Professional Courtesy on Playing and Teaching
One of the great perks of being in the golf business as a professional is that, often, public golf courses may offer us discounts, and private courses may offer us privileges to places we otherwise could not play. Because we are continually adding new members, it is worthwhile to go over some guidelines on professional courtesy when it comes to playing and teaching the game.
Always call ahead of time. This is so important that it will be repeated – always call ahead of time. Occasionally we hear stories of golf professionals who show up unannounced at a golf course and expect to play either for free or for a cart fee. This is a very unprofessional thing to do and is never done by those who have been in the business for a given length of time.
Some golf professionals believe you should speak with the director of golf or the head professional in order to seek professional courtesy, but in actual practice this isn’t always necessary. Many assistants and shop personnel know the professional courtesy policy and are authorized to give the okay to another professional who wishes to play at their facility.
It also helps to be employed or giving lessons at a facility, and this may be required by some courses that offer professional playing courtesy.
If a course denies you professional playing courtesy for whatever reason, it is natural to feel you need to lecture the person denying you the courtesy. Please, at all costs, resist the urge to do this. While your disappointment at being denied courtesy is perfectly understandable, making your displeasure known will not change the situation and only serves to discredit you and the organization to which you belong, at least in that person’s eyes. Simply say, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, but I respect your policy,” and let it go. However, in this tougher economy, you might find courses that denied you professional courtesy in the past will welcome your business, even if for a cart fee, so if you were turned down some time ago, give it another shot.
Imagine you are the teaching professional at a golf course, and you see someone giving what very much looks like a formal lesson on your range. upon further inspection, you find that it is, indeed, someone giving a formal lesson to a student, and this person had absolutely no authorization to teach there.
You wouldn’t like it, would you? For this reason, you always need to have authorization to teach at any facility. You might be surprised at how amenable the golf course personnel can be to this. again, after all, they are in business to make money, and if you are bringing in outside students to the facility, they may welcome your occasional teaching forays to their facility.
Speaking of students, you must never solicit business at a facility to which you have no teaching privileges. It doesn’t matter if there is no teaching professional on staff; this is simply something that is not done. USGTF members who conduct unauthorized teaching or solicitation at a facility are in violation of article 6 of the Code of ethics and are subject to disciplinary action.
The golf business offers many wonderful perks. use them wisely, and you further enhance your peers’ respect for both you and your professional organization.