Golf Mgmt in University? Laurier is the place

Interesting to see Grant Fraser’s Golf Management Institute of Canada ink a deal with Laurier University. The deal allows continuing studies students to take an online program in golf operations management. According to Fraser, this is unique in Canada — and I know he was working behind the scenes to put this together for a long time.

Here are the details:
Commencing in March, the first of 10 courses will be available to GMIC students through Laurier’s online course delivery system. After completing the program, students will obtain a Graduate Studies Diploma in Golf Operations Management from the GMIC and a Certificate of Completion in Golf Operations from Wilfrid Laurier University.
GMIC president and Laurier alumni Grant Fraser is enthusiastic about working with Laurier. “This is the first golf management program of any kind to be delivered in partnership with a Canadian university,” said Fraser. “Laurier’s reputation as one of Canada’s leading universities will allow us to continue expanding our program in golf operations management around the world.”
“Continuing Studies is very excited to be launching this new partnership with GMIC,” said Lisa Fanjoy, manager of Laurier’s Continuing Studies department. “This collaboration will allow GMIC students to engage in the Laurier experience, while adding to the diversity of continuing studies program opportunities for the Laurier community.”

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Just wondering if we are not reinventing the wheel here. Does Humber college not have a well recognized program similar in nature. I am not sure if we need another group of graduates hitting the business of golf. The province is saturated with young and educated golf pros not making a great living. Many young pros are leaving the business simply because they want to earn a decent wage.

    Is this program directed at those who can only do distance learning? Is it aimed at those already in the business of golf?

    What sets this apart from Humber’s program? More emphasis on business than golf?



  • Colin makes a valid point here about the payscale of hard working pros in the golf industry out there. The assistants at some of these courses work long hours in the pro shop for a smidge of min wage. Unless you are a head pro, director of golf or head instructor of your own academy, you’re making peanuts. The guys and gals that have kids at home and a spouse, are even worse off cause they can’t provide a decent wage to support the family. Its just not fair that a Mcdonalds employee making a hamburger is a dollar or two per hour behind an assistant pro who’s completed numerous courses and tests to be where he/she is. Something is wrong and the CPGA needs to address this asap.

  • Reduce the entrants to the program by setting proper playing standards…similar to Australia.

    Course pros should be more concerned with helping their course members with improving there respective game than selling them a shirt and taking reservations.

  • neo:

    proper playing standards have nothing to do with teaching ability, management ability (which, realistically, is the majority of the job) or the devaluation of the profession at entry levels.

    and its *their respective game…

  • phil:

    I disagree.

    1) if there is a “glut” of individuals entering the profession, having higher playing standards would help reduce the number. Thereby hopefully increasing their value.

    2) it would be a positive benefit to the profession by starting with individuals who know more about playing well…not wishing they did.

    Re: “and its *their respective game…”
    It;s actually Capital A, apostrophe s.
    Neo…capital N.

  • Neo:

    I have to agree with colin. And I think you have it completely backward. The CPGA has put TOO MUCH emphasis on playing ability while ignoring the business side.

    What does playing ability have to do with operating and managing a successful golf operation?

    As an owner of a golf course why do I care if my head pro (or assistants) can go out and fire a 68?

    Playing ability should be the LAST of concerns for golf course operators.

    Management skills, customer service skills, business accumen, personality should ALL trump golfing ability.

  • What’s the role of a pro? Strikes me that at the upper levels CPGA pros are running medium-size businesses that generate millions in annual revenue. On the public side, I’m not what shooting 68 has to do with that. Do they have to understand and appreciate the game? Absolutely. Should they play their course regularly? I think so. Far too many “good” pros rarely venture out of the shop. But the important part is still the course. But does a pro have to shoot 68 to appreciate the game and understand what those paying green fees want? I don’t see that. I think the business acumen trumps the playing ability now — at least on the public side, though likely on the private side as well.

  • I’ll ride the fence on this debate, in that I see both sides having been a class A CPGA pro for 5+ years, yet having left the business before the age of 30.
    RT is bang on in that business skills are more important than playing ability for the majority of roles across the country. That being said, I think NEO also raises a good point in that there should definitely be increased barriers to entry. Specific to Ontario, you should have to play a little better than 156 strokes over 36 holes off the white tees at Cambridge G.C. to earn accreditation with a professional golf association!
    One aside I will also note from my time of hiring for golfshop & professional staff. Coming out of a PGM program did not mean you were guaranteed a position. From my experience, too many PGM students were interested in playing privileges and equipment packages than the actual job itself.

  • Robert, may I propose an additional lead-in for your article – ‘the first degree-level program offered in Canada focusing on golf club management’ – Georgian College is the place. We launched this 4-year Bachelor of Business ~ Golf Management program in 2008. Though the aim of our program is to prepare graduates to be managers, many of our applicants are bolstering their resumes by preparing for the PATs as we speak.

  • I think there are two parts to this – what makes a good pro(subdivided to head and teaching) and do we have too many good or bad pros out there?

    Golf has always been a sexy business and profession, so young men and women with certain level of skill and interest gravitate towards working in it and older men build and buy their monuments to it. When you are 18, I don’t think you care and I don’t think many people will tell you going into a golf management program that you will most likely be earning 30 at 30 or be out of the business completely at that age.

    Most head pros/directors of golf are managers. Some courses have separate teaching pros while others do not. When we are talking about what makes a good golf pro, I think we have talking about head pros where they are managing a business. Business skills are much more important than golf skills although I wouldn’t want to go out with my pro, shoot a 90 and beat him! A decent level of skill on the course should suffice. I want a nice proshop, good staff, well run events etc. On the teaching side, I want someone who can teach, plain and simple. Having said that, the best players are not necessarily the best teachers but, you want a minimum level of skill.

    My original point was more towards whether or not we need more programs.

    The second part is really the saturation of golf courses, golf sales reps, golf pros,golf equipment…While I applaud the efforts to bring more of any kind of skill to any profession, what is the use in having twenty qualified pros for every job on the market? I have worked a fair bit with pros, courses and sales reps over the years. There are very few who are making more money than they were a few years ago. Any course that is losing its pro today is not hiring a replacement at the same cost these days simply because they don’t have too. If I can hire a good pro at $40,000, why would I pay $50,000 or $70,000 or……

    There are only a few plum head pro positions out there and it takes many years of hard work before getting those offers coming your way. What is the average age of head pro at the ten top private clubs in the GTA?

    I really know nothing in particular about the programs at Humber, Georgian, WLU. They may each have wonderful programs but, I simply wonder if we need so many?


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