Dangit! Need to get into the head of db_straitvibin.
please follow up with urgency
Dangit! Need to get into the head of db_straitvibin.
please follow up with urgency
Butch, Claude, BIlly and/or Craig Harmon. Short of landing one of them, any one of the assistants from their teaching academies would have a good mix of stories (Pro, elite junior, crazy helicopter parents, rich people with no clue how to play).
I would love a podcast with George Gankas.
To answer some of Caddie Coverall questions re:agents business managers
Best start as an agent or business manager is a background in finance, accounting or law. Then somehow find a foot in the door as an intern for a big agency. Also helps to have connections to high level golf before you begin, such as playing at a major college program like Wake Forest. Be willing to hear “no” a lot. Or you can be lucky enough to have a PGA Tour player grow up as your childhood friend, like me.
What an agent does depends on the agent or manager and his relationship with the player he represents. Chubby Chandler was a Tour player who had a reputation for knowing where the best, cheapest travel bargains could be found. After he stopped playing, players sought him out for travel advice and one thing led to another. But far more common I think is to be a CPA or lawyer and have a non superstar player ask for some help with something small, and grow it from there. Some managers for top players book travel, attend lots of events, and basically provide 24/7 help and advice on anything a player needs. Others very rarely attend a tour event because all a non-star player really needs is someone to figure out his taxes and provide advice on financial planning.
Biggest difference between the business of pro golf to professional sports is the independent contractor aspect. Professional golfers set their own schedules, hire their own coaches, and figure out their own travel from event to event. A big difference for managers in other sports is an agent receives a % of players contract. Whereas in golf most managers receive a % of endorsements and outings, but not on course earnings. Another big difference is I’ve never had to bail anyone out of jail or pay someone to drop an assault charge.
Yes I am a golfer, a very mediocre one. I probably play 75 rounds a year. Maybe 25 are with someone I represent or a potential sponsor. Yes we sometimes get to play and stay in nice places. An occasional round at Seminole or Augusta does not stink. But I also stay in plenty of red roof inns. If you want lots of free golf at nice places, become a golf travel blogger.
No, even PGA Tour Pro’s cannot play anywhere they want anytime they want. If they want to play Augusta, Pine Valley etc they need to have a member sponsor them just like anyone else. Yes it’s obviously a lot easier to find someone to sponsor them. No they cannot bring friends along for a practice round if they qualify for the Masters. Some pro’s (like Zac Blair obviously) enjoy playing as many great courses as they can. For others, the last thing they want to do on an off week is more travel and more golf.
Sponsorships are really divided into 3 categories. Large deals with large companies. Spieth with AT&T etc. Most of those type decisions are driven by the same metrics as any media buy - TV exposure, target audience, social media presence etc. And of course a good relationship with the C-Suite certainly helps. They’ll involve long lead times necessitated by multiple levels of sign off at the Corporation involved, time to develop a marketing plan and shoot commecials etc. etc.
The second category are what I would call personal relationship deals. A player plays a pro am with someone who owns his own company or is VP of Marketing, they hit it off, and it eventually leads to the player putting the company logo on his bag or shirt. Or a player has a good relationship with someone from his hometown or home golf club. These usually aren’t huge $ deals (think 5 figures) but a couple of them can definitely cover enough of a players travel expenses that he’s already at break even for the year before he hits a shot.
The third category is what I’ll call equipment deals. That will often involve something like a player using at least 11 of a manufacturers clubs -must include the driver, wearing the manufacturers hat, and using the manufacturers staff bag. A ball/shoe/glove deal is sometimes a separate deal, sometimes the same. These deals are often multi year, but with bonuses for wins and high finishes in Fedex standing, and huge haircuts if a player drops down to Web. It can get a little complicated when a player wants to use a TaylorMade driver, Callaway irons and a Titleist golf ball. Players get free clothes, but that’s about it unless you see a large logo from the clothing company somewhere prominent.
I go to 4-6 events a year. I like to go to events where I can get the most accomplished in the shortest amount of time. That usually means lower profile events with less media, family and friends taking players attention. I’ll attend majors if I have a player in the field. Those weeks I’m usually helping the player by helping his family and friends. Everything from picking up mom at the airport to washing the sheets in the rental house on Sunday night so we can get the deposit back.
