Archive: December, 2012

PGA of Alberta Development Series – Round Table

Last week I attended a PGA of Alberta Round Table, as part of our ongoing education initiatives. Here is the list of topics that were discussed.

1. Roadmap – Each member has the opportunity to complete a Roadmap Skills Assessment. This is an extensive list and description of all the skills needed to succeed in the golf industry. They are broken down into three categories; Entry Level, Responsibility and Leadership. Responsibility and Leadership require approval from your supervising PGA of Canada member, and the PGA of Alberta head office. I was VERY surprised to hear that only 10% of members have completed this assessment.

2. Careers – Discussions around the seasonal aspect of many of the job postings, and the difficulty with low pay scales. Some solutions are to encourage HP’s and managerial personnel at golf facilities to utilize staff longer into the winter season. Some concepts are being used by many courses and include; winter golf lessons, junior open houses, Christmas sales events and various other concepts unique to each facility.

3. Staffing – Motivating and retaining quality staff. Wayne Fairbairn, Head Professional at The Elks Club and Lodge, provided the most insight here, and hopefully his practices will be copied by many shops around Alberta. Motivation comes from empowering the staff and giving them ownership and accountability over the entire golf course operation.

4. Membership – This topic wasn’t discussed that much, as it was covered a lot with the Roadmap and Staffing discussions. We lose members every year to various other industries for many reasons.

5. Tournaments – A brief discussion on some scheduling and operations issues with the tournaments and I’m sure the PGA of Alberta will be able to integrate into 2013’s tournament plans.

6. Awards – Some issues were brought up, and some were quickly dismissed by the PGA of Alberta, and for good reason. Any member can nominate any member, and then the nominee must fill out a detailed application form. It seems to me that the PGA of Alberta has made great strides in this area and will continue to improve the process.


The topics were more about the Association and our membership than I expected. I’m not sure what I expected. The biggest single value in the room was hearing from the established Head Professionals discuss the successes and failures at their club. Each facility has its unique set of strengths and challenges, and the more we share information the better. I will gladly attend all future Round Tables and encourage all members to attend at least one per year. Thanks to Phil Berube, Tom Greiner, Wayne Fairbairn and Jeremy Tanner for moderating and guiding our discussions.

Some topics I’d like to see in future round tables are;

1. Buying Show – any issues, successes or failures?
2. Pace of Play – for our tournaments and member events. Are there any other successful formats that courses have implemented?
3. Social Media – includes email newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and Groupon initiatives
4. Membership – should there be more options for the 18-25 year old demographic to purchase yearly memberships at private clubs? Can the PGA of Alberta assist with this?

***Added topic by Ryan Sommerfeld @summysummy***

5. Formation of a PGA of Alberta or PGA of Canada Buying Group to work with manufacturers, reps and vendors to improve retail operations.

First person to suggest a table topic that I bring up at the next round table will receive a free bucket at the Golf Canada Centre and a sleeve of ProV1’s.