Meet the head PGA pro: Graeme McDougall

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 4, 2024 11:36

Meet the head PGA pro: Graeme McDougall

Graeme McDougall, the head PGA professional at The Bishopbriggs Golf Club in Glasgow, discusses the benefits of having an online booking site for lessons, learning from other pro shops, why TGI Golf has improved his business and his love for his club.

How has your business adapted to the golf industry’s changes since the start of this decade?

I took my first head PGA professional’s role at The Bishopbriggs in 2021, so missed the pre-Covid period.

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

It can be hard having a small team, as much of the day-to-day running falls to just me. Although my assistants are great, the members tend to want to deal with their head pro. This can mean no real time to switch off between lessons or at events.

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

We have a relatively small shop, so it can be a little difficult to stock everything for everyone, so keeping an eye on social media, speaking to fellow pros and taking in as much information from the golf trade as possible is important.

I also rely on information from TGI Golf and the golf brand’s sales reps. I feel I have a good relationship with most of the reps in my area, so I feel I can get an honest opinion and reliable information from them.

How do you manage your day?

I use online diaries to plan my day. My online booking site for lessons has been a game changer. I still get people who book direct with me, but it’s been great for picking up new clients who book online. The online diary syncs directly with my google diary, so I can plan ahead and block off my time away from the shop.

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

We have a great group of volunteers at the club who run learn to golf classes. These are introductory sessions which are geared at those very new to golf.

After these sessions, those who wish to continue then feed into coaching with the professional team.

Are you trying to attract more women to golf?

We have run a ladies’ ‘Get into Golf’ class, which proved popular. We had 16 ladies start out in the sessions and we managed to turn four of those into members. We are planning to run more events like this to continue to grow the section.

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

We have a short academy course, which is ideal for beginners and young juniors. The course is part of our junior pathway to getting a handicap. Once a score of 36 is achieved, the junior can then progress to the junior tees on the main course.

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?

I have invested in an indoor swing studio with TrackMan 4. This has been invaluable for the winter months and days of poor weather. I offer packages to include practice time in the studio.

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

The reason I have chosen this career path, is because I love golf, and I felt TGI offered what I would want to get out of it.

Aside from the obvious benefits of being a partner in the business, so just paying a one-off investment rather than paying a continual subscription, I was attracted to the many first class events such as the golf days, Partnership Trophy and the Team Challenge in Turkey. All of which have far exceeded my expectations.

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

TGI has been a great benefit to me, in particular my retail consultant Ricky Gray, who does a great job helping to make the shop look great, but also passing on info that he has seen work and not work in other pro shops.

The network of pros is great, and having worked for TGI partners in the past, it was a no brainer for me.

The Email Marketing Service is also a great tool, and one I utilise regularly, the frequently updated templates are great to keep it looking fresh and current.

The recently revamped MyMarketing HUB is a great way to make the shop look professional and pricing / info easily displayed.

TGI has many benefits, but these are just a few.

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

I began my professional career in 2015, starting my PGA training under TGI partner Gavin Cook at Elie Links. During that time I was runner up in the PGA trainee awards for my second year, and graduated in fifth place in the trainee awards (for the three years).

I always enjoy playing and I was fortunate enough to be the winner of the 2018 Scottish Assistants Championship and 2019 Sandyhills Pro-Am.

For me, a real career highlight is becoming the first PGA professional at The Bishopbriggs Golf Club, the club I grew up playing from a junior until I started my PGA training. A club that has been a huge part of my family’s life, and more recently being part of the Scottish team that won the TGI Partnership Trophy at St Andrews in 2023.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 4, 2024 11:36
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