I’ve been the Head Professional for 15 years at Whispering Pines and worked at historic Colonial for 10 years before taking this job. Have been awarded The Harvey Penick Award for best teacher three times along with US KIDS Top 50 instructors in the United States.
Merchandiser of the year 2013 along with publishing two books, hundreds of articles in Texas Links Magazine and dozens of articles in PGA Magazine. Proud father of three boys with my oldest following in dad’s footsteps as a golf professional at Valhalla in Kentucky and Seminole Golf Club in Florida. Very blessed to be the Head Professional at the best club in Texas.
THE ROWE STORY —
Arriving at East Central University on a golf scholarship was an eye opener for me to see the talent in college golf. As a two-time All-State golfer in Oklahoma I thought my game was really good until we started qualifying and it became apparent my game needed work. One of my teammates was David Bryan, whose dad was the Head Professional at Southern Hills in Tulsa. Seeing David show up every week with the best clubs, cool clothes and new golf balls made me curious about the golf business.
It was apparent my game wasn’t good enough to go further after college golf and my passion for the game would never let me choose a job that didn’t involve golf. My sophomore year of college I put a sign on the bulletin board at the Tishomingo Golf Course for golf lessons.
The objective was to give five lessons a week at $10 per hour to have gas money. Within a few weeks my lesson schedule was booked with 30 lessons per week over a three day period. This increased my passion and desire to become a golf professional and led to me getting my first job at Dornick Hills Country Club in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The goal from there was to move on to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, which would allow me to get a great Head Professional job. After ten years of living in a fabulous city and working at a historic course the opportunity came open at Whispering Pines Golf Club. Whispering Pines was the opportunity of a life-time to help a new club find their culture. Creating the golf culture and helping our club move into the top 100 rankings with every major magazine has been a blessing.
You wake up in the morning – what’s the driving passion?
How and what can we do to make Whispering Pines better!
What qualities separate an excellent club professional from simply a good one?
The great ones rise to the top and separate themselves. Great professionals always are looking to improve in every facet of their profession. The good ones are content with their paycheck and do what needs to be done, but never go above and beyond.
You are the central golf person at Whispering Pines. What makes the job rewarding for you?
Mentoring my staff, continuing to create and evolve the culture of the club, watching our club gain status in the golf world.
From a time perspective — how much is spent administratively, playing golf with either members or staff, teaching and club fitting?
My main objective is to be seen by every member and guest who comes through the gates. Managing my time with a national type of membership makes it more necessary to be visible than a normal country club. We have members who might only play once a season and missing that face-time with them takes six months to have another opportunity. I make sure I’m in the professional shop or spirit hall between 11:00 &1:00 every day. This is the time where the majority of the golfers are all in this area and I’m able to converse and spend time with them and their guests. If a member asks me to play golf I always make it a point to play a few holes with them and their guests. It’s very hard for me to spend five hours on the course and miss 70% of the members who teed off afterwards. My teaching schedule is limited to three hours per day with lessons being split between morning and afternoon and never three hours back to back.
If someone says they are interested in being a club professional — what would you tell them?
Love golf Not playing golf! You have to love the game, talking about it, living it, breathing it every day. If you only want to play go try the tour!
Customer service is often touted by many in the golf industry. Define the term as it relates to your role as a golf professional.
Out think the members! If we know our member likes diet coke he should have a diet coke in his cart before he leaves the range. I was playing with a member one day at his club in Dallas and he mentioned he and his wife were going to spend her birthday at Whispering Pines. I asked him the exact date they were coming and what type of cake she likes. I gave our chef a call and asked him to have a chocolate cake for them when they came to dinner. The member didn’t ask for this, but great customer service doesn’t need to have someone ask.
You’ve got a bucket list location to play — where would it be and what three other people — alive or dead — would round out your foursome?
Eddie Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, Seve Ballesteros — with all of us playing Whispering PInes.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Speed up the game!
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA Tour, LPGA – are all seeking ways to attract Millennials, women and minorities to the sport. If you were counseling them — what would you advise they be doing to accomplish that goal?
Make golf cool and fun! Most of the people mentioned look at golf as a snobby sport old guys play. Top Golf is doing a great job of getting people interested in the game!
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Roland Harper former golf pro at Colonial for 33 years “Treat every member the same and you will never have to worry who is on the board.”