GOLF TEACHING PRO®
USGTF Contributing Writer
an age where economics changes faster than runway models, it’s no
wonder more and more people are getting prepared to jump ship when
“the writing is on the wall” in their chosen professions. Because
of today’s financial and job place instability, it has become necessary
– and smart - for many people to get alternative training or add
a second part-time career to make ends meet. Or, for many people
a part-time job is necessary to cover lost investments or fill up
time during retirement. Most USGTF Professionals end up teaching
full-time, but some are finding out that teaching the game on a
less than full-time basis is also an option. Enter the part-time
pro: a career choice that is gaining momentum for the first time
ever in the history of golf, since the advent of the USGTF.
popularity and sheer number of people entering – or existing – in
a part-time golf teaching role speaks volumes about both the current
trends within the work force and a sport that obviously lends itself
well to part-time employment.
course, in many regions there is no other option but to take on
a part-time position. Basically anyone living in the northern half
of the continent is up against a tough opponent in Mother Nature.
For as long as the game has been played, Mother Nature has always
won the battle when winter rears its head.
the year I’m a golf pro and the other half I’m a computer tech,”
cites Darren Gallagher, a teaching pro at a club in Calgary, Alberta.
His driving range is open for a mere six months per year, forcing
the four instructors who work there to seek employment elsewhere
when the snow starts flying. “There aren’t too many full-time, year-round
positions out there for golf instructors - especially up here. Having
a second career is the only way I can afford the pizza and beer.”
nearly every region, the most popular time of day to teach is late
afternoon and early evening, opening up numerous opportunities in
the morning and early afternoon hours. “I used to play golf almost
every morning,” says James Kirby, a Senior Instructor at a course
in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and a four-year member of the USGTF.
“But now, with a young family, I need to spend more time looking
at ways to pay the bills. If the teaching isn’t there, well, I’ve
got to look at other options. Plus, doing a few other things unrelated
to golf helps me stay keen and fresh as an instructor. I think teaching
part-time is actually a great way to do it,” finishes Kirby.
Bayne, a full-time computer graphics consultant and part-time teaching
professional also takes advantage of the public’s demand for after-work
instruction. “At four o’clock I’m usually a free man, which means
I can head over to the driving range and get in a couple hours of
teaching before I call it quits for the day. From four to six almost
everyone is available for instruction. So, for anyone who works
normal working hours, a second job as a golf instructor can work
for many teaching professionals, they have noticed that even with
a downturn in the economy, people are still taking golf lessons.
“My teaching revenue has actually increased,” says Dave Brunette,
an instructor in British Columbia, Canada. “I’ve thought about the
reason for this and have concluded that even when the economy is
sluggish, people want to hold on to what makes them feel good.”
An interesting observation for people entering the teaching industry.
fact, teaching golf has often been tagged “The Profession of a Lifetime”
appropriately named perhaps for the above reason. Many are entering
the golf instruction biz on a part-time basis because their current
non-golf related careers just aren’t cutting it…for whatever reason.
Nelson, an employee in the hospitality business, is one such person.
“I’ve always had a passion for golf,” says the 38-year old two-handicapper.
“When I started to lose hours at the hotel, I immediately decided
to pursue part-time employment at a local driving range. I’ll be
joining the USGTF within the year and it seems to be the perfect
way to supplement my other career, which doesn’t look too promising
right now. Plus, this is a great way to get more involved in the
game I love.”
the greatest increase in part-time instructors is found within the
over 50 group. With many of the baby-boomers well into retirement
– and nursing the wounds from a war-torn market place – a common
trend seems to revolve around making back a few greenbacks that
have been lost in weathered and weary portfolios. “My wife and I
are doing much better than a few others I know,” says Timothy McKewan,
a teaching professional who recently went back to work on a part-time
basis. “I don’t think many people expected the kind of losses that
we’re seeing in most of the markets. Of course, the losses have
brought more than just golf pros back into the work force.”
of the unique dynamics that you face in your work place, chances
are a first, second, or third career as a part-time golf teaching
professional might just be a viable option for you. Or, it might
be the only option. Thankfully, life as a part-time teaching professional
can be every bit as rewarding – and you can still make time to knock
down flags in the morning!
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