Fact: This is a hard business…and there will be hard, long and sometimes difficult days with a career in golf. It’s your passion, your purpose that will “power you through” on the tougher days.

“If you don’t design your life (career) plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

 Building a career is a continual process, it is not something that starts when you’re in your 20’s and ends once you’ve climbed a few steps or many steps “up the ladder.” Many of our PGA peers have come to be golf professionals in a “second career” or similar.

Even though you may be in your 40’s or 50’s, there is still opportunity to “build your career” (or at least expand the impact you’re making with it.) A good mentor of mine, Ron Hunt once shared this with me and I believe it applies here. He said, “It’s a sad and terrible thing to realize that, after climbing up part of the corporate ladder, your ladder is on the wrong wall.” I agree with this, as the understanding from it is this: If your ladder is on the wrong wall, you have to stay there or you have to move it. How do you move it without first getting off the ladder? Getting off the ladder is most often very difficult due to tangible and intangible factors.

If you’re still in the early stages of your career, this question of “having your ladder on the right wall” really matters. At this point, you can make career path choices about which of the three PGA career paths you want to take:

If you’re in the middle of your career, you’re still not stuck if you are willing to make the right decisions based on your professional why (what you’re passionate about) and your purpose (the reason you want to get out of bed in the morning, and why anyone else would care if you don’t get out of bed). The questions are:

  • Do you know what Your Why is? Do you know what you’re passionate about?
    • If you don’t know, ask yourself these questions:
      • What activities or work do you do that you feel “recharged” by? (Even when you’re tired?)
      • What activities or work do you do that seem to come innately to you?
      • Do you truly feel fulfilled by creating and executing an exceptional golf event? Or designing and building a beautiful golf shop retail experience?
      • Do you truly feel great fulfillment when you help a golfer “flush a 7-iron” for the first time? Does helping someone learn how to hit a bunker shot well or some other recovery shot inspire you?
      • Do you enjoy the challenge of strategic decision making, leading and developing others, or developing leaders? Do you enjoy managing big projects, resources and similar?
      • Based on your answers above, your gut reactions to these questions, you can see where your passion is. No particular answer is right either. This is the beauty of it too. The answers that are right for you, will be right. Period. It is how you are wired, how you’re designed.
    • If you do know, what then? How can you make your passion your purpose? (Go to the next question.)
  • Do you know what your Noble Cause (your purpose) is?
    • If you don’t know, consider these concepts:
      • Once you know Your Why, look at it as Your True North. Like a compass, it will help you make small and big decisions that affect your steps on your career path.
      • Look back at your answers to the previous section of questions. Where did you feel like you “lit up” and where did you feel you did the opposite?
      • Once you know your passion, that is the time to work with one of your trusted mentors/friends or with a PGA Career Consultant (like me) to help you find the opportunity (or create one) that you can use your passion to work daily on toward your purpose.
    • There really is no stock answer that works here, it’s like custom fitting a set of irons. It fits them, not everyone else. If you work with me, I will help you discover Your Why (passion). Based on what inspires and recharges you, what your innate talents are, I am betting we can help you see “where the right dirt is for you.” If we can discover that, you can then make decisions about your career that will help you end up in that particular “dirt” or you can find ways to “create your own dirt.” Even if it takes a few months or years to get to that “perfect dirt,” you’ll be encouraged and inspired as you make your way there. In the process, you’ll have a chance to grow, to flourish and produce results (like a healthy plant produces good fruit). Good fruit is another word for value. Value to your customers/members, value to your employer through topline revenue and customer engagement. That value then translates into good results like better compensation, more job stability and more. (And that is my why for helping you with your career.)

In closing this article on Part 1 of 9 on the “Building Block of Your Career,” I would like to have you consider this advice: “Follow Your Why…It knows the Way.”

Based on your passion and your purpose, what is your True North? Are you in “the right dirt” already? Or are you tracking today toward the right dirt where you can flourish as you hoped for when you started your career path? If yes, help someone else discover their passion and purpose this coming year. If not, let’s connect to work on how you can discover or rediscover your passion and your purpose so you can get more out of your career, and have less of a job in the future. You only get one career, so make it count.


Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant
PGA Career Services | PGA of America
Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections

Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com Cell: 206/335-5260

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