In his fifteenth year as a PGA Professional, Luke Young remains passionate about developing his skillset, expanding his offering and learning as much as possible about the industry that has given him so much.
Currently completing the Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management with the PGA Institute, Young is finding that hitting the books is helping him to thrive in his role as assistant General Manager/ Director of Golf at the Northern Golf Club.
“It has been beneficial in a practical sense, because the tasks that I’m doing for the assessment are things I am currently doing in my job anyway, Young detailed. “It’s making my outcome at work better, because you get some ideas from the modules you’re doing – It’s been a really good start.”
Having begun his PGA Associateship at Heidelberg in 2005, Young has worked right throughout the golf industry. In the golf shop and coaching on the range at first, he moved on to run his own business; operating coaching services out of Yarrambat in Melbourne’s North.
“I really enjoyed that process and wanted to develop my coaching during those years,” he recalled.
A desire for increased stability, however, led him to accepting the Director of Golf role at Eastwood Golf Club. A position he held for three years, Young came to enjoy the administration side of the game.
“Being behind the scenes and pulling the strings can be particularly rewarding when things come together and you see the outcome working,” he said. “I think PGA Professionals are best placed to do it (working in club management), with a range of experience you just have a better sense of what will work and what the membership is after.
“Grounding as a PGA Professional makes it much easier to put all these different hats on; from changing a keg, signing up a member, giving a ruling or helping behind the till, the days are always so diverse.”
A man in demand, Young returned to Heidelberg to run the golf shop on a contract basis for a further six years in 2014. The chance to balance a level of stability while still having the opportunity to coach, Young was also able to impart some of his knowledge onto the next generation of PGA Professionals.
“I had five Associates go through their Associateship under me during that time,” he said. “That was really rewarding and now to see them progress through the industry on their own journey is great.”
As the broader golf industry boomed in the wake of the pandemic, Young made the move to Northern, where he started out coaching and club-fitting, before the management and administration side of the game came calling once again.
“The club asked me to split my week with twenty hours of coaching and twenty hours of golf operations,” Young explained. “I was keen to dive into the operational side of things again and after six months, we had achieved a lot.”
Not one to overstate it, Young completely redesigned the website, completed an overhaul of the club’s marketing, oversaw a change to all online systems, as well as an updated point-of-sale.
“I was really enjoying it and getting an insight into how the club works,” he laughed.
From there, the team at Northern was more than willing to support Young’s progress, agreeing to fund his study with the PGA Institute; their preparedness to invest in his development accompanied by a promotion to his current role.
Young’s chance to bring together his range of experience and take Northern’s offering to the next level, he believes that the process of ongoing education is vital for PGA Professionals looking to keep up in a rapidly changing industry.
“The golf industry is changing so much at the moment,” he explained. “Operationally, it is moving so quickly with technology and the general attitude towards getting more and more people involved.
“I really think that the training that is available is the best way to understand how to communicate effectively with current and prospective golfers alike.”
A firm believer that the current trend is taking golf in the right direction, Young is keen to use his rapidly expanding skillset to be at the forefront.
“I would love to be a General Manager one day and to run a facility that is quite literally open to everyone,” he says. “From the steady weekly member, to someone who just wants to come for lunch and has no idea how to hit a golf ball, that level of inclusion and diversity of experience is where I want to head.”
A noble ambition, Young knows that he is giving himself every chance to achieve that dream.
“The whole industry is opening up, golf clubs are becoming facilities for everyone to enjoy and embracing education and training helps to make us better at driving that.”
For more information on the PGA Institute and the courses available to everybody, click HERE