Meet the PGA pro: Andrew Humphreys

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 13, 2023 14:50

The head professional at Aberdovey Golf Club in Wales talks about trying to find a balance between coaching, retail, playing and fitting, appealing to female golfers and the help he utilises in running a business.

Can you detail what your life was like from the first lockdown in March 2020 until the present day?

We took over the professional shop in January 2020 as head professional, previously the club ran the shop for eight years in. Part of the deal was me buying the old stock off the club which was more than £40k – it was a daunting start to the golf season already!

I always try to be positive with all aspects of life and business, so I tried to see lockdown as an opportunity rather than a loss. Aberdovey is a coastal destination where the population can treble during the season. We decided to completely refit the shop during lockdown to minimise losses during the golf season on a shop refurb!

We self-funded a new shop layout, new swing studio and workshop. My partner and I carried out all the work and recall it being a very lonely place to be day-to-day, often not seeing people for weeks on end.

It was by far the best decision to carry out the works then, the new look and feel has made the shop a much more inviting place to work and visit. It also showed the membership a commitment to the club and brand moving forward.

My background prior to retail was purely coaching, having coached at national level and directed academies, moving my focus to retail has been very rewarding but also very challenging. Finding that blend of retail, fitting, coaching and club duties is not an easy thing.

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

As a professional at a ‘Top 100’ club, Aberdovey throws up constant challenges to tackle. Club professionals have so many different hats to wear in the day-to-day running of the business, time allocation to the duties and prioritisation is key to not getting overwhelmed in the role.

The industry has changed a lot and professionals are diversifying into new revenue streams, the biggest challenge I personally face is staying on point and not moving my revenue streams away from what I know works for our model.

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

XPOS has been a game changer for business, stocking in, reporting, Xcodes, members’ accounts are managed with ease. I always try to cover all bases with stock in the shop, we have an aged membership at Aberdovey, almost 68 years old as an average age.

Recognising where the club and your business sits in the golf world is key to branding and stock holding, Aberdovey is a traditional venue with a rich history but also attracts 10,000 visitors a year.
Each brand serves a purpose to the business to maximise sales – sports brands, ladies, traditional, high end, margin maker – this theory is adopted for both hardware and apparel.

How do you manage your day?

This is probably the biggest challenge faced by professionals. Trying to find that balance between coaching, retail, playing and fitting often proves overwhelming.

I allocate 15 hours per week coaching, four hours per week fitting and 20 hours per week retail. This is an ever changing dynamic and the skills lie in staying on schedule.

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

We currently do a great junior programme that sees us go into the local schools around Aberdovey, but also in mid Wales. We then offer taster sessions for kids and are looking into free memberships for 2023 to encourage grassroots.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

One hundred percent! This is vital as ladies’ golf is a big part of Aberdovey where we currently have around 120 female members and are renowned for female apparel.

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

We have an academy programme, which, on average, brings the club 10 members per year. This is done over three levels – Level 1: £40; Level 2: £150; Level 3: £375, which includes six lessons and 15 months membership.

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 currently offer an indoor studio which hosts TrackMan, four Capto Putting Studio memberships, simulator play and coaching clinics.

From a retail perspective we offer 0 percent finance, GolfClubs4Cash trade-ins and Caddie App.

We communicate with our members through the TGI Golf E-newsletter programme, which is a great tool, allowing us to send whatever we want to our customers as well as providing some great guidance and templates to use. We offer draws on weekly competitions to help with cash flow and last year we had an average open rate of more than 66 percent, which was amazing.

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

By far the biggest thing that attracted me to TGI Golf was the family feel and the fact that you effectively work for yourself and help other fellow professionals. It’s been the best decision and I couldn’t recommend it enough to any PGA professional starting the retail adventure.

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

TGI has helped me improve all the areas I felt I was weak with regard to retail, marketing, handling memberships and generally running a business. I think as a professional you need to be a sponge and absorb any information you can in order to stay ahead of the game and TGI definitely provides that.

With Peter Smyth (left), TGI Golf retail consultant (Ireland)

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

I turned professional in 2006 and finished my training in 2009, where I then set up a roving professional academy that looked after seven golf clubs.

Through the academy there were more than 1,000 players coming into the game and I was awarded Wales’ ‘Professional of the Year’ in the Ryder Cup year of 2010, which was a massive honour being Welsh.

I was also a Welsh national coach for four years, coaching the academy section, which was a great honour before taking over as head professional at Aberdovey Golf Club in 2020.

Winning the TGI Golf Pro Shop of the Year award for 2022 has been a nice progression in my career and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings in the golf industry.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 13, 2023 14:50
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  1. Director of Golf April 17, 10:43

    Very inspiring, Andrew! Great read.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Golf Super Store Dubai April 14, 10:14

    It’s always great to see an owner running the pro shop on course, and I believe it has an incredible potential to benefit the club, not just financially, but also in terms of goodwill towards members and guests. In fact, I think the pro shop can be considered the heart of the club. Congratulations, Andrew!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Crosby April 14, 06:26

    Great story Andrew, well done.

    Reply to this comment
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