I don’t know enough about golf to tell you how it’s changing. I guess like everyone else I see the ball going farther and kids coming out of college stronger and bigger then ever. But I have no idea what golf looks like 20 years from now.
A unique challenge would be their taxes! They have to file a return for every state they play a tournament or pro am in. Something you probably don’t know is they do have a pension program. It’s based on how many cuts you make in your career. But you have to play 15 events on the PGA tour in 5 separate seasons to be vested. Another thing I’ll mention is just how professional and solidly run the PGA Tour is. The staff at the Tour HQ are knowledgeable and helpful no matter how crazy a question I have, and no matter what the status of the Tour, Web or Canadian Tour player. It really is a well oiled machine.
One rule I would change is the awarding of restricted exemptions to the same player multiple times in a year. I think a tourney sponsor should be able to do whatever they want with the unlimited exemptions, but the same Web Final grad shouldn’t get more than X restricted starts a year.
My biggest fear is probably accidentally tripping a player on the range or bumping them with my rental car in the parking lot. That probably wouldn’t be good. I’m also so terrified of forgetting to register a player for a tournament that I won’t do it - my guys all register themselves. There have been occasions when a player showed up for an event that he was not registered for.
Hope this helps. I can promise most of it isn’t as interesting as it sounds after you’ve done it a couple of times. But I do feel awfully lucky that I’ve gotten the opportunity to do it.
My agent-ing knowledge would fill about a 4 minute interview. Lol. So I will pass.
Now if Soly wants to discuss collecting rare golf books, I’m 100% in.
Wow! Great info. I’m so glad you brought up taxes. That was something I was most curious about but didn’t want to look like a nerd for discussing taxes on a golf blog…how is the pension paid? A portion of earnings?
Defined contribution per cut made. Standard investment options. Forced withdrawals after inactive playing period.
I like the jeff knox suggestion but im afraid he wouldnt agree to it / wouldnt say sh*t about ANGC
Really awesome post. Wish I had an in to be a part of the business or that I pursued finance/law now. Living in Canada doesn’t help much either.
Yeah, I’m afraid you’re right.
As an accountant, I didn’t ever think taxes would be discussed in this forum
@Soly OK, I’ve hit the first Uihlein pod and the trip to Ireland pod. Soly you are a master interviewer and the Uihlein insights were spectacular, but I loved the Ireland debrief. I’ve played, Lahinch, Waterville, Tralee, Ballybunion and Old Head. your descriptions and thoughts were wonderful to wake up my memories. Thanks!!
Also, I had to play Ballybunion at sunrise, but there was no sun as it was 45 degrees, steady drizzle, and 20mph winds. And that was in August.
Absolutely loved it. Could easily do a membership there and play it for rest of life. Ha ha. I carried my clubs and walked it, but my dad got a caddy who was a young lady from town–just charming and totally open about life in the area and making our experience the best possible. It’s like @Soly, said, in the most genuine way they want visitors to have a great experience. West Ireland folks are good people. The course is magnif, fits the terrain nicely and great views, but very challenging. Superb upkeep of fairways and greens, but menacing dunes and elevation changes.
I’d like to see more people who aren’t necessarily in the spotlight who could give some behind the scenes stories. Several have been mentioned already, tour truck guys, tournament directors, agents. Most of us play golf but aren’t “in” golf and have imagined some type of golf career. What do tour reps do? What is it like to caddy for tourist hacks at an course on the Open rota? What are the challenges of being a GM at a major resort or club?
Not sure if this has been mentioned but talking to Mike Davis or Kerry Haigh about setting up championship golf courses would be interesting. Or any person who has the responsibility to set up tournaments (pin locations, rough height, green speed, etc) for that matter. I think as viewers, we all complain but it would be fun to see the methods of madness that goes into setting up a course for 4 days.
I think is a great idea, especially for us hard core golf nerds. I would love to hear the process from equipment guys on how pros get fitted, especially when they switch equipment companies. How many balls to Rory have to hit, to feel like the driver is ready? How different is Tiger? Have they ever had any requests they couldn’t accommodate?