Divergent” is a popular movie that came out in 2014, set in a dystopian future divided into different factions based on virtues. This article will be using “divergent” in a different way. “Divergent” is defined as “moving or extending in different directions from a common point”. This came to mind as I heard more and more employers talk about the skills sets they are seeking in qualified candidates for their head professional positions.

When asked which skills are most important in head professional candidates, employers typically mention the following: marketing and promotion, business development, business and financial acumen, staff leadership and training plus player development and activities programming. When the same question is asked of a member or regular golfer at a golf club, the answer is quite different: they want a “pro” who can teach as well as play, knows club-fitting and equipment trends, knows the rules and how to run their tournament or league, can get their kids or spouse interested in golf, and who takes an interest in them and their game.

Two common areas appreciated by both employers and golfers are personality and verbal communication skills. But for the most part, while both employers and golfers look at us as their “pro”, from that point their wants and needs diverge into different directions.

This points out a major challenge in our profession – finding ways to keep both our employer and our golfers happy – not an easy task when they are seeking different things. Finding the balance in where to focus your time and energy may be one of the most difficult parts of this challenge. One minute, you are developing marketing and membership programs to pull in more business and members; then you turn around and are teaching a “Get Golf Ready” class to a group of housewife friends. Next you are working with your website developer to update your club’s website; then you are fitting a golfer for a new Titleist driver using Flightscope. You have a meeting with your GM, F & B manager and greens superintendent discussing next month’s activities; then you are settling a bet between two club members making a ruling about if a ball was dropped properly that went into a hazard.

Just as in the movie, in a world where people are divided into distinct groups, each of us needs to understand that we serve two masters. As “divergent” as their directions may be for us, one is not more important than the other. We must be willing and able to meet the needs of each in the best way possible. Recognizing that they are equally important and essential to our success is the first step to realizing our full potential in this business.

Good luck to all as winter transitions to spring and the 2016 season begins.


Contact Carol Pence by calling (510) 706-1583 or via e-mail at CPence@pgahq.com.