Meet the PGA professional: Whitecraigs’ David Orr

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 23, 2018 19:04 Updated

The Glasgow golf club’s pro explains why his firm was named ‘Most Improved Business of the Year’ at the TGI Golf Awards and how he helps attract more people to golf.

What is the main challenge you face in being a PGA pro?

The biggest challenge is the declining number in golfers which relate to footfall which has impacted on the whole industry in recent years. Thankfully the teaching business is a very busy one and I see people from all over, however, I’d say the daily challenge is getting people booked in the diary. There isn’t enough time to see everyone – accommodating everyone can be a challenge to fit with their timescales.

How do you manage your day in terms of keeping on top of things?

Surrounding myself with a great team of staff including my wife Rona. We work around daily tasks and objectives. Everyone knows what’s required of them on a daily basis – the to do lists and carry forward notes are full.

What year did you turn professional?

I turned professional in 1997, aged 23.

David (left) receiving his Most Improved Business of the Year award from TGI Golf Retail Consultant Simon Keeling

You recently won TGI’s highly coveted ‘Most Improved Business of the Year’ award. Congratulations! What has been the focus of attention that enabled you to drive the business and win this prestigious award?

The focus for me to win this is to see golf as a whole business, not just a shop. I focus on all aspects of golf; custom fitting (offering golfers the access to the most recent new hardware released from golf’s top manufacturers); golf coaching – working with people and their abilities – every golfer is unique as is their games. Giving players access to the top of the range in radar technology, Trackman.

My clients old and new have responded exceptionally well to this equipment and this has definitely helped to increase my business; retail – being able to offer the latest in strong brands such as Under Armour, Adidas, shoes and all golfing accessories.

This is something that I will look to grow even more in my new position at Whitecraigs Golf Club – a very exciting time in my career.

What have been your career highlights?

Playing; 2009 PGA Scottish champion; winning four times on the PGA EuroPro Tour: British assistants champion. Winning over 50 times in the Scottish region of the Tartan Tour and having played with reigning US Open champion, Michael Campbell, in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. I finished in the top 20 of the Diageo Championship at Gleneagles. I’m the current course record holder round Trump International Golf Links – Aberdeen Scotland with 67; and at East Renfrewshire with 63.

Employment; winning the TGI Award – that to me was a great accolade and a recognition for my work. And receiving very positive testimonials from clients who I have worked with, in terms of coaching.

Young golfers are the future of the game – what are you doing to support junior golf and introduce kids to the sport?

Currently with another fellow pro I work with the Renfrewshire Golf Union to promote under 14 and under 17 junior golf development. Also I work with schools, encouraging and promoting junior golf as well as I’m about to embark on a very very busy junior golf programme at Whitecraigs Golf Club.

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

For visiting parties, we like to be able to add value to their experience, for example, by offering them the use of Trackman 4 off a tee for longest drive. It’s great to see the competitiveness out there.

Any member or visitor has access to a fully qualified PGA golfer like myself who has gained a wealth of knowledge in the game over 20 years.

A lot of golf clubs are now offering academy membership to introduce people who are new to the game – is this something you get involved in?

At my previous club this was something that we didn’t offer, however, in my new position at Whitecraigs Golf Club, we are one of very few golf clubs who have access to a nine-hole membership.

This is something that is an excellent starting point for people looking to get into the game.

I absolutely endorse this and it is a great selling point for the clubs.

How long have you been a member of TGI Golf? What was it that appealed to you about the TGI business model and in what ways has the relationship contributed to the success of your business? 

I have been a member for three and a half years and it was an easy decision. I like the personal touches and one-to-one regular contact. I like that they are only one phone call away for advice, service or appointment.

They negotiate the best terms for leading suppliers and the overall service can make business life easier at times. They’re also great for start ups and the whole process associated with that.

There is constantly a new offering of golf products and apparel – how do you manage what you stock and when you stock it to meet the needs of members and visitors to the club?

This is an area which I will focus on more when I take up new position. Market research has to come in to the focus so we can find out exactly what people want. Stock levels are always tricky but deliveries with spaced out dates always helps. More random drops is better for stock.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 23, 2018 19:04 Updated
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