• Alistair Tait

Support your golf club professional

Mark Tyler received a heart-warming phone call from a member of Bracken Ghyll Golf Club. More club pros like Mark could do with similar phone calls.

“Had a call from a member of my club today. Bought an electric trolley I had in stock even though he’s no idea when he’ll be able to use it! Made my day! @brackenghyllgc #grateful

As Michael McEwan outlines in his excellent article on the Bunkered.com website, these are tough times for golf clubs and their club professionals. Every golf club pro has spent a tremendous amount of money on Spring stock that now might not be sold.

I’ve got many friends who are golf club professionals and, like everyone else, they’re struggling to cope with this crazy coronavirus world. Aside from thousands of pounds of stock they can’t sell, they can’t give lessons for obvious reasons. Their two main revenues streams have dried up. Many have assistant professionals they’ve had to put on furlough. One I spoke to wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to afford to keep all three of his assistants through the winter.

All of this comes after one of the worst winters on record with higher than normal rainfalls and storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge.

Sadly, some might not survive this bloody mess.

I’m a big believer that the club pro lies at the heart and soul of every golf club. Golf clubs are richer because of them and would be poorer without them. I might not have taken up this game if not for a golf club professional.

I began playing when I was about 19 years old. Paul Cotey was the club professional at Merry Hill Golf Club just outside Kitchener, Ontario. My parents were Merry Hill members, and I would accompany them for 9-hole twilight rounds when I first started.

It was obvious to me back that then that Merry Hill thrived because of Paul Cotey. His enthusiasm for the game was infectious. He wasn’t only great with the members, he was fantastic at encouraging me to play. When I began going up to the golf course on my own, Paul always went out of his way to encourage me, ask about my game, give me tips. Whisper it, but there were times when it was quiet and I was on my own when he wouldn’t charge me a green fee.

“Don’t worry,” he’d say with a wink. “This one’s on the house. Go and enjoy yourself.”

Paul’s no different to the current group of golf club professionals I consider friends, those pros who go out of their way to help us learn and improve our games. Those same club professionals who organise junior coaching to get kids started in this great game. Woburn Golf Club is lucky to have a fantastic head professional in Dan Grieve, and team in the pro shop that compliments the fantastic work the rest of the staff do throughout the club.

You might not be able to support your club by buying drinks and snacks in the clubhouse, but there’s nothing to stop you ringing your club professional and ordering that trolley you were thinking of buying, or that new putter, sand wedge, utility club.

The heart and soul of every golf club deserves our support. Not just now, but always.


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