Adapting to a new generation of golfers

Life as an Assistant Golf Professional

By Chris Mari

Graduating from UCF almost a year ago, if you told me where I would be post-graduation I’d say you were insane. As a club golfer involved with anything and everything Nextgengolf related, experience was the key. I knew what I wanted to do, coach golf! In order to achieve this in the golf industry, you need experience. I had plenty of connections thanks to my time as a club golfer, but the one thing still missing was PGA certification.

I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t you just go to a school that offered a PGM degree? Well, at the time I didn’t want to limit myself to just golf. I wanted a degree that gave me some flexibility in the job market, and if I truly wanted to pursue golf post-graduation, I could always do the associate program. Fast forward to now, here’s what has happened.

Chris Mari assistant golf professional

I took my first grown-up full-time job in the golf industry just three months after I graduated college in Spring 2018. Although it was a great job, it was definitely not the right fit. I returned to coaching youth golf part-time while trying to figure out which direction to take. Everything pointed to becoming a PGA professional, but I needed to find a place that would allow me to learn about the industry while pursuing PGA certification. I discovered a little place in Orlando, FL called Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Club.

Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Club

I was hired at the start of the year, and my journey here has just started. Life as an assistant pro wasn’t exactly as I expected. I don’t do the typical tasks of cleaning shoes, folding clothes, changing grips, etc. that is associated with being an entry level club professional. I have actually been learning much more that I intended, such as fleet management, apparel selection and management, equipment sales, how tee time rates are set, and so much more.

Looking for summer golf tournaments?

With my golf course averaging almost 200 people per day on a tee sheet, the staff is much bigger than your typical municipal golf course. With myself and the 6 other assistant professionals, the head professional, and the director of golf, I have guidance whenever needed.

All in all, it’s been a great start. I can see myself getting PGA certified, and hopefully become more well-rounded in this industry by staying here and putting the time in. This place has allowed me to grow personally and professionally every day I come into work, but it all got started thanks to the connections I made with Nextgengolf.

Subscribe to stay up to date