Continuing with the theme of the Canadian PGA’s Centennial, one of the biggest changes I’ve seen over my career is the shift in focus among many golf professionals of my generation.
I could play, but I wasn’t a great player, and I think when we were really young, we always thought, `Wow, that guy’s such a great golf player, he’s going to be a great golf professional.’
That was true and it was fair back then.
Gar Hamilton, the great head professional at the Mississaugua Golf and Country Club, is a perfect example. Gar is both a great player and a great businessman and it’s morphed into a situation where we still play with the member, but we’re not playing with them every day.
I realize that I’m generalizing, but I’m just saying that’s the way it is in the majority of cases. There are still clubs out there that want the great player who goes out with the members and teaches the members and there’s still room for that in the golf business.
On the other hand, golf clubs are paying more attention to the business side of the game and they need people to run the pro shop, take care of members with great customer service and look after the bottom line.
Like technology, the golf business is changing and we have to change with the times. My contemporaries have done a great job of doing that in going from young golf pros who thought we need to play well to, 25 years later, needing to play okay and know all the business aspects of golf.
People fear change, but change is inevitable, especially in business. You see many big businesses changing every six months or every year.
I think the fear factor is lessening these days because people in the golf business see that we’re in a changing environment and if we don’t like it, we might as well get out now because it’s going to keep changing.
I’m proud of my generation who saw this and did a great job of adapting to changing times.