Meet the director of golf: Anthony Haste

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu November 18, 2017 07:11 Updated

Anthony is the head professional at Hinckley GC, formerly a professional at The Belfry and a partner with TGI Golf. He talks about how he markets his services

When did you turn professional and what has your career path been since?

Having started my golfing career at traditional private members’ clubs, I turned professional in 2001 at The Belfry. After seven years working at The Belfry in various roles I then took up the position of head professional at The Tytherington Club. I am now the head professional at Hinckley Golf Club, which involves running the shop, golf operations, providing tuition for members and non-members and training two PGA assistants.

My career highlight would be during my seven years at The Belfry I was fortunate enough to work on five European Tour events and, in 2002, the Ryder Cup. Working behind the scenes at the Ryder Cup was a truly amazing experience and for Europe to win was the icing on the cake. Last year I also qualified as a PGA director of golf and graduated earlier this year.

What roles were you involved in at The Belfry?

I gained my qualification as a PGA professional at The Belfry and gained amazing experience as a teaching professional which later, in other departments, stood me in good stead for my career to date.

Such roles included golf sales account manager. I was a well-respected staff member within the golf sales team. I was responsible for overseeing over £1.4 million worth of golf business and driving additional business into the resort. I expanded my knowledge and experience of sales, leading to my development as an account manager looking after in excess of 200 accounts. The role included the management of potential customers from their initial interest in the product, through to generating and managing the accounts of their corporate golf event.

I successfully built working relationships with my client groups, ensuring I understood the company’s business, thereby personalising their golfing experience to meet their exact requirements. A high commitment to customer service was vital in this role to generate the initial sale but also to maintain the relationship as a long term investment.

Golf operations manager. Meet and greet golf organisers, including golf reception, to ensure that the day ran efficiently and to a high standard. Rota staff on accordingly to suit the needs of the business, particularly during busy periods. Also ensuring a high level of customer service and that staff were successful in upholding that ethos. In this role I was required to resolve any issues or complaints on a daily basis as you would expect in such a large establishment. I was assisted as required by members of the team throughout the hotel, developing strong inter-departmental links.

Customer fit specialist. Using the latest technology fitting equipment to fit the golfer to their specific requirements for the leading manufacture in golf. In this position I was fortunate to meet several prestigious sportsmen whom were keen golfers in their leisure time.

Teaching professional. Coaching all levels of golfer including juniors, beginners, ladies’ groups and corporate clinics, county golfers, on course playing lessons, the Oxford University golf team and the English Deaf Golfers Association.

During the quieter period of the golf season whilst I was an assistant completing my PGA training I worked in various other departments at The Belfry, this included the leisure club whereby I completed a fitness qualification and the various bars. Whilst this was not golf directly it did enable me to develop good links with other departments and helped me broaden my knowledge and experience of the wider golf business.

In which areas at Hinckley are you using technology? What software are you using? How does this help you?

V1 golf coaching – this enables me to use video analysis. Customers find this a useful lesson summary and visual aid but it also demonstrates the progress they make from lesson to lesson.

Foresight GC2 Launch Monitor, for teaching, fitting and gap testing. GC2 is consistent, giving accurate data and clearly displaying it. I am currently exploring the possibility of using my current launch monitor and incorporating a simulator.

Crossover Tec – XPOS enables me to keep track of my stock, understand what’s selling, what my stock levels are and it assists me in better buying. The Crossover Tec Team offer extensive training, support and advice.

intelligentgolf – we manage all events from small societies to large functions like weddings, control memberships, manage competitions, manage tee time booking and have a club website which is great from a communication and marketing perspective.

I also use a lot of social media to communicate, promote and connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook).

You’re a partner with TGI Golf, how does the relationship work? What support is given?

Being a TGI Partner I get expert advice on retailing, merchandising and buying plans, and we have networking events and cluster meetings. I have regular contact with my TGI representative, giving me help, guidance and assistance, even merchandising my shop on my first day! Being part of TGI gives me the best terms with suppliers which helps me maximise profitability. Additionally I use the fantastic e-newsletter to communicate with my members and non-members.

Do you offer your members / visitors rental buggies / trolleys?

I use the Powakaddy FW3 rental trolley, which is extremely reliable. I can also rely on great service from my area sales manager. We have four Club Car buggies that are rented out on a regular basis.

How are you working with Hinckley to engage junior golfers?

The junior membership, as with a lot of golf clubs is quite low. This year we have worked hard to increase participation and grow the membership. My two PGA assistants and myself have put on regular coaching at the club for junior members and non-members, including junior holiday camps, junior academy coaching, Girls Golf Rocks, junior group coaching and individual lessons. Away from the club we have delivered coaching to a number of school and scout groups and recently were approached to promote ‘wellbeing and golf’ at two local colleges. We are currently working on next year’s plan to build on our current relationship with primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and scouts’ groups in the area.

What is Hinckley Golf Club doing to attract new members and visitors to the club? Is this something you’re heavily involved in?

This has predominantly been a role of the general manager at the club. We recently have done two outreach events at two local colleges. Going forward next year the aim is to advertise in local magazines and newspapers, and work closer with the local community. An open day will also be held.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start out their career as a PGA professional? Would there be anything you would have done differently? How do you feel the PGA role will change with years to come?

I would advise anyone wanting to seek a career as a golf professional to talk and / or visit a variety of pros working in different golf establishments / services to gain a perspective on the scope of this role.

Since qualifying myself, the traditional view of being a pro has changed dramatically and the opportunities to diversify are so much greater. Being a golf pro can be such a rewarding and long career but doesn’t come without its challenges (like most jobs).

Long hours, at times unsociable, and needing to face an ever-changing climate of financial ups and downs in the economy can and does hit the leisure industry hard. My own personal experience has taught me this first hand. Sometimes opportunities don’t arise at the right time but stick with it if you can and in the longer run you will reap the enjoyment and rewards of doing so.

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu November 18, 2017 07:11 Updated
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