A Love for the Game: PGA Professionals Discuss How to Succeed in the Ever-Changing Golf Industry

This week in Orlando, the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show brings about a hustle and bustle that happens very rarely. With thousands of PGA Professionals, exhibitors and other golf industry attendees walking the packed aisles of the PGA Show floor, it’s pretty obvious how massive and vibrant the golf word is, right?

That’s why, as PGA Professionals, it’s even more important to stand out, distinguish yourself as a leader in golf and business and be ready for any challenge that lies ahead. How do PGA Professionals truly make themselves distinct among the rest?

It was an interesting topic that anchored Thursday’s “Callaway & PGA Career Services – Succeeding as a PGA Professional” presentation on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA. The panel discussion was moderated by PGA Career Services Senior Director Scott Kmiec and featured five PGA Professionals, each with their own story, successes and wealth of knowledge that impressed those in attendance.

“It’s important to take a vested interest in your career as PGA Professional, because otherwise, you’ll get left behind,” said Kmiec. “Think about it this way: How can you separate yourself from the rest of the playing field? That’s how you’ll find success.”

The panel of PGA Professionals included Patrick White, PGA Head Professional at Woodland Country Club in Carmel, Indiana; Kyle Cramer, PGA Head Professional at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky; Dr. Alison Curdt, the PGA Director of Instruction at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, California; Nick Muller, the PGA Director of Golf at Country Club of Lincoln (Nebraska); and Todd Smith, a PGA Career Consultant who serves both the Indiana and Michigan PGA Sections.

When asked how he stood out in Valhalla’s PGA Head Professional interview process, Cramer boiled it down to two things.

“First, I had a direct relationship to utilize between my mentor Tony Pancake and Valhalla,” recalled Cramer. “Tony was the PGA Head Professional there for a bit, so having that direct connection and reference really helped.

“And then No. 2, I used a leadership coach and the Birkman Method assessment to find out how I could be a better leader. That’s an important quality to have as a PGA Head Professional who will lead a big staff.”

Curdt found that investing in different types of education was a gamechanger for her as a coach.

“The more you learn, the more you realize you didn’t know something about a certain subject,” said Curdt, who is a dual PGA/LPGA Master Professional – a title only two women in the entire country hold. “For me, I have to be smarter than my students, so educating myself, whether it be through watching YouTube videos, taking seminars, becoming certified, whatever it is, has to relate back to making me a better PGA Professional.”