Golf is not just about mastering the mechanics of the game and spending an afternoon out on the links. Golf is so much more than a game. In fact, it is a gateway to a life of learning that continually evolves not only into a more meaningful and richer professional experience for its students, but it also creates a more profound personal impact.
Golf definitely allows its students to grow in myriad ways, and the Lifelong Learning and Education Program through the PGA opens the door to mastery within the diversity of career opportunities afforded by this wonderful profession for which many have great passion and unwavering commitment.
The PGA Certified Professional Program (CPP) is a career development education opportunity extended to all PGA members regardless of level of experience, inviting them to enhance their abilities both on and off the course, mastering the business of golf, as well. The three pillars associated with this program include golf operations, teaching and coaching, and executive management.
Several of the Midwest Section PGA members have heeded the call and have embraced this unique opportunity to further elevate their respective golf careers. They have worked diligently to acquire additional skills, training, and competencies that employers and clients in the golf arena not only desire but expect.
Brenndan Cooper (Director of Instruction / Staley Farms Golf Club / Kansas City, Missouri:
Actively involved with the Section for 16 years, Brenndan completed the Instruction and Retail certifications because those are the areas he believed would enhance his career and benefit his long-term aspirations. He also anticipates these certifications will help him to reach his goal of becoming a PGA Master Professional. Learning new things is not only enjoyable to Brenndan, but also a fundamental part of developing his resume.
“Any time you have an opportunity to learn and continue your education, it will help advance your career,” he emphasized.
Andy Fisher (Head Golf Professional / Kansas City Country Club / Mission Hills, Kansas):
In addition to his position at KCCC, Fisher is a PGA Master Professional and President of the Midwest PGA Foundation, creating an impressive resume already. A member of the Section since 2011, he has been an integral part of the organization, not only for his talents and skill sets, but also for his passion for learning.
“I’ve always enjoyed continuing education and the challenge to get better,” he expressed. “It is important to me that I continue to pursue these types of programming opportunities, as it helps me to lead by example.”
Fisher earned Certifications in Retail, Golf Operations and Player Development, ultimately completing Master Professional status in Player Development.
“I felt this would prove to be the most versatile program to pursue for my career,” he noted. “No matter the facility or organization, the core importance is to provide and develop opportunities for all players to enjoy the game, no matter skill level, age or time commitment.”
Fisher indicated the program challenged him to think more critically about the programming offered at his facility within its golf operations.
“The exercises that the Master Professional program put me through provided the problem solving skills I continue to use to evaluate our golf programs each year,” he stressed.
Rhett Fregoe (Head Golf Pro / Shoal Creek Golf Course / Kansas City, Missouri):
A Section member since 2021, Fregoe has acquired certification in Golf Operations and General Management and has no regrets in continuing his education in this regard.
“This program is definitely a resume builder,” he noted. “It is worth the time, and I am definitely glad I’ve done this program. It has given me more industry knowledge, allowed me to obtain more MSRs (member service requirements), and has inspired me to take the next step to Master Professional.”
Sean Hanna (Director of Golf / The Country Club at Loch Lloyd / Belton, Missouri):
A Section member since 2013, Hanna earned his certification in Golf Operations/Retail Certification to enhance the business component of his role.
“This certification has positively impacted my career as it gave me more knowledge as to how to operate my business,” explained Hanna. “It better prepared me for overseeing the golf shop.”
Hanna emphasized that while some golf clubs have designated buyers, other clubs prefer to do it themselves. However, that creates a need to understand what the clients want.
“You learn what your members like and you operate and purchase that way,” he expressed. “You understand not only their interests but also what sizes you need to order and what colors. In my world, the merchandise is probably the largest revenue producer and it’s a big deal to know and understand this aspect.”
Steve Harrison (Head Golf Pro / Highland Springs Country Club / Springfield MO):
A Section member since 1992, Harrison completed the Golf Operations Certification about eight years ago. His initial inclination to complete the training was to enhance his skills as a golf teaching professional. However, he realized it took him to a deeper level.
“I am always looking to learn something new,” he noted.
Harrison chose this particular certification to broaden his understanding of golf operations so that he could leverage his skills within myriad aspects of the industry: tournaments, merchandising and running an entire golf operation as opposed to simply having a singular focus.
“I wear many hats,” he emphasized “This certification has given me a broader base of experience. It has elevated my position and has given me more experience in golf shop operations. As a result, it has allowed me to focus not on just one facility but on best practices throughout golf shop operations in the profession as a whole.”
Paul Hooser (PGA Professional / Kansas City Country Club / Mission Hills, Kansas:
Hooser has enjoyed his association with the Midwest Section PGA for nearly 35 years. He obtained his certification in Teaching and Coaching.
“I am all in on Lifelong Learning,” he emphasized. “When it comes to helping golfers with their game, the coach should always be working to learn the latest trends and better ways to improve the whole golfer. If you feel you know it all or even enough. You’re not continuing to advance and move forward.”
Hooser began the Teaching and Coaching certification at a time when he had moved from being an operational manager to embracing more of a full-time coaching role, something for which he has great enthusiasm.
“These programs expose coaches to different schools of thought and best practices,” stated Hooser. “With the completion of training and certification comes recognition of knowledge, accomplishment and expertise.”
Teaching and coaching has always been an integral part of Hooser’s career. Helping others and finding a way for each person to enjoy golf and find his or her own level of success is highly rewarding to him.
“The PGA programs are a means to an end and certainly are well-structured and provide a great starting point for an informational base that leads to progress as a coach.”
Hooser noted that everyone within the profession has something they enjoy the most. For him, it has always been teaching. He encourages everyone to pursue this education as it’s there for the taking.
“The PGA does a great job of providing information and putting it all together,” he said.
J.B. Kim (Head Instructor / Sykes Lady Golf Course / Overland Park, Kansas);
A Section member for 12 years, Kim has completed the certification in Teaching and Coaching, American Development Model. He chose this particular certification in order to accelerate his journey to becoming a leader in the golf industry.
“I enjoyed this program, which has helped me to become a more knowledgeable coach and better teacher,” Kim indicated.
Kim, PGA Class A and Midwest Section Teacher of the Year, appreciates the investment he has made in acquiring this additional knowledge, as it expanded his leadership skills base and paved the path for him to become a better coach. As a result, Kim has demonstrated a person becomes a true leader by doing his best and leading by action and example, not simply on title alone.
Jacque Madison (PGA Career Consultant for PGA of America; Kansas City area and also serving the Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska Sections):
A Section member since 2016, Madison received her specialization in Executive Management and appreciates this opportunity to advance her industry knowledge and leverage her skill sets.
“I feel like it played a large role in my readiness to take on the position I currently have,” expressed Madison, who works with golf employers, PGA members and associates when they need to find talent and/or find a position within the industry.
Although Madison has a strong teaching background and enjoys assisting players on the course, she has a huge passion for helping people advance in this profession and is enthusiastic about how her certification has allowed her to further position others for success. As a result, her eye is constantly on continuing her own education and career goals.
“I hope to finish the certification piece in 2022,” she said.