William Guy- Head PGA Professional

Absolute Golf, Pro Shop, Somerset West GC

What led you to becoming a PGA Professional?

 

Going back in time to when I took up the game. I always had clubs as a kid but no interest in playing properly until my dad, who played to a 6 at his best, sat me down one night and explained the bigger picture of golf. Character building, manners, respect, discipline, relationship building, etc, etc. This was in the bush, in equatorial West Africa, Liberia, my father worked for an iron ore mining company. I was 9 years old, and after my dad’s story I started playing on the 9 hole course carved out of the bush. This was in 1976. The club showed The Masters on a projector one evening, and that was my introduction to Professional golf, and I remember then, dreaming that I wanted it! By 11 years old, I was playing off 7 and I had my first golf lesson then from a PGA Professional, John Wilson, who was hired by the club for 3 months to coach there. I wanted to know everything from him! The shaping of shots and spinning the ball, how clubs were made and fixed and how to train physically for the game. I learned a lot, but in those days, they did not know much about (what we know now) fitness for golf. So, although I learned a lot, I was sure there was more! And so my thirst for knowledge and understanding began. I wanted to become a competent teacher and help others how to play golf. I think, because I did not get all the answers I wanted, when I was learning, that I would find out, so I could help others. In my mid to late teens, after finishing school, I knew that I wanted to become a PGA Apprentice. September 1984 I started working in a pro shop in Scotland, Bothwell Castle GC. I thought that learning everything about the swing was my main goal, but I developed a passion for repairing, refurbishing and building clubs. So I learned all about the equipment too. My official PGA apprenticeship began when I moved to Buchanan Castle GC, where I signed my PGA papers in May 1986 under PGA Professional Charles Dernie, recently retired from Blairgowrie (Rosemount) GC. Charles had spent a couple of years playing on the European Tour in the 70’s. Charles was very helpful with learning to play the game professionally. About a year later my playing career started taking off. Finally, I earned my PGA certificate in January 1991. Quite a few stepping stones there, leading  the way to me becoming a PGA Professional.
How long have you been in your current position?

 

8.5 years
What does your job entail?

 

·         Shop – own the stock and manage the collection of green fees and booking system for the club.

·         Golf carts – own the carts, managing the fleet throughout the year.

·         Driving range – part of the shop’s business.

·         Teaching – providing a teaching service for all levels of golf, involving 2 other teachers.

·         Caddies- manage the caddies day to day and main golf events.

·         Workshop – provide a substantial club repair and custom fit service.

·         Flight Scope – own a FS VX unit, providing comprehensive data and information that enhances my teaching and custom fit operation.

·         Employment of 7/8 staff.

 

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

 

I have always envisaged that the PGA Professional at a club becomes part of the furniture. By this, I mean that if you are doing it right, then you will be there a number of years. For this to happen, you have to build trust, relationship and prove your worth. So, when the opportunity presented itself at my club, it had everything I wanted to be challenged by. 1. The club was old and needed change. 2. The club hadn’t had a PGA Professional in many years. 3. The club had plans to upgrade the course and clubhouse.

To me, this was my chance to get involved and be a part of this journey, getting this club back to where it once was in popularity. So far, the new holes have been completed and currently the clubhouse is under reconstruction. I’m also proposing improvements to the driving range to accommodate a better teaching facility, making it more teaching friendly with the use of Flight Scope technology. The clubhouse will be completed by Spring 2021, nine and a half years into my time here. By then, I think I will start to feel like part of the furniture, especially with the teaching and practice facilities optimized. Then, I would like to think, that if I were to move on from this club, that there would be PGA Professionals wanting to be ‘The Pro’ here with what the club now has to offer.

Please give us a brief outline of the path you took to lead you to your current position I was the PGA teaching pro at De Zalze, I started in 2005. De Zalze was a new club and had no one PGA qualified working for the at the time. I saw an opportunity to try and be a part of that future there. I set up a workshop and offered a club repair service and in time did some custom fitting for their golf shop. It seemed strange that they would have a golf shop without a PGA Professional.  Eventually, they employed me and my duties were to do course set up and manage scoring and results of all the members’ competitions and most of their corporate days. At the end of 2011 DZ decided that they wanted the golf shop and golf operation under management of a PGA qualified person. As much as I wanted the position, I was unsuccessful in my application. Fortunately for me Somerset West GC we’re ready to appoint a PGA Professional in March 2012, where I was successful. SWGC did put the feelers out 2 years earlier where they were looking for a manager and professional at the same time. I applied then, but they decided to start with the manager first without the professional. So, after 7 years at De Zalze, it was time to move on.
Why do you feel that you would be a good candidate to win this award?

 

What I’m doing is “Living The Dream”, I’ve been blessed by working at what my passion is. I’ve achieved many things as a Professional that I dreamt about as a kid. I’m in the process of completing what I started out to do at my club. So, from starting out as a kid, wanting to be a golf teacher, then having a passion for  fixing and building clubs (the old fashion way with real woods), then a playing career that took off that led to qualifying for the European Tour and 2 British Opens. I love what I do and enjoy passing on to others, knowledge gained from my professional golf journey. I’m not trying to win anything, but if the story of my journey that has taken me to where I am today, is worthy of an award, then, I would be delighted.