Have you had a mentor to help with your journey as a golf professional? In what ways were they able to impact your career?
I believe training under mentors is critical to success in most any field, especially golf instruction and coaching. I have been beyond lucky to have two high-profile and extremely successful golf teachers mentor me from an early age.
I started teaching golf under the Jim McLean Golf School umbrella, naturally, Jim became a great mentor and still is today. He has instilled in me the value of being prepared and the passion of studying the great players and a variety of swing techniques.
Next I was able to teach golf for Rick Smith at his Academies and eventually became his personal assistant at PGA Tour events and for his personal golf schools and corporate clinics. Rick mentored me in getting the most out of our students mentally and emotionally. Rick also helped me grow my own confidence as a coach and person.
Before those two major influences I had two other equally important golf and life mentors, my high school golf coach, Mr. Cute, who made it obvious to me that golf was going to be my career and provided me the opportunity to excel as a player.
Finally, one of my early Head Professional bosses was Steve Napoli, Steve always tells me the tough answer even if it’s not what I want to hear, he demonstrated a full commitment to the industry, his club members, and his staff.
Find mentors that will help you grow in all aspects and don’t be too proud to take their advice.
Fiddlesticks Country Club, Fort Myers, FL
Mentors Are A Must
I have had a few mentors at various stages of my career as a PGA Professional.
My very first mentor was Bob Jones/PGA Professional at Minerva Lake Golf Club. He inspired me to become a PGA Professional. He made this profession look fun!
My next set of mentors were Brian Larson, Rocky Miller and JR Ables. These guys took me on and shaped me as a very young professional.
I have also been mentored by Jim Flick/Mike Malaska and Jimmy Ballard. You might say that I have come full circle on my views/philosophies of the golf swing.
My greatest mentor as a PGA Professional has been Larry Dornisch, Director of Golf, Muirfield Village Golf Club. Larry has been the best mentor as he has always been very honest and straight forward with me in my career. Larry is the VERY BEST in the business of golf and being a PGA Professional.
My advice to any young professionals coming through the ranks would be to seek out the very best professionals and work for them even if they are not easy to work for at times. You want people that will be honest with you and challenge you to become your very best…not just people that will tell you what you want to hear or agree with you all of the time. These mentors will become your support/networking system as nobody can do this journey alone.
Ohio State Athletics, Columbus, OH
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I have been very fortunate in my career to have a few great mentors.
Two of my earliest were Mitch Joannes and Don Hill, both PGA Members. They worked at two completely different clubs but treated everyone like they were their friend and not a member or a customer. I also watched how well they talked to the “kids” that were there in the Junior Programs and how they showed tremendous care for us. It made my decision very easy on becoming a PGA Member.
Since getting into the PGA I have had a few others that have been great leaders and even better friends of mine. They are Rob Muranyi, Bill Graham, Paul LoCicero and Jim Richerson, they have shown me that anything is possible if you strive for it. I try to do my best everyday to be a mentor for all.
Rob Elliott Golf Academy, Pewaukee, WI
“Mentors - Necessary For Sure”
No one ever reached the promised land in their career without help along the way, much like an athlete striving for the Olympics.
Craig Shankland was my first boss in the golf business, taught me how to dress, conduct myself, and to present myself in a professional manner.
Ken Venturi taught me the game of golf and all it’s intricacies.
Jim McLean confirmed the importance of continually improving your professional knowledge.
George Fazio taught me the management of the course and how to shoot a score.
And last, but not least, Ken Langone of Home Depot, showed me life’s lessons along the way. I’ve been most fortunate!
Abacoa Golf Club, Jupiter, FL
Mentorship is the ideal relationship for any Golf Professional
I have no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today in the golf industry without a mentor. In my case, I have been fortunate to have had many. My Dad, Justin, taught me everything I know about the golf swing from an early age, along with never-ending faith in me to get to where I want to go in the golf industry. Others include past Golf Professionals at golf courses/companies I have worked at (Stephen Tieck, Marc Solomon, Tony Lake, Scott Warren), and for that I am always going to be thankful and will try my best to pay it forward.
Pinehaven Country Club,
Info about past greats was invaluable.
I actually had 3 mentors; all had been involved with great players. Their insights into what made those great players tick and how they( Ken Venturi, Patty Sheehan were 2 of the players) acquired their skills was incredibly insightful. The knowledge I gained was very helpful later when working with exceptionally talented players. I consider myself very lucky to have had access to that knowledge.
Hidden Valley Country Club, Reno, NV
Father as a Mentor
A life member of the PGA, my father introduced me to the game of golf at the age of six. I was hooked! As I got older, I worked for my dad at the club. After college, I began teaching golf professionally and enjoying rounds of golf with my father. I have taught each one of my three children how to play golf and they love it. It is just one of the many sports that my kids play. My advice is to introduce your friends and family to this great game and do everything you can to make it fun for them!
The Country Club of Virginia, Richmond, VA
Pay attention and Listen !
