Pandemic PGA Professional by Dearbhla Behan Published in Tee to Green Magazine Pre Lockdown 2.0
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
And with the flick of a switch, on March 25th 2020 the lights went out in Proshops all around the country, as to when they would be turned back on was anyone’s guess.
March for many PGA Pros is the start of the golfing season. The Captains tee it up for the Drive in and away we go. The winter stock now sits on a sale rail and the Spring / Summer product is fresh of the delivery van, out of the plastic and hanging proudly on display. But this wasn’t the case for 2020. Coming out of a tough winter and looking forward to what the summer months would bring, a closed shop was not ideal for any business owner. As the courses remained empty, the timesheets bare, and the lesson diaries now radiating with red pen as another line was drawn through a days bookings, PGA Pros all around the country began to ask What should a Pandemic PGA Pro do?
For many Pros it became a time to upskill. Numerous online tutorials where available and provided by the PGA in order to keep Pros occupied. Other PGA Pros took the opportunity to move there business online and provide online demonstrations and training videos. Some took the time to become school teachers with young kids at home and to apricate the little things that PGA Pro doesn’t always get to appreciate. The year-round early mornings and late evenings that can intrude on family life, along with the continuous demand of owning your business now seemed a lifetime ago as we entered week four of the lockdown.
But behind all the Facebook and Instagram posts and videos, Pros where in constant talks with companies, who regardless of the Pandemic, still needed to be paid. Most golf companies furloughed staff, and with the ever-changing Pandemic stopping production of golf clubs, accessories and clothing, what would a reopening look like. Order times would soon go from 1 week to 2 weeks to 2 months. Custom fits nearly impossible, basics of the Proshop now impossible to get and yet all the while your Pro would welcome you back with a smile on their face with the relief of being back open.
The Pros role now reduced to a check in clerk, taking names and numbers for contract tracing and promoting social distancing around the club. Investing time in developing protocols for their shops and investing money in PPE and screens all to ensure a safe return. The three years spent with the University of Bermingham becoming a PGA Professional could not have prepared any of us for a Pandemic however what it did provide us with is a very specific skill set that enables each and everyone of us to rebuild our business, rebuild our livelihoods and grow the game of golf in Ireland post Pandemic. Proshops will remain open, stocked and competing for your business as we head into what we can only hope will be a kind winter. If your club is fortunate enough to have a PGA Professional please support their business this season or it may be their last.