May 8, 2015

Kurt Thompson: Emphasize Professional Development Within Your Operation

Kurt-ThompsonKurt Thompson is the PGA director of golf at Linville Ridge Country Club in Linville, North Carolina.

Kurt Thompson on the importance of emphasizing professional development within your operation:
Being a part of our Linville Ridge staff means that you are challenged every day to grow as a golf professional instead of just going through the motions. To us, growing means setting individual career goals, having a short and long-term plan for advancement, being balanced in your expertise of the golf industry, and always knowing where to find the answer to any question being thrown at you. A great example of how we focus on professional development is with instruction: Every month, our staff meets on the practice range to watch a golfer swing while we discuss teaching philosophy. We have more than 50 years of teaching experience between our professionals, and this is a vital opportunity to hear four other ideas on how each instructor would communicate differently with the student. Another instance of emphasizing professional growth is within member and guest relations. We recently had a member ship his clubs and a guest’s clubs from Florida up to Linville Ridge, and we found a few golf shirts and shoes thrown in the bag. As a staff, we created a locker with a name plate for the guest, steamed the shirts, cleaned the shoes and put everything back neatly in his new locker. While the service enhances the experience of that guest, it’s all about how the staff is taught to immediately go above and beyond anyone’s expectations. The staff has learned to walk the members’ experience to look for anything that could be out of place, around the practice facility and surrounding grounds. Perception is reality in our line of work, and every member of our staff has a goal to be irreplaceable.

Kurt Thompson on the business impact of emphasizing professional development within your operation:
There isn’t a dollar amount you can put on culture, but the overall success of our staff promotes the game of golf and the experience that is shared while at the club. Another huge impact is mentoring PGA Professionals and watching them obtain their goals and develop into not only great golf professionals but great human beings. Our motto as a staff is we have no way of knowing when it will be a guest’s last time at our club and we want them leaving with the best experience and memories possible.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email kthompson@pga.com