Meet the PGA pro: Ryan Rastall

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire March 18, 2019 20:18

The head PGA professional at Howley Hall GC in Yorkshire has won the coveted ‘Pro Shop of the Year’ category at the recent TGI Golf Awards. Here, Ryan explains why his shop has been such a success.

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

I think just having enough time to fit everything in! I absolutely love my job and as I continue to grow the tuition and custom fit side of the business, I find it increasingly difficult to spend quality time with the members. I make sure I am in the shop on our competition days in order to speak to as many customers as possible, but it can be difficult at times.

Fortunately, I have a really good team around me to ensure my time is used effectively.

Ryan Rastall (left) with the PGA professional team at Howley Hall Golf Club

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

Utilising my Crossover XPOS system effectively is imperative to controlling the stock well. The reports you can produce are brilliant and really highlight areas where stock is not turning over.

It is difficult to fill the shop with new products if old stock is still in store, so the use of flash sales rather than prolonged sale periods gives a quick injection of cash to invest in new stock. This really helps to keep customers looking at new items and keeps the shop looking fresh.

Having the ability to say no to suppliers constantly trying to push product in to store is also a skill I have acquired over the years. You can’t stock everything but the temptation to try and keep every customer happy can be tough.

How do you manage your day?

I pretty much live my life by the online BRS booking diary we have. Every lesson, fitting, meeting and shift in the shop is inputted so I am always organised. Without it I would be lost.

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

I work very closely with local school games’ organisers, the Golf Foundation, England Golf and, of course, the golf club to ensure we offer pathways for kids to get into the game as well as develop their interest in our junior academy sessions.

Our junior section was non-existent when I arrived and we now have over 40 junior members and have won back-to-back junior league titles, which is something I am extremely proud of.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

We have just revamped our ladies’ ‘Get into Golf’ offering at the club and have really tried to involve the current ladies’ section as well as gents to encourage family members and friends to start the game.

The trial memberships we have introduced have also allowed prospective new members to experience the ‘feel’ of a golf membership before committing to the expense of full membership.

This is all in conjunction with regular group coaching sessions.

Do you have any programmes in place such as academy membership to make it easier to introduce beginners to the game?

The taster memberships we offer starting at £99 offer prospective members to have a taste of what the club can offer. We also offer separate memberships of the practice area to encourage players to work on their game at their own pace.

Ryan receiving the award from Peter Smyth, TGI Golf Retail Consultant for Ireland

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?

All of the staff are trained on all of the latest products and technologies. We use TrackMan 4 in all of our lessons and fittings as well as giving a Ryan Rastall Golf gift box to all new lesson clients which includes a towel, pitch mark repairer and ball marker – these little extra details not only look great but make customers feel valued.

I stand by the service we provide and every business in this industry trades on reputation so it is imperative to keep customers happy.

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

I joined in 2016 as soon as I took over at Howley Hall GC. My employer was a TGI partner when I did my PGA training and I saw first-hand the level of service provided so when I got the job as head professional it was an easy choice.

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

Undoubtedly! The events, forums, resources and retail consultant not to mention the amazing ‘Business Conference’ have allowed me to meet other TGI partners, share ideas and learn from some of the best in the industry about how to run a successful and sustainable business. I am looking forward to my first team challenge in Turkey shortly to play some golf in the sunshine and also meet up with all the TGI team again.

Ryan Rastall delivering his speech at Trump Turnberry after winning the award, next to Eddie Reid, managing director of TGI Golf

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

I turned professional in 2012 following my dad and brother into the PGA and have had some great experiences on and off the course in that time.

Qualifying to play in the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Championship in 2016 at The Oxfordshire was a great experience.

Playing three times on the EuroPro Tour was fun, but winning the Nike Golf International event in Dubai in 2015 was amazing, we got to watch the final day of the Race to Dubai and see Rory claim the trophy followed by two competitive rounds, which I managed to win by one shot.

Off the course, I visited the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January and, as a lifelong golf geek, it was unbelievable.

The sheer size of the event took my breath away.

Setting up my own business has always been a dream of mine and to win TGI Golf’s Pro Shop of the Year award, recognising the hard work we have put in over the past three years, has been the icing on the cake.

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire March 18, 2019 20:18
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