If you have the opportunity to enter the magic kingdom that is the Peek’n Peak resort, on the NY/PA border, you’ll not soon forget your stay. Dwayne Randall gets to enter it on a daily basis, when he’s not competing with the best in WNY and beyond. Randall is also the marketing director for the WNY PGA, and is tasked with helping director Steve Bartkowski portray the local association of PGA professionals accurately and fluidly. It makes sense to have Dwayne Randall featured early in our 2017 Interview Series on BuffaloGolfer.Com, so let’s not delay any longer.
Q: Tell us your name and how you got interested/involved in golf as a youth.
A:My name is Dwayne Randall, PGA professional at Peek’n Peak Resort. My first time playing golf was during a college golf team tryouts my freshman year. My friends were going to try because it was free and they convinced me to go along. After 4 days of tryouts, I shot 106, 102, 103 and 99, not bad considering my first attempt at golf. My friends scored better than I did and that was all the motivation I needed to get better quickly. I decided to go to the course every chance I could to improve my ability. Despite being winter, I hit balls and practiced almost every day until spring. During that time, the college coach, who was also a PGA professional noticed that I was diligently working on my game. He gave me my one and only golf lesson to this day. He showed me the proper fundamentals and from there, I excelled quickly. By spring I was shooting in the low 80’s and even shot 75. I found out that the golf team was a spring sport and that the “tryouts” I participated in the fall did not count toward making the team. The real tryouts were in the spring. I proceeded to try out for the team shooting 82, 78, 77, 79 and made the team.
Q: Tell us about your competitive golf experience in your younger days.
A: I learned early in my career that casual golf and competitive golf are completely different. My first year playing on the golf team, I learned to play strategically around the course. I did not play very well my first year and that may have helped me later in my career. I learned that you need to keep your emotions in check and concentrate on one shot at a time.
Q: What epiphany did you have that led you to the PGA of America and a club professional position?
A: My college golf coach, a PGA Professional, hired me to work in the golf shop. I got to see him in his role as a PGA Professional and thought “that looks like a fun way to make a living”. He showed me what it took to be a good PGA Professional. It was then I knew I wanted to pursue a career in golf.
Q: Give us a bit of history on the clubs you have represented as an assistant or head professional.
A: I started my career working with my golf coach as an assistant professional at a municipal golf course. I later assumed the head professional position. Since that time I have worked at a variety of golf clubs including public, municipal, and private. I am currently in my tenth season as Director of Golf at Peek ‘N Peak Resort.
Q: Run down the responsibilities of a club professional, including the tasks that might not be apparent to members and guests.
A: There are many responsibilities and requirements for a PGA professional. The most important ones I feel are:
-Work harmoniously with people
-Oversee a staff that is committed to providing 1st class service and a memorable experience
-Provide quality golf instruction
-Represent the facility by participating in PGA section events and programs
-Provide a 1st class tournament experience
-Prepare annual budgets, capital expenditures and manage all financial aspects of day to day operations
-Work closely with marketing and sales departments
-Serve as a rules official/expert
-Manage all aspects of golf retail
-Oversee golf course maintenance to insure good business practices are followed as well as a great product is provided simultaneously.
Q: As a teaching professional, what are the most important tenets of your teaching philosophy?
A: There are many aspects to providing great instruction. I believe there are a few keys to playing good golf. Obviously good fundamentals (grip, posture, stance, and club path) are essential, but after that two keys I believe are balance and target orientation. Controlling a golf shot requires good balance regardless of the shot or club. When I say “target” I mean for every shot, you must focus on your target. It may be a spot in the fairway, a position on the green or a line during a putt. Every single professional golfer focuses on a target for every shot. If you focus on your target, you will instinctively hit better shots resulting in better scores.
Q: Give us an idea of your recent competitive history. Also, what do work on to stay sharp?
A: Since I moved to WNY in 2008, I have been fortunate to play well. I have been the WNYPGA Player of the Year five times. Most recently I have competed in South Florida against some of the best PGA professionals in the country. As far as staying sharp, I rely on feel. I do not practice. I play once a week in tournaments and by doing so I am able to stay sharp enough to be competitive. When I play, I rely on good balance and concentrate on my target (practice what you preach).
Q: 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?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I focus on good balance and my target. During my career I have been fortunate to shoot “59” four times. During all of those rounds, the only swing thought I had was my target. I truly believe if you only focus on your target, you will subconsciously make small corrections during your swing in the event your swing is not in the proper position. I believe most golf professionals rely on good fundamentals and proper course management to achieve success. A positive attitude can be a great asset while playing. It can help with both the highs and lows of a competitive round. The ability to forget the last shot or hole and focus on the current shot will provide you with the best chance to score well.
Q: What question haven’t we asked, that you wish we would? Ask it and answer it, please.
A: If I could change one thing about golf today, what would it be and why?
Quicken the pace of play. I feel one of the biggest deterrents with golf is the amount of time it takes out of the day. The initiative needs to start with the tour. Twosomes on the PGA tour taking five hours is a bad precedent. A foursome should be able to play 18 holes in four hours. Obviously there are factors that affect pace of play, (skill level, course conditions, and weather) but even then a foursome should never exceed 4 ½ hours. A quicker pace of play would benefit all. A quicker pace of play would benefit golfers by taking less time out of the day and golf facilities would be able to have more players in a day.