Daniel Rettig is the PGA professional at one of the “bridge clubs” of Buffalo-Niagara. Tri-County country club sits south of the southtowns, as WNY edges its way toward the Pennsylvania border. Daniel was not certain until his post-college years that a career in golf was in the plans. Fortunately for the members at Tri-County, it was. It is our pleasure to present an interview with the Tri-County country club golf professional, Daniel Rettig.
1. Tell us your name and how you got interested/involved in golf as a youth.
– My name is Daniel Rettig and I have played this great sport since I was 8 years old. I got started with lessons at Briarwood and East Aurora Country Club. My love for the game grew with each lesson and quickly because a passion of mine. For me it was all about family. The opportunity to spend full days with my father and grandfather was extremely special.
2. Tell us a bit about your competitive golf experience in your younger days.
– I played a lot in high school. I was a golfer for Hamburg High School and thought the game was easy. I finished my senior season at Hamburg with a great average but gave the game up for a while. After college I rededicated myself to the game and eventually embarked on the PGA Apprenticeship program.
– I graduated with a degree in Physical Education from St. Bonaventure and a Masters degree in Sport Administration from Canisius College. I worked for the Buffalo Bills for a while but still had a passion for golf. It wasn’t until I was working part-time at Dicks Sporting Goods under a PGA professional named Steve Hurst. He encouraged me to check out the PGA programs. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I now go to work everyday with great people, great members, and new challenges. I love my job.
4. Give us bit of history on the clubs you have represented as an assistant or head professional.
– Prior to taking the Head Professional job at Tri-County Country Club, I was employed by Fox Valley in Lancaster NY. In 2 years there I learned so much about what this business was all about and how to be a professional. Since then I’ve assumed the role of General Manager and Head Professional at Tri-County. I have an excellent team in place here now and we are really making great strides in terms of our overall health at Tri-County.
5. Run down the responsibilities of a club professional, including the tasks that might not be apparent to members and guests.
– Being a Head Professional is so much more than being behind the counter and teaching lessons. Now you are contacting outing groups, managing tee time inventory online, updating databases, and managing the most important asset at the club, your employees. In my situation I am managing payroll, operating the golf merchandise concession, ensuring finances are in order, serving as the membership director, and overseeing food and beverage.
6. As a teaching professional, what are the most important tenets of your teaching philosophy?
– My biggest concern in teaching is making sure that I do not teach everyone the same way. Everybody is different and every individual has a different swing, so it is important that you work with what each student is able to do. Its also important to know what goals your students have. Some people want to be elite players while others just want not embarrass themselves in front of their buddies. In this case it probably wouldn’t make sense to teach them the same way.
7. Give us an idea of your recent competitive history. Also, what do you work on to stay sharp
– With my job description changing over the years, as clubs try to do more with less, this is the one area where I need to find more time. I struggle to find the time to make it out to competitive events. I will be making a more concerted effort to playing sectional events in 2017, which is an area that I’ve missed over the past 2 or 3 years.
8. In competition, on what do you focus to achieve your greatest success? We know that golf and competitive golf are dissimilar, so what does a professional rely on (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically) to compete his best?
– My biggest thing is trying to stay in the moment. Taking golf one shot at a time is hard in golf but it is still the best advice I can give a player. Thinking about your total score or how you need to start making birdies is not how you score well. You have to be able to shrug off the bad shots and not let them spiral out of control. The highs and lows of this game can beat you down if you let them.
9. What question haven’t we asked, that you wish we would? Ask it and answer it, please.
– What are your thoughts about Junior Golf?
– Junior golf is an area that I am extremely passionate about and my background in Physical Education has impacted how I approach the junior golf program at Tri-County. Too many times we have 30-40 junior golfers and we just teach them on the range and then let them play. At Tri-County we now use stations and movement/coordination activities along with golf and “near-golf” experiences. Last year we had soccer, croquet, and Frisbee golf as part of our junior golf curriculum. This keeps kids active and moving so that there is less down time and more engagement. We also ran our own Drive, Chip, and Putt competition. Our program has been very well received by both kids and parents. Its important that we as PGA professionals continue to evaluate how we teach children to ensure they are having FUN at the golf course. If they are not having fun then why would they want to spend their free time here??? Children are the life blood of our game, but we have to change with the times too and make sure that golf is still attractive for future generations.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to tell my story!