A PGA Trail Blazer: Steve Scott
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Can a singular moment really change your life? Imagine uttering one sentence that will alter the course of history as much as a DeLorean time machine. In the case of PGA Coach Steve Scott, a lifetime’s worth of lessons came to the forefront when he uttered one of golf’s most simple sentences. “Hey Tiger, You Need to Move Your Mark Back.” Although there’s nothing groundbreaking about recalling this story, since that moment this PGA trailblazer has created so many wonderful opportunities for, himself and his family.
Steve’s PGA Journey has been unique, but it certainly isn’t as difficult as a 38-hole match with a young Tiger Woods. A dedication to the game, a relentless work-ethic and an entrepreneur mindset have all fueled him toward his destination. Many young golfers are curious about a role in the golf industry. What are my different options? This PGA Professional’s story starts with honoring the game. According to a recent book he authored, Steve tells us he would have it no other way.
Yes, this PGA ambassador is an author. He’s a digital Director of Instruction, a coach, a commentator and a community builder. Just one of these roles would be enough to build a career journey around, yet not for this professional pioneer. His apprenticeship begins on a practice range following a run at playing golf on the PGA Tour. With a passion for teaching as fervent as his propensity for playing, Steve met up with a major mentor, PGA of America Hall of Famer - Bob Toski.
Scott joined him at the Golf Digest schools and began teaching and coaching full time. After an endless number of hours with Mr. Toski, Steve started to ask some important questions of himself. Being a former world #1 amateur, he knew he could play. As a disciple of a Hall of Fame teacher his coaching career was off and running. Yet he knew something was missing. The golf industry demands a well- rounded resume in order to climb the ladder of success.
Steve continued to create a path toward becoming the most well-versed PGA Professional he could be. He took a moment and considered his options. From that point of introspection