‘I Still Learn Something Everyday’: Scott Paris, PGA, on Succeeding at the Golf Industry’s Highest Levels
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
A time was when a PGA Professional would reach the Head Professional position and then be stalled in his/her progress up the corporate ladder.
These days, nearly nine percent of PGA Members carry a classification that indicates a management role at their facility, and the percentage grows when you add in Directors of Instruction or Directors of Golf — two titles that also carry management responsibilities.
This means that, although most PGA Professionals choose a career in golf because they love the game, and likely started by cleaning carts and manning the club shop, there are many long-term leadership options.
Scott Paris is one of these leaders in the New Jersey PGA Section. Paris started his career in golf at Bucknell University in 1980. Paris worked with a renowned clubmaker where he learned how to fit and repair golf clubs. The other job was in the bag room at Hartford Country Club in Connecticut. He learned the importance of creating value and supporting members in private club membership.
Today, as the Chief Operating Officer and PGA Director of Golf at the historic Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey — host of the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open — Paris’ role includes a variety of responsibilities as he works in close collaboration with his department heads to provide a stellar member experience with every interaction.
“We want them to drive away from Plainfield at the end of the day thinking, ‘I cannot wait to do that again!’” says Paris, the 2013 PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities. “That’s a service-minded golf industry leader.”
Paris manages all revenues as well as expenses. He has a productive partnership with Board of Trustees and works on strategic planning. He also enjoys playing golf with his members regularly. Playing tournament golf is important to Paris, too — he competes regularly in New Jersey PGA Section events and even qualified for the 74th U.S. Senior Open in 2019.
“With more than three decades of experience in the golf industry, I still learn something every day from our team, our members and my PGA Professional colleagues in the business,” notes Paris. “The network of professionals created through membership in the PGA of America and Club Management Association of America (CMAA) has been invaluable in my growth in our field.”
Pariss success over his years at Plainfield was down to communication. Communication.
“One of my foremost recommendations is that you and the leaders at your club share the same identity for your facility,” he adds. “I have regular conversations with our club leaders and Board of Trustees about who we are as a club and who we want to be.”
So when someone wonders about the different career paths in golf, remember Scott Paris — an example of a passionate PGA Professional who has attained the highest level of management at his facility, and a testament to climbing the ladder all the way to the top.
Do you want to explore PGA Membership or a career as a golfer? Visit pga.org/workingolfToday to discover what opportunities you have.