I have been a golf professional for 33 years. I feel the success I might have had is from listening and learning from experienced pros that I’ve met or heard speak. Our PGA section has an amazing amount of superb golf professionals that one can learn from. Whether it be in regards to teaching , tournament management , merchandising , or facing challenges day to day at your course learning from these experienced pros has been worth every seminar and education program I attended.
Vassar Golf Course,
As a second career golf professional, I was never looking for a mentor, but I learned many things from many mentors in the teaching arena. There is so much knowledge out there, including books and articles as well as the many YouTube videos. The key is interpreting that knowledge in a way that can help your student. I could list many that have helped me but would be afraid to miss many others so I won’t name any.
Oak Brook Golf Club , Oak Brook, IL
My mentors were Rick McCord and Dick Farley.
They were both amazing at letting me try new things and learn on the fly. They never over managed me and let me learn by failing sometimes. This was the best way for me to learn!
Bobby Jones Golf Course, Atlanta, GA
It takes a Village
Golf is such a wonderful sport as I feel I’ve had so many different mentors along the way. Father, coaches, pros, fellow competitors, teammates and bosses have all shaped both my career as a player, coach, and professional. My father and coaches shared their passion for the game and my improvement and success. My PGA Professional bosses were always teaching. My boss as an assistant however, probably was the most influential as he was always learning no matter how long he had been in the business.
I’ve tried to continue to learn and grow even after 30 years as a pro and 45 years in the game!
Golf Galaxy, Davenport, Iowa
I’ve had two main mentors in golf Kevin Smeltz and Sean Foley
Two very intelligent mentors with very different styles. Kevin is way more laid back and understated. Foley is more flashy and telling life lessons while instructing. Both have taught major champions and have been very successful instructors.
Nick Duffy Golf, Winter Garden, FL
From Tour Stars to Driving Range Pro's....
My golf career has been impacted by many…Very grateful to see and learn from all of them…For playing: Tom Kite and Corey Pavin: You don’t have to be BIG to have a big bank account!…On the instruction side: Harvey Pinick: Keep it simple…On the business side: Just act with Integrity and common sense: No names needed…The PGA of America has been a great role model…
Eagle Ridge Golf Course, Gilroy, CA
My PGA mentor is my brother Seth Henrich
He is the current PGA GM of Rio Mar Golf Club in Puerto Rico. Seth is the best at what he does. He is my idol and role model.
Santa Maria golf club, Rio Hato, IA
I Stole A Lot From Greats!
What a great question! My journey covers 50 years in this great game. I had the great joy of working for true legends in our great business. Some were great teachers and some were just great folks that you just hung on every word they said. The honest answer is I took a little bit of everyone I worked for and learned from in my early years in the business. It seems to easy to say but I think that is what all good teachers do, and I think that is what many good leaders do in life. Thanks Guys!
Mattawang Golf Club, Belle Mead, NJ
Everyone should have one
My mentor is Mr. Dave Carazo, he was the Head Pro at The Tuxedo Club and now works for Met PGA Section office. When I started working there as a caddy then later moved into the bagroom. With his time and efforts though golf lessons I was able to play well in golf tournaments and eventually becoming a member of the PGA. He always had time for everyone wether in the New York area or in Florida. A pro’s pro everyone should know him
Golf Galaxy, East Hanover, NJ
A pro from my past
As an assistant professional at Chester River Y&CC, in Maryland, My Head Professional was Mike Versuk PGA. Mike was the best all around professional I have ever met. He was a great player and instructor. He also ran excellent tournaments and kept a really updated pro shop. He taught me that if I was only good at one aspect of being a PGA professional-it would really narrow the chances at improving my own personal opportunities. With the career & PGA section I am in now, makes me miss that direct support I received from him as a fellow PGA professional. I have told him in the past how much I appreciate him as my mentor and I never miss a chance to say it again.
Big Sticks Golf Academy, Burlington, MA
My mentor was Stan Thirsk
Stan was the epitome of a golf professional. He helped me with my golf game, my career, and personal growth. Stan was a good man.
Rob Sedorcek Golf Instruction, Saint Louis, MO
I really believe I learned the most by just watching and observing how they applied their craft and knowledge to their students
Once I decided to become a PGA Professional I new that I wanted to be on the Teaching side of the business.
My Instructor, who was a PGA Section Teacher of the Year, Was very gracious in helping me learn how to Teach and break down video.
Through the years I have been blessed to Teach with and/or along side some of the best Instructors in our Section as well as a PGA National Teacher of the year and some top 100 Instructors.
They were all very generous with their time and expertise. I really believe I learned the most by just watching and observing how they applied their craft and knowledge to their students.
I truly believe that my experiences with these other Instructors has truly helped me with my knowledge of Teaching/Coaching and the success I have had so far in my career.
Five Ponds Golf Club | Flagler Golf Academy, Warminster, PA
Mentoring isn’t a lost art…
I have many and will always have many mentors. Even in the internet era, where every answer can be found with a simple search, there is still no better way to learn the ropes than from a mentor who has been there before you. I recommend you always have people around you that can help guide and shape and advise you along your path.
Dove Canyon Golf Club, Dove Canyon, CA