Meet the PGA pro: The marketing expert15th October, 2012 by admin
A portrait hangs proudly on the wall in the Leighton Buzzard clubhouse of its PGA professional Maurice Campbell.
Campbell is joined in the picture by two of his students – all three have been captured on canvas in recognition of their achievements over the past 12 months.
In Campbell’s case, he was named ‘PGA Professional of the Year’ by buying group Foremost, while his young pupils happen to be ‘County Players of the Year’.
Just how many PGA professionals get that honour of being given pride of place in the clubhouse?
But then Campbell, who has been at the club for 11 years, is not only a club professional at the heart of the game, but one very much at the heart of the club.
He may carry out the duties expected of a PGA professional, such as a providing a comprehensive retail outlet, coaching the membership and running the day-to-day golf operations, but he has also taken on a wider remit to become ‘indispensable’ to the club.
He appreciates that to continue being as successful as he has been, he has to go the extra mile.
He serves on the membership committee, his marketing skills are highly regarded by the club, while his ‘innovative’ thinking includes attending a business forum in partnership with the club to jointly promote what both can offer.
“I am very focussed on marketing the services we offer as I believe marketing is essential in our business,” said the 40-year-old, married father of two.
“I don’t think it’s a skill all golf pros and golf clubs are good at, but I’ve done some extra courses on it to get it right.”
Campbell, recently listed as one of the country’s leading PGA professionals in Golf World magazine, hasn’t attained his reputation by chance, having arrived in the UK in 1995 with little more than a suitcase and a job offer as an assistant at Little Hay Golf Club.
“I was really lucky as the person I came to work for was David Johnson, who was chairman of the Training Council at the PGA and is now a PGA Master Professional,” he said.
“Apart from my family, David was a big influence on what I should do and how I should approach the job.
“It was a really good grounding as we had all walks of life coming to Little Hay. We learned how to deal with all those different personalities, which is part of our role.
“While I was there, I came second overall in the ‘PGA Assistant of the Year’ awards and when David left Little Hay I became head professional. I was teaching and running the shop and then got the job here in 2001 and have learnt as I’ve gone on.”
An array of certificates above the entrance to his shop illustrate Campbell’s dedication to continue learning. He is currently studying for his PGA director of golf certificate.
But where Campbell really strives is by delivering the highest standards of customer service to members and guests, in whatever sphere of the business – be it coaching or retail. That is also instilled in his four assistants.
“You have to have rapport and have extremely high customer service levels. You have to go the extra mile,” he said. “One example, if someone buys a trolley from me and it goes wrong, we loan them a replacement and if they want to take it away, then they take it away. It’s seamless and they don’t go without. You can’t get that buying it off the net or from a discount store.
“If we change the spikes on shoes, we’ll clean them; if we regrip their clubs, we’ll return them looking pristine. It’s those small touches that make a club pro a real asset.”
Those touches also illustrate his business acumen, which Campbell again emphasises is necessary if the pro is going to deliver the right service to members.
“I have to run a business that’s competitive and offers good quality and value for money,” he said.
“Members want you to be able to compete against the big boys on the high street and the internet, and we can and do. We can compete because we can also give personal service.”
Part of building the rapport includes positive marketing via a newsletter and social media, but also through a hands-on approach, which ensures that he, and all of his team of assistants, mix with the members on a regular basis.
“A couple of years ago I made a point of playing nine holes with every new member,” he said.
“It got a bit difficult, but we still maintain that ethos and two or three times a year we have a new members’ day and we play golf with every new member.
“I also send my staff out to play on Saturdays, every week. That’s about creating relationships and building a rapport. It also adds to the members’ experience.
“It also enables us to offer them a little bit of advice, maybe about their game or their equipment. It may lead to the members having lessons or looking at alternative equipment, which will improve their game. Great if it does, but if not, it’s about taking care of, and interest in, the members.
“It’s getting out there and putting yourself in front of your member and creating a relationship with them and building as strong a relationship as possible. That makes the professional a focal part of the club. You want to be indispensable.”
Campbell works around 50 to 60 hours a week, which can also include being involved in the organisation of society days or attending club events. Outside of his duties with the club, he plays an active role in his local county golf partnership as well as being the lead coach for the county, which sees him organising the coaches and putting the schedule together.
His role reflects positively for the club, especially as Campbell’s coaching is renowned, which has seen a number of youngsters secure scholarships in the United States.
“The club use that positively in their marketing as they’re in the local paper all the time and so it raises the profile,” he added. “I am the Bedfordshire county coach and the club like that association too.
“I do a lot of coaching, about 25 to 30 hours a week, while trying to run a business here.
“I coach around the county as well and I try not to make that get in the way of my role here as I do that on my day off.
“I have been known to work seven days in a week four, five, six weeks in a row because at all times I am ensuring the club is the main focus.”
Lee McLaughlan is PR and communications coordinator for the PGA
If you want to learn more about the key responsibilities of a PGA professional then download the PGA Role Descriptor document here.