The business of golf – “The Evening School of Golf”

By Alan Prescott
April 9, 2021

Excerpt from the previous articles and links:

“The business of golf – It takes a village”

The business of golf – ” . . . another professional . . . came from Brooklyn. His name was Wiffey Cox”

“The business of golf – “When your golf game is good, your business is bad.”

Fernandina Beach Golf Course South.

In my previous articles, I have visited the life of a golfing family, that of Ken (the father) and his son John. I have mentioned they were from Brooklyn, New York, as were other families from that area. What is unique to all of these families, other than the geographic location of all of them is their love for the game of golf. Not only does each family have great talent in playing the sport on different levels, they have also given back to the game in their own way, However, for each family, but their journey through their golfing lives has also had similar characteristics. First, the individuals have been exposed to golf by an experienced golfer. Second, they developed a different interest in the sport. Finally, they have pursued different paths in golf and/or the golf business. In this article, the journey of Ken (the father) and John (the son) continues.

The day’s work for the golf staff at the Woodcrest Golf Club in Syosset, New York is over. For the professional staff, it’s time to play, practice and learn. For John, it was time to sit down with his boss, head golf professional Joe Sirico. Joe was a dedicated club professional. He was single, over 50 years old, and dedicated to the members of the club even though the members of the golf club really didn’t appreciate him. To this day, John still remembers the negative comments from members that spewed from their mouths. John, today, still insists that those comments reached Joe’s ears in the pro shop.

However, the negativity didn’t affect John. In the evening, John would sit down with Joe Sirico and talk. John was like a raw piece of clay, ready to be worked into a work of art. Joe was the artist, a talented artist at that. After the work was done, the two used to sit immediately outside of the pro shop door and discuss the next day’s plan first. Joe was constantly available to his members until late in the evening. Joe would give John his practice instructions for the evening. After John did his best at practice, there was a golf lesson or two, followed by a “sitdown” conversation with Joe outside the pro shop.

Instead of dealing with the negativity of the clubhouse, Joe used to enjoy John’s enthusiasm and thirst for golf knowledge. Joe’s list of accomplishments included several courses playing records. He was a “pin-splitter”, a golfer whose shots were so close to the pin that they were called pin-splitters. But, Joe didn’t have the funds or the backing to play tournament golf on the tour. Joe’s real talent was in developing young and upcoming golfers to be golf professionals. John became his protege, or one who is protected or trained or whose career is furthered by a person of experience, prominence or influence.

When the two sat down in the evening, Joe would speak to John in a very direct way. One gem was “The future of a golf professional is with a college education”. That advice was priceless because John’s relationship with Ken had disintegrated and his college education was interrupted by this conflict. In addition to John’s training in the business of golf, Joe taught him the little things that Ken neglected. For example, life instruction from Joe to John was, “don’t shave high up on your cheek because your beard will grow higher up on your face”. Even though that statement is not necessarily true, it solidified John’s trust in other things that Joe was to say in the future.

Another trait that Joe had was the ability to heal and focus on troubled family relations. In this case, even though complete healing between Ken and John was not possible at that time, it was Joe that opened up the dialogue. When John left Joe’s instruction and employment at the Woodcrest Club, finishing his college was his first priority. John’s college education was funded by his father. More importantly, his dream of a career in golf was funded by the nightly education outside of Joe’s golf pro shop at the Woodcrest Club. John had graduated from “The Evening School of Golf.”

In my next article, John’s “journey” in golf continues. The Business of Golf is multi-faceted and offers more than just learning to play and a college education. It has its own education. John is about to enter “Golf School.” You are invited to accompany John to this school.  See you there.

As always, I am Alan Prescott. I welcome your comments at [email protected]

Be safe and stay healthy.

Share this story!