Rod Perry - Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club
I’m the PGA Head Golf Professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange, Fl. I’ve got a wife and two kids and this this is a great area of the country to raise a family. Crane Lakes is a semi private club with a great membership and ownership structure that values family, appreciates my playing accomplishments, and is just a great place to call home. I’ve been here for 7 years and the variety of the job is what does it for me. We host approximately 33,000 rounds a year between 175 members and daily fee play. So running a club that is both private and public is challenging. We try to do it all with a stocked Golf Shop, lessons, clinics, active Jr. program, and much more. I have to wear a different had every hour of the day and no two days are the same. We are busy in the winter and spring but we slow down enough in the summer to really enjoy life.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I was 12 years old when we went on a family vacation to Lake Lure, NC. The other family that was with us had sons our same age and all of them knew how to play golf. They invited me but I had to try to play right handed because that’s all anyone had. I was terrible. It was embarrassing. I had grown up playing baseball and was fairly good and just know that if I had left handed clubs I could beat these guys. My dad stopped at the local golf store the next day and bought me my first set and I got after it. I was addicted from that day on. My grandfather had a great influence on me as well. He was an avid player and I just loved walking 9 holes in the evening at our local muni with him.
My dad really helped me decide to become a Golf Professional. He always steered me to do something for a living that I loved. He would say you have 2 options. Do what you love to do and learn to make a living doing it or eventually you will have to learn to love whatever it is that you end up doing for a living. Golf just made sense.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
There are so many ways. I think because I want to stay competitive myself, I’m always researching ways to improve with my own game. That translates into a lot of teaching knowledge. Honestly I read a lot, watch Golf Channel, You Tube, everything. I love learning about this game.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
Two trends that will be interesting to watch is what the future of golf looks like and what the USGA and the RA are going to do to limit the the performance of the golf equipment. I think the future of our sport is bright. Recently our club has been extremely busy with round rounds up around 15% over last year. Practically every category of the business is booming. Equipment sales, lessons, club fittings, and memberships are at all time highs. We have some really colorful personalities on the professional tours along with great media exposure selling golf. Golf is fun and cool and its trickling down to the kids. The interest for golf among kids is really growing in our area and I cant wait to see how popular our sport is in the coming years. Next is what if anything are the governing bodies going to do to regulate the performance of equipment. I’m not in favor of bifurcation by ay means. I think there needs to be design limits on performance for the best players but somehow let the club and ball designers find ways to make golf easier for the beginner and intermediate level players. There has to be ways to help them without providing too much advantage for the top level players.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I really enjoy the teaching part of my profession. I work with all different types of players from beginners to aspiring tour players. I will never turn someone away based on their ability or lack there of. I don’t necessarily specialize in any one facet but I really enjoy teaching putting. When someone asks for help with their putting I get excited. Finally, this person gets it and is serious about getting better. It’s unreal how many good players really don’t have an understanding of good putting technique. Once players start rolling the ball end over end consistently the game gets fun.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
Passion for the game and a willingness to serve people. I take both of those obligations very seriously and try to remind myself every day that’s why I do what I do as a Golf Professional.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Both my kids are really into golf. I have a 12 year old daughter and a 9 year old son and they are both in love with the game. They are driven to improve every day and I cant wait to see where the game takes them. They are starting to play competitively and I am on the edge of me seat over every shot. Now if I can somehow get my wife to learn to at least like the game, things will be good. That might take some magic.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
I had a special needs kid in one our Jr. Golf Camps a few years ago. He was having a bad day and was affecting the other kids in the camp. The grandfather that dropped him off is a good friend of mine and had high hopes that golf was going to be a new horizon for the kid and bring him some joy to what is surely going to be a challenging road ahead. I had to call to have him picked up on Day 1 of the camp. I felt helpless, there was nothing I could do to calm the kid down and just get through the day.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I do play a good deal of competitive golf, but no, I’m not that guy. I just like to go about my business on the course and let the performances speak for themselves. This is a very fickle game. I’ve always thought when your mouth opens the hole gets smaller. 4.25 ” is small enough.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
Winning the 2013 PGA of America National Championship at Oregon in SunRiver Resort is definitely a highlight. My wife and kids were all with me as well as my Dad and Stepmom. He had just retired and was on a nationwide RV vacation. As a dad, I look forward to the days of seeing my kids succeed and seeing their dreams come true.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
You better love Golf and love people just as much. If you don’t have both of those qualities then do yourself a favor and pursue something else.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
With all tis crazy stuff going on in the world isn’t it great to escape it all and play golf.