FOCUS talks with Pro Golfer Andrew Walkley, who runs the pro shop at the Armidale Golf Course. We find out what it’s like to work, live and breathe Golf …
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Sydney; I moved to Armidale around five and a half years ago with my family.
What brought you up here?
Mainly the opportunity to run my own business in the golfing industry. I’ve been playing golf for the last 35 years, and I’ve been pro for the last 20.
What makes you a pro level golfer?
Well, you start by doing an apprenticeship. I did my three year apprenticeship that involves academic, playing, assessments and exams as well. It’s pretty full on; it’s about 60 to 70 hours per week, because you have to play golf, do assessments and assignments and hold down a full-time job, which is a requirement.
Take us through a day in the life of a pro golfer.
My day starts early. I get to the shop around 6:30am to get all the carts, pull buggies, any sale items I want on display. To get the shop ready for the day, I’m getting all the competition scorecards, timesheets and till floats ready.
We start to see golfers arrive from about 7:30am and onwards. I would have already done my newsletter with last week‘s results, programs, weekly specials and information about upcoming events.
Then it’s time to catch up on some paperwork, do some ordering and general catching up on the day. After the competition fields have finished around 1pm, I’ll start coaching.
Tell us a little bit about your coaching structure.
Well, to start off the day I will have a few individual lessons, around about 4:30 I’ll have the Special Olympics group come in, then finish off with another individual coaching lesson after that. People are always wanting to learn different skills, including chipping, putting, bunkers, driving or general swing coaching.
I do a video analysis of the lessons with voice overs, and upload to what I call their training space. They can then log into the training space via app or computer and review the lesson.
When are your busiest times?
Weekends will generally be quite busy; during school holidays I do lots of courses for juniors. After Christmas and New Year I generally take a small little break with my family. Golfing wise, over the Christmas and New Year’s break is probably one of the busiest times of the year.
Every Saturday is our busiest day of the week; we generally have over 100 golfers on the course.
What’s your weekly schedule look like?
At the moment I’m working here six days a week; obviously running a business you have to be heavily involved. I generally have Sundays off and I wouldn’t want to count the hours I do a week (laughs). Today alone is a 12 hour day, and I’ve had three of them since last week, so the hours add up quickly.
When it comes to playing golf yourself, how often do you get out on the course?
I try to get out at least once a week, if not twice; although sometimes it can be once every three weeks! I get to hit a few balls during lessons just to keep my game up.
Any big plans for 2018?
I’d like to change the format of the shop, possibly removing a few walls, changing the look and feel. I’m thinking of creating an indoor putting studio, for putting training and fitting.