Graeme van der Nest – The Pro Shop PE & The Golf Shop at PE Golf Club

Owner of the Pro Shop PE (franchise) & also owner of the golf shop at the PE Golf Club

@TPSPortElizabeth
What led you to becoming a PGA Professional?

 

I came through the JNR Golf Foundation, representing SA for 3 years in a row and then moved on to playing for 3 different provinces at senior interprovincial golf level. I always wanted to be a Pro golfer and my reality came true when I turned Professional in 1994. I played on the South African, South American and European Challenge tours until 2001 – having a victory here on the main tour in SA and also accomplished many smaller mini-tour victories. Post playing, I then took up the challenge of becoming a PGA professional in 2003. My first position was at the Humewood Golf Club in Port Elizabeth, where I qualified as a full PGA Professional. This journey has been an amazing experience as there is truly something very special to give back to the game that has benefitted me in so many ways.

 

How long have you been in your current position?

 

11years

 

What does your job entail?

 

I manage both businesses – staff, marketing, finance and purchasing.  My main strength is activation – so I like to look for opportunities for growth as well as collaborations where there is a win-win outcome for all parties. I’ve also been involved with a US based Tour Operator – Premier Africa – for the past 19years, and my position is as senior tour host and I also do sales and promotions for them both telephonically from South Africa, but also in person when visiting the USA. I’ve been responsible for bringing countless high-end golfers in to Southern Africa, East Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand. This is an incredibly rewarding job as I work with so many PGA professionals, at so many of our incredible venues.

 

Do you have any environmental or sustainability goals that you have met and would like to share?

 

None, besides being acutely aware of excess waste and ensuring that we utilize all renewable goods – especially in our workshops
Please give us a brief outline of the path you took to lead you to your current position

 

Please refer to point #1 above, but to follow on from that..

 

I was the Head PGA Professional at the Humewood Golf Club for 10 years, where I owned the shop and manged the range. I was the head mentor coach for the golf development board’s coaches for my time there and was responsible for growing the membership of the club as well. I then approached the Golfers Club to open their first Franchise store in SA, which we opened in 2009. I sold my shop at Humewood to focus on the franchise and shortly thereafter opened a second shop at Wedgewood Golf and Country Estate.  After 5 years of being a successful Golfers Club, we re-branded the shop as a Pro Shop. 2020 brought on many challenges and opportunities as well. One opportunity was given to us from the PE Golf Club, where we have been offered the shop. We are now trading there with a fellow PGA Professional Francois Taljaard heading this new venue up for us.

Why do you feel that you would be a good candidate to win this award?

 

For many years, I’ve owned the most successful golf retail franchise in South Africa and have been fortunate to also be involved with a few on-course shops. I’m committed to delivering a wonderful retail experience for all golfers and this equates to them playing better and wanting to play more. I’m a committed and proud PGA member and see myself and our shops as opportunities for fellow PGA members as well as committed golfers to collaborate with, or as a learning ground/stepping stone into various areas of this game that we so enjoy. I’ve had many PGA Pro’s who came through my ranks and I feel I’ve been responsible in growing our game here in the Eastern Cape! Golf development has been a huge focus of mine and will continue to be so, as I work closely with the EPGU on this matter. The golf travel industry is a passion of mine and I’m a proud promoter of our venues here in Southern Africa. I have still loads to accomplish in our industry and I’m fully aware that this would not be possible without the people and PGA Professionals with whom I surround myself with.