It was 8 years ago when the thought first crossed my mind. “What if there was someone who made videos about how to be a better Golf Professional?”
And, I kept asking myself that, year after year. Because every time I looked, I could never find anything. Sure, there were people starting to pop up on social media and youtube that were Golf Professionals. But, they were talking about teaching, and not the actual business part being a golf professional.
That’s when another thought crossed my mind…..”What if I did it?”
But what would I talk about and how would I do it? I was a first Assistant pro at the time and was still learning so much myself that I couldn’t dare think that I had something to teach anyone about how to be a better golf professional.
A few more years went by, and eventually I became a pretty good Head Golf Professional and Director of Golf. I started to have some big wins, like implementing a membership retention initiative that lead to a 30% reduction in resignations that year, and merchandising programs that set records and won me an award. I started to think I might have something valuable to say and noticed nobody else had said it yet.
In an ironic twist, the thing that actually got me to start making videos to help golf professionals was me quitting being a golf professional. I’ll admit that the free Masters tickets may have had an impact, but I also knew I wasn’t done with my golf story yet. I just knew that getting where I wanted to go, and creating what I wanted to create, required me to get off the road I was on and make my own path ahead.
Over those next 4 years working outside the golf business, I worked with some incredible people to accomplish some remarkable things. During that time I continued to make videos, create over 170 golf business podcasts that have been listened to over 40,000 times. Produced and edited my own daily vlogs. I’ve gotten asked to speak at multiple PGM Universities and spoke at my first one last year. I’ve made great friends and been inspired by so many great people.
And that brings us to today. The day after my last day of full time work. The rest of the PGAjay story unwritten. The same question to be answered……. “What if I did it?”
Ever since I started coming up with ideas for how PGA Golf Professionals can use social media to make an impact on their business, I always asked myself the question, “Am I trying to reach young Golf Professionals with this or Older Golf Professionals?”
The reason I couldn’t figure out the answer, was because neither one by itself was right. Just like my age of 41, I too, like my idea, was right down the middle (ok… let’s just call it the high middle). My responsibility wasn’t to cater the content to either group over the other. It was to create bridge between their two unique skillsets.
Sure, younger pros know how to use the platforms because they grew up with them. But so far they may have only figured out how to use them for things that are important to a 18-30 year old. Things like….. you know…. things that are important to an 18-30 year old…..
And of course any time you bring up social media to a 56 year old Head Golf Professional they are going to roll their eyes at you. Why? Because every damn time we run out of range balls I see an outside service person on their damn phone, doing whatever it is important to 18-30 year olds, instead of picking the damn range like I asked you 3 times! (Ok…. yea….. maybe I’m more in the lower end of the old pro classification.)
But for the more traditional set to dismiss new media platforms as a complete time waster, and just shut it down as a potential business solution is a mistake too. Almost as big of a mistake as that DM (Direct Message, for the older folks in the room) your outside service person is about to send…..
Let’s just say I could come up with a platform where 30-70% of your membership shared photos and updates about their lives when they weren’t at the club. And what if you could see all this and even talk to them about it? Like, “Hey, I didn’t know you went to school there. We are going to have the game on the big screen at the club Saturday if you want to swing by? Bring a few friends and first round is on me.” That would be useful right? Well that’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
A lot of Golf Pros don’t start on these platforms because they get caught up on feeling like they need to share about themselves. And that’s hard for good Golf Professionals to get passed. Because, as a golf professional there is a sense of selflessness and service you need to have to be truly great at your job. But it doesn’t have to be about you, it can be about you connecting with your members wherever they (and you) are. Because neither of you need to be at the club to make a connection that convinces them to stay a member another year, or to finally come see you for that golf lesson.
For the younger Golf Professionals it takes time to develop that seemingly magical ability to connect with people in every conversation. And one of the fastest ways to develop that skill is to have a conversation with more members. If you only have 40 members on the sheet today, wouldn’t it be great if you could say hello to 40 more that aren’t at the club today and wish them good luck on their bowling league, or their kids recital.
Not only can young and old pros engaging with their members on social help members feel more connected to the club and the staff, it can help connect the older and younger staff. Starting a club page together is a great chance for Head Professionals to set the tone for the way they want their staff to communicate with members. And in turn, a great chance for the younger pros to show the older pros just what buttons to press, on their phone, to do that.
My first video review of the PGA Magazine!
Since I left day to day operations as a PGA Professional I have been looking for a way to stay involved, give back to the PGA and my fellow Professionals and especially Apprentices.
My hope is to publish a series of videos each month reviewing some of the highlights of the very valuable PGA Magazine. By sharing some highlights I hope to not only remind members how valuable this publication is for ideas and inspiration but to also create a dialogue online to further build on the core principles mentioned in these articles with your comments on your own variations of these best practices.
I would really love to have any feedback so that I can make these videos as valuable as possible. I know the first few of these will be a little rough as I figure it out so please be honest.
Thank you for everything you do!