Meet the PGA pro: Gordon Cattrell

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire December 17, 2018 10:19 Updated

Gordon is the head PGA professional at Middlesbrough Golf Club. He talks about his approach to controlling stock in the pro shop and why more pros are investing in high-end technology.

What daily challenges do you face in running a pro shop and teaching?

We are a very busy private members’ club with close to 800 members as well as welcoming guests and visiting parties. Providing a first-class service for everyone who enters the shop is the main aim for us. Challenges I have to overcome to achieve this are staffing the shop on a daily basis, planning for lessons, custom fits at the range and taking care of club work like open entries, visiting party bookings and day-to-day shop duties.

There is a constant flow of new golf products – how do you manage your stock to serve the needs of your members and visitors?

Stock levels are never easy. It’s very easy to under or over stock and you will never get it right! I am always learning from mistakes of the past, but I truly believe you will never get two years the same.

It seems every year that manufacturers are launching ‘the best product ever’ and if we don’t have it then customers will go elsewhere. Things like taking a product in January with terms until April simply don’t interest me anymore, especially when you think that last year we still had snow on the ground at Easter!

Eddie Reid [TGI Golf managing director] has always said ‘buy little and often’ which is a great bit of advice. We try and stick to three or four hardware brands with two to three apparel and footwear. In the past I have done much more and found it hard to control.

How do you manage your day?

Like every PGA pro, the daily tasks can differ from day to day. I’m always in 30 minutes before opening which allows me to open emails and so on before members arrive. As we have a five-bay range and custom fit studio we need to make sure balls are picked and cleaned, and the range is tidy, before the day begins. This is not always achievable the night before as lessons can go on late. I’m a big believer that the customer should dictate when they have a lesson, not you; they work as well and may not be able to get to the club until 6.30 or 7pm.

What are you doing to support junior golf and introduce kids to the sport?

We have a great junior liaison officer at the club who runs junior competitions every Sunday: 18 holes for established players and a nine-hole ‘bunny club’ competition for beginners. The club pays for the established juniors to have individual lessons with Andy, my assistant, and we run group coaching for the younger ones throughout the season as well as camps during school holidays.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

Over the past four years the club have run two ‘Get into golf’ schemes. The first one was solely aimed at ladies and the latter one included gents as well.

The club provides a pathway from initial ‘open days’ to group coaching and trial membership, all the way through the year to full membership the following year. Over the two schemes we have attracted 20 ladies and eight gents into the club.

A lot of PGA pros are having to be a step ahead of their competitors in their offerings and technology – what additional added value services do you provide?

We opened our custom fit studio in March last year. While at the TGI Golf Business Conference at The Belfry in February last year I met Mike Malone from Trackman who was presenting. I invited him to come to the club for a more in-depth look at how Trackman could work for us. The orange box arrived a couple of weeks later and it has been the best investment I have ever made. It has made a massive impact on hardware sales as well as improved the service we provide in our coaching. More and more pros are starting to invest in high-end technology and if you don’t go with it you will be left behind.

When did you join the TGI Golf Partnership and what was it about it that attracted you?

I joined TGI Golf in 2006 when I took my first head professional job. I looked at other options as well as speaking to fellow professionals. As soon as I met Ian Martin, who was retail consultant at the time, I was convinced they were the group for me and I’ve never looked back.

Has TGI Golf been of benefit to you as a PGA professional?

There are really too many benefits to list but the ones that spring to mind are the retail consultants who are always on the end of the phone with sound advice as well as visits to the club whenever you ask, help with EPoS, merchandising, shop plans, stock levels and so on.

In the early days I’m pretty sure I would have struggled to open certain accounts if it was not for being a TGI Partner. I utilise as much as I can, which includes the TGI Enewsletter Programme which allows me to send unlimited personalised newsletters to my members.

The TGI Golf Business Conference is a must for anyone. Who wouldn’t want a free night at The Belfry, Fairmont St Andrews or Trump Turnberry coming in February? The events TGI run are always superb.

I’ve been to Turkey twice, I always try and play in the annual golf days and I’ve only just returned from the TGI Travel Masters in Portugal which was a great four days.

What year did you turn professional and what have been your career highlights, both playing and employment?

I turned pro in 1999 (I think!) Playing highlights must be the trips I have won playing in TGI Golf events!

I played in four Ashworth Cups, which was a Ryder Cup-style event against Foremost; one Partnership Trophy (an annual battle among the nations of TGI Golf), the Nike Oven Fourball event in Texas as well as trips to Valderamma, Gleneagles, The Belfry, Celtic Manor and more – not much prize money but if there’s a trip on the line I’m your man!

Employment highlight is definitely being head professional here at Middlesbrough Golf Club at Brass Castle for 10 years, it really is a great private members’ club and can see myself here for a long time.


Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire December 17, 2018 10:19 Updated
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1 Comment

  1. Gary Emerson December 20, 11:31

    I organise a couple of trips to Brass Castle every year from another gem:- Selby GC.

    Gordon and his staff along with all connected to Brass Castle take care of our every needs and always make the day a day to remember. A wonderful course, always presented in immaculate condition complimented by a great Pro.

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