Thomas Fischer - Las Vegas Paiute Resort
I am a 36 yr. PGA member, currently working at Las Vegas Paiute Resort for the last 11 years. We are a 54 hole facility with 2 large practice ranges catering to resort and local play. My title is Director of Golf but my main duties are full-time instructor and retail shop manager. I have been teaching for 36 years and competing for 55 years.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I was 8 years old when I started….I kind of always knew I would be a golf pro, but back then I thought I would be on tour. I had early success as a junior, won the state of Florida title, finished 11th individual in the NJCAA and then played D1 college golf……once I realized I was close, but not tour caliber, I made the pivot into the golf business and have never looked back. I realized that I have the best of both worlds……I have a regular, steady paycheck and I still get to compete at the professional level.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
Having been teaching for 38 years, my style and approach is pretty well set. However, I am always looking for new ways of communicating and am open to new and different ways of thinking. I watch videos and interact with other professionals in seminars and forums, I read professional publications and study teaching manuals. Being a player as well, I can sift through what I know will work long term and what is a short term fix.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
Top-Golf type facilities that bring lots of new players to the game and embracing shorter courses and courses less than 18 holes.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I was never a long hitter and always made up for it with my short game. Chipping and pitching are what I enjoy the most and I love diving into the details of a good short game.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I still compete at a high level. Lots of pros don’t know the feeling of sleeping on a one shot lead or standing over a five footer to win a tournament. My competitive experience as well as my knowledge of the game allow me to add that extra layer of understanding of what my student feels on the course.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Retirement, which for a golf pro simply means teaching on my own terms and traveling and playing a lot of golf!
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
I had a guy with terrible shanks. There is always a mechanical, technical reason for why shots happen, but some bad shots get deeper into a players psyche.
We overcame it with both of us being patient and sticking to the plan that we knew would bring him back to square position.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
Yes, I still play competitive golf and have for 54 years. I have been the Senior player of the year in my Chapter for 8 of the last 13 years since I turned 50.
But I am most proud of recently shooting 63 at the ripe old age of 63.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
A few….I won the State of Florida Junior Championship when I was 17 in 1975…….. ……..I qualified for the National PGA Senior Championship in 2013
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
You better really love the game if you intend to get in this business……it’s more about promoting the game and helping people. Getting to play cool places from time to time is a bonus!
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Golf is hard…..you can’t learn it properly on Youtube…….go see your local PGA teacher and learn it the right way……you’ll be happier in the long run.