Most young men looking for a career in Professional golf will opt for the life as an Assistant Professional working in the golf course shop. In time, if successfully passing the 3 year PGA examination, they will then be eligible to apply for a positional as a Club Professional anywhere in the world. Usually they are talented players who realise that their standard of golf is not good enough to go “On Tour“, or they simply love the game and prefer to be based at a club giving lessons and looking after members needs.
When I entered Professional golf in the early 1960’s, Club Professionals were usually men aged between 40 – 65 years.Now days, the average age is much younger with very few older pro’s still working at golf clubs. The reasons are many. The main one being that most Club Pro’s struggle to make enough money for the unsociable hours that they work. Family life can be seriously affected by having to work weekends and at bank holidays where the twelve hour day often starts at 7.30am. During the summer months many Professionals will work a 12 hour day, six days a week.
The Professionals retainer, usually a controversial matter, the Professional always thinks he should be paid more than the club are prepared to give for the amount of time that he spends at his shop, is quite often swallowed up in the wages that he has to pay to his staff.
With assistants on minimum rate of pay for a forty hour week they can often earn more money than the Professional during the quiet winter months when shop sales are at their lowest. This can result in the Professional laying off his assistant during the depth of winter as it is just not financially economical to keep him on.
Shop sales have dropped alarmingly over the last few years for many Club Professionals. This is due to the emergence ofdiscount golf shops, large sports stores, the internet and the selling channels on Sky TV, all selling golf equipment and taking sales away from the professional’s shop. Many Club Professionals have stopped selling golf clubs altogether and concentrate on selling clothing, shoes, golf balls and accessories
With over 3000 golf courses in the UK, 15% of them will give their Professional a very good living. But in 50% of the remainder the Professional will struggle to earn a decent income and may eventually give up, usually around the age of forty, and look for more financially rewarding employment as they get older with easier hours of work.
So for any young man looking to make Club Professional Golf his career, work as hard as you can to gain a broad experience from playing, teaching, repairing golf equipment and shop selling in the hope that one day you may be able to secure a plum job and guarantee a lucrative future in Professional golf. But be prepared to change career direction later in life if you do not.