The world of the PGA Professional continues to evolve at rapid pace, as he or she remains flexible to stay in touch with the key role they have to play in a fast-moving travel market, writes Bruce Glasco, managing director Troon Golf EMEA.
Like most professions, the role has become more business orientated in recent years, reflecting golf clubs’ responses to an increasingly challenging industry. Knowing your clientele by name and demonstrating your knowledge of the golf swing and products was previously enough to satisfy the customer.
This is not the case with the modern consumer, who demands a higher level of visibility and multi-disciplines from their local professional. We, for instance, work with travel operators and golf professionals to make sure the booking process is as straight forward as possible, and transparent from where their margins, and ultimately their profit lie.
Troon’s facilities, while intent on striking relations with the tour operators, now have a focussed message for professionals around the world.
Costa Navarino in Greece, for example, which is, without doubt one of the most exciting new courses in Europe, has made a commitment to host the PGAs of Europe tournaments. This brings with it a captive audience of PGA professionals who all experience the product first-hand. This in turn gives the opportunity for Costa Navarino to communicate package options for PGA professional groups and their members.
Many other facilities are also geared up to welcome golf professionals and their groups. Certainly at Troon Golf it is a key part of our business model. It is part of the future for golf business and is certainly an opportunity for the PGA professional to add value to their clients and themselves.
As the world’s largest employer of PGA professionals, Troon Golf strongly advocates the development of individuals within our organisation, identifying it as being imperative for the advancement of the golf industry.
In fact, to provide valuable insight as to what is required to further their advancement our corporate structure is designed to support and gather feedback from our key stakeholders.
Our collection of golf facilities is the biggest in the world and has established us as the clear leader in the field of golf management; by encouraging early recognition of key opportunities in the industry, we are able to highlight areas where our professionals can financially capitalise.
The exploration of new avenues (the use of social media, for example) has meant professionals have been able to attract new instructional and retail clients to compete with large high-street retailers. However, many PGA professionals are required to understand all revenue streams, even to the extent of knowing the details of the food and beverage department.
Thus the modern professional is required to be multi-dimensional to underpin his or her performance and ultimately ensure the club’s success. Working with thin margins, however, has meant certain disciplines cannot be compartmentalised, resulting in greater ownership across the board for the PGA professional.
With a growing number of golf facilities in theEurope, Middle-East and Asia (EMEA) market, our success in managing luxury resorts around the world has resulted in a well-documented presence for Troon Golf there. Recognising that foreign markets are able to feed off one another encourages the flow of communication, providing us with insight into how these markets can shift. Therefore our teams are able to react accordingly through sheer economies of scale.
It’s not just Troon Golf that recognises the importance of the PGA professional; the leading figures at golf resorts are beginning to take note of the important ‘trust bond’ the very words PGA professional evokes. Their members and guests take on board, as fact, the information a professional is willing to divulge and this trust transcends to all aspects of golf.
What brand of club someone may like, what they are doing wrong with their swing, but also what golf courses they may like to play. ‘You will love this….’ is a phrase that, no doubt, all of us have used to entice someone to find out more or even purchase a product. The same applies to travel: if a PGA Professional has enough information on a resort, its credentials and details of accessibility, then the sell-in to his or her members and guests becomes much simpler.
With the ease and affordability of travel in 2011, professional golfers are presented with a great revenue opportunity, via group tuition breaks at resorts all over the world.
As PGA professionals look for different ways to entertain and interact with their clients, foreign golf excursions are becoming increasingly fashionable. We have recognised and embraced this at Troon Golf better than anybody else in the industry.
This article first appeared in ‘’The PGA Professional Magazine’ (Travel Supplement, July issue)
Troon Golf www.troongolf.com
PGAs of Europewww.pgae.com