The PGA placement programme is designed to provide both registered assistants and qualified PGA Members with placement opportunities where they can gain a broader understanding of the global golf industry and gain new experiences associated with working overseas. Roles will primarily be located in the Middle East, Southern Europe and Asia.
Sam Maltby took part on the PGA Placement Programme last year and landed a dream role at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong. Sam talks about how the programme has been a huge benefit to his career development and the facility itself.
What made you want to take part in the PGA Placement Programme?
Before starting with The PGA I studied a degree at Bournemouth University and during my third year there I also did a work placement for nine months at a golf club called Frenchman’s Creek in West Palm Beach, Florida. I really enjoyed my time there and particularly liked living abroad in a warmer climate. I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to try living abroad again at some point. Before moving to Hong Kong I was working at The Grove for two-and-half years and again learnt a lot and had a very enjoyable time there. I got promoted to Senior Assistant after 18 months and a year or so into that role I felt I was ready to challenge myself a little further so began to see if there were any other roles around that I thought suited what I was looking for.
How did your placement at Clearwater Bay come about?
I saw an advert for a placement at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong. The role was initially the biggest attraction as the placement advertised was to learn the role of a director of golf and gain a broader understanding of how the entire golf facility and country club operates from a managerial perspective. I looked on the website and it was obvious to see that the golf course was of a very high standard. This combined with the other facilities on site including a six-hole academy course, marina and country club, not to mention the incredible views meant it didn’t take much convincing to apply. It all happened pretty quickly but I sent an email, had a skype interview and got the job and moved out September 2018.
How long was your placement and what benefits did you receive?
The placement was for six months (end of September to the end of March). For the six months I got a base salary plus accommodation and transport to and from work every day. Accommodation is extremely expensive in Hong Kong so this was a huge help.
What have been your roles and duties during your time at Clearwater Bay?
I was very fortunate that I spent large amounts of my time shadowing the general manager, director of golf and the facility’s deputy director of golf / head professional. This gave me a great insight into how they run the facility day-to-day overcome problems and look to improve the overall member and visitor experience. In addition to this I spent time covering all aspects of golf operations:
- Day to day operational roles.
- Preparing and running tournaments (both club and corporate).
- Playing with members.
- Golf course set up.
- Attended internal and external meetings.
We also run a PGA Tour China event – The Clearwater Bay Open – annually so I helped out in all areas in the lead up and during the tournament. This year we will again be having the event in October as well as a large Asia Pacific amateur team competition, The Nomura Cup in November. Since making my role permanent I’ve continued all previous duties, taken on the role of looking after the ladies section and provide lessons to members and visitors. We have a fantastic six-hole academy course and simulator room and the club run a community outreach programme so bring in lots of schools to help encourage kids to get into golf.
What help and support have you received from your golf facility and PGA Professional during your time there?
Clearwater Bay and the professionals have given me great support. Sharing their experiences with how they run a high-end golf and country club, look to make improvements to both the golf course and facility and have given me freedom to gain experience in areas that I feel will most benefit me moving forward. They also sent me to the PGA Members’ International Conference in 2018 which I will again be attending later this year in Thailand.
How do you think you have been a benefit to the facility?
I think I’ve been of a benefit to the facility to help identify and improve an already well-run model. In addition to this I feel that I have helped improve the overall member and guest experience.
What has been the main benefit in terms of your career development?
I feel that there has been numerous benefits to me making the move to Asia. From a career stand point it’s helped broaden my horizons and made me feel that I’m capable of performing a higher role when the time is right. From a personal perspective I feel it has made me grow as a person and I’ve had the opportunity to travel and experience new things that I never would have done by staying in England.
What has been the highlight of the placement?
Every day I get to come into work at a place where the golf course, views, facilities and atmosphere are up there with the best in the world makes the whole experience a highlight.
What advice would you give to others considering the placement programme?
My advice would be if you’re thinking about trying a placement abroad then give it a go. I’d never been to Asia before moving out to Hong Kong but thought that if I didn’t move now; the older I got, the more difficult it would be. I’ve moved around quite a lot but moving to a completely different part of the world with different cultures was definitely outside of my comfort zone. There are things that took me a while to adjust to but I feel it’s been beneficial to me as an individual and for my future career.
If you have any further questions regarding the PGA placement programme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.