There’s been both good news and bad news for Canadian golf professionals recently.
First the good news, since we can all use some of that, is that two Canadians have been recognized beyond our borders for their teaching skills.
Master Professional Henry Brunton, who serves as the national men’s coach for the Royal Canadian Golf Association, was named to the top 50 list of kid teachers by U.S. Kids Golf at last week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
In mid-January, Montreal’s Claude Brousseau, who works out of the Kapalua Golf Academy in Maui, was named the Aloha Section PGA Teacher of the Year for his work in paradise.
Check out the People section on the Golf News Now home page for more on those stories.
Meanwhile, the bad news is that a couple of golf professionals have sent along e-mails, lamenting the state of employment for those on the hunt, which is disturbing given the age difference between the two men.
On one hand, there was a young man frustrated at job opportunities and you have to wonder whether he and others will just throw up their hands in despair if their best bets are low-paying assistants’ jobs. Sure, you need to pay your dues, but you also need to pay the bills.
On the other hand, an older professional had already changed careers, but think of the nightmare faced by middle-aged pros should they lose their jobs in the current economy when finding a job is tough for anybody, let alone a 50-something seeking a salary that goes along with his/her experience.
Those two examples illustrate opposite ends of the spectrum and there is frustration in between as well when people such as Brunton and Brousseau demonstrate what Canadians can do if given the chance.
Whether golf facilities want what pros bring to the table is the question, or more precisely, do these facilities want a pro’s talents badly enough?
The role of the golf pro has been evolving for years and while many took on other duties, many more are concerned for their jobs and that was true even before the wobbling economy took hold, making cost-cutting a reality and causing a perfect storm for professionals.
Steve Carroll, the executive director of the Canadian PGA, said in a recent GNN blog that the association needs to convince owners of the importance of having one of its members, but that’s a tall order today.
To the Canadian PGA’s credit, it backed up Carroll’s words with the recent unveiling of its 2009-2014 Association Strategic Plan. The entire document can be found at www.cpga.com.
“Our comprehensive strategic plan provides our membership and stakeholders with a clearly understood, disciplined, strategic approach to building an exciting future for the association,” said Carroll in a release.
“Successful implementation of the strategic goals outlined in this plan will serve to strengthen the Canadian PGA’s profile as an effective and well-respected association within a changing golf industry,” he added.
The document is a five-year plan, but the time to implement its ambitious goals is now and that is recognized specifically with objectives and measurable outcomes planned for the immediate future (2009-2011). Fast-tracking is essential with this plan.
The document goes on to talk about developing education programs, strategic partnerships, business plans and promotion of Canadian PGA members, among other things, but there is one bond that will determine how successful the plan is and that is cooperation between the national office and the zones.
That is a considerable hurdle when you consider infighting that has gone on in the past between groups that are focused on the needs of their own members. Those needs, however, may not jive with the needs of Canadian PGA members in other parts of the country and the conflict begins at that point.
There was a team spirit that was evident in the document and let’s hope that attitude remains because cooperation between zones and the national office is essential to make the plan work and it needs to start working soon with all of the challenges ahead.
On the positive side, there has recently been a spirit of cooperation between associations that conflicted in the past, but the groups that now comprise the National Allied Golf Association (NAGA), which includes the Canadian PGA, are apparently harmonious in their shared work on various issues, so there is precedent.
In this day and age, there is no time for a mutiny or different associations representing golf professionals going in different directions.
Now is the time to bond as people hope to be able to show what they can do, just as Brunton and Brousseau did recently.