is absent. This speaks volumes to a selection committee.

Upward Movement 

Speaking in terms of being the last stop for an assistant on the way to becoming a Head Professional, attaining a role as First Assistant shows the selection committee that there has been upward movement on your path as a golf professional. Upward movement is good. To accomplish upward movement, you must have been successful in the step before. A lot of upward movement equals a lot of success.

Remember, there is a ladder as an assistant golf professional. The picture above is only an example of what that ladder can look like. For many, a First Assistant role is one of the steps on that ladder. Focus less on the title and more on the responsibility that comes with it. Aim for the role, and who knows, because of your diligence and hard work, you may never even get that far before attaining a Head Professional position.