The team at Wintonbury Hills teaches new players the benefits and excitement golf offers
The core objective of Go Futures is to grow the game. In our spotlights, we showcase the achievements of our industry professionals’ player development programs.
Ciaran Carr, Master PGA Golf Professional and Head Golf Professional, of Wintonbury Hills Golf Course in Bloomfield, Connecticut puts passion behind his player development program.
Question: How many overall participants did we have through your programming?
Answer: We had 38 participants in our program last year.
Q: Summarize your plan for continuing to grow your facility’s programs.
A: Since the club is owned by the town, we focus on the Bloomfield residents. This can be challenging as many still think of the course as a private facility. One way we are growing the program is getting involved with the PE teachers. I have explained that golf is a great sport than can be played for a lifetime. We are now working with the PE teacher to encourage the students to play golf. I also keep in close contact with the town’s Director of Leisure Services and use the SNAG program, a portable, 9 hole course unit, in the elementary and middle school.
Q: What are the strengths to your facility and location? What are the challenges that you face?
A: Our main strength is our wonderful golf course! Our Pete Dye designed course is nationally ranked and in perfect condition. The biggest challenge is our range that is offsite and was built as an afterthought. It houses 12 hitting stations, but no bathrooms. This makes it very difficult to host junior clinics.
Q: Why do people come to you and why do they stay?
A: I believe most of my students come to me as a referral from their friend or co-worker that has taken lessons. As a Master PGA Professional, focused on instruction, I believe that carries a lot of weight. There are over 28,000 PGA members and I am one of 372 Master Professionals. Students return because I make the game fun while they improve as players. I always try to connect with the student, get them to open up about their lives, and create a bond.
Q: Please share a story of a student (current or former) who has stood out because of their passion for learning and playing the game, personal growth, improvement, tournament success or major achievement such as winning an award, earning a scholarship or becoming a PGA Pro.
A: A young man started taking lessons as a junior in high school, he was a star on the football team. Bloomfield is a big football town that has produced numerous NFL talent. This student had offers to play football at many colleges. He was bitten by the ‘golf bug’ and we worked all summer to help him improve. He quit the football team and said he wanted to concentrate on golf. He is a very smart young man and saw the opportunities that golf could bring in later life. He ended up at a Division III school and walked onto the golf team. He is now a physical therapist and plays as often as possible. It was incredibly rewarding to watch him develop his passion for the game.
Q: What is your drive to grow the game?
A: The most joy I get is when I see the face of the beginner who launches the ball in the air and hear the shrieks of joy afterwards. I get as much enjoyment out of these moments as I do with PGA tour players.
Q: Why did you choose golf as a career?
A: My career in golf started after I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to open a business. In the off-season I was working the bag drop of a large 72-hole facility. Although I had played golf before, it wasn’t my passion until I realized that everyone played golf and took the game very seriously. It was that winter where my passion for the game started to grow.