ILLUSTRATION BY MADISON KETCHAM
“The last subject I want to talk about, and most importantly, is something we’ve discussed a lot this week. We’ve gone from a demand problem in terms of players to a supply problem. The lack of supply is hours in the day, lack of balance in our members’ lives and a lack of pipeline of talent to replace our aging population … virtually everyone has been asked to raise the bar, to do more with the same, to work insane hours. It’s absolutely unsustainable, and there’s a crisis brewing for facilities that don’t get in front of it. They simply won’t be able to deliver the same level of service in the short-term, much less attract the next generation of talent. We have to shout this message from the rooftops, change the dynamic and restore work-life balance.”
—Seth Waugh, PGA of America CEO, at the PGA annual meeting in November 2021
Editor’s Note: In order to avoid professional consequences, several sources in this story asked to remain anonymous. When a first name only is used, the name has been changed and geographical details have been generalized. When a first name and last name are used, this is the person’s real name and story.
Thanks to his connections, Casey Kermes had forged what looked like the start of a brilliant career. After hurting his back playing college lacrosse, he joined a Professional Golf Management (PGM) program, landed his first internship in Ireland and spent the first four years of his post-college career bouncing between some of the most prominent courses in America as a seasonal assistant pro. Frequent travel was an expectation for ambitious assistants, but money was a problem—he wasn’t even making enough to rent a shared apartment and would often stay in the spare bedroom of the head pro. At his breaking point, he landed a job as a full-time assistant in North Carolina, with the promise that he’d spend most of his time teaching. Instead, when he left the clubhouse at all, he found himself babysitting large groups of kids who didn’t want to be there any more than he did.
At 26, he took stock of his career. He felt like “a glorified McDonald’s checkout person,” his golf game was dismal—he had played just five full rounds in two years—and he was working anywhere from 60 to 90 hours per week depending on the season. The concept of having a normal romantic relationship, much less a wife and kids, was a joke. And dealing with members could be a nightmare; he vividly remembers the day when he told a board member that her foursome couldn’t start on the second hole, and she chewed him out and did it anyway. There was another board member in the group she skipped, and he marched into the golf shop to yell at Casey for letting it happen. Both members, incidentally, were millionaires. Casey was making $30,000.
This article is from Golf Digest, read it entirely by clicking HERE