Posted: 1 May 2012
Have you read the latest issue of Score Golf Magazine? You may have noticed the latest Titleist Ad featuring Doug Rankin, Head Professional at the prestigious Toronto Golf Club. If you haven't already done so, pick up the Spring issue and check it out.
Here is a Q&A with Doug, discussing his path to becoming a golf professional, the importance of mentorship and his advise for younger amateurs and aspiring golf professionals.
How and When did you decide that you wanted to become a Golf Professional? I started cleaning clubs at the Sarnia Golf Club as a 13 year old and by the time I was 16, I was working in the Pro Shop and absolutely loved dealing with the members who were there to enjoy the game. I was hooked on the thought of being in the business of golf and pursued a University degree program that allowed me to go to school and intern in the business.
Who were your mentors as you progressed in the golf industry?I had some great opportunities in my apprentice years. Clearly, Warren Crosbie was a great mentor. While at Bayview, Mr. George Clifton was a hero to me and taught me a lot about the game. I'm forever grateful to Pro's Neil Armstrong, Peter Boyce and Bill Walsh for getting me started and headed in the right direction.
Is there one experience with a mentor that you continue to think about and draw upon today?So many great experiences throughout the years, I guess everyone found a way to emphasize the thought of "enjoy and respect the game and always work on improving professional skills along the way".
Do you have any advice for younger amateurs and golf professional aspiring to progress within the industry?The main thought is to love the game and the respect the people who play and work in the industry. There are so many incredibly smart, successful people in golf and it amazes me how keen the leaders are to share their experiences and knowledge, whether it's teaching or merchandising, organizing events, etc. So search out some of the leaders in our industry and ask questions, go to seminars, get involved in the business of golf! The golf business is so enjoyable but it's hard work. Young people have to come into the business willing and prepared to "roll up their sleeves" and work long hours to be successful.
What makes Toronto Golf Club such a special place?The Toronto Golf Club is steeped in history and tradition and it's really considered the "epicentre" for the game within the Canadian PGA. Mr. George Cumming was the Head Professional at the Club from 1900 when he came over from Scotland until 1950 when he retired. We've only had five Head Golf Professionals in the Club's history, which dates back to 1876. There's a board of past Professionals and former Assistants on the wall in the teaching area and it's a "who's who" of great Professionals in our industry, dating back to the early 1900's. The members of the Club respect and honour the game and they treat the Professionals and staff with the greatest respect. Toronto Golf Club is an H.S. Colt golf course and it's a masterpiece. It's important that people know about Colt's architectural genius. It's that good!
With a challenging Canadian climate, how important has the indoor golf academy become to your members?Having the indoor facility has proven to be a great asset for the Club. It allows our qualified CPGA Professionals to work with our keen members throughout the off-season and with the help of some terrific teaching software, launch monitors and fitting carts, we can really get some great results once the green grass season begins. We rarely sell a single golf club without doing a proper fitting, so the indoor facility allows us to work with the member to insure the proper specs are built into their new Titleist 910 driver or AP2 irons, for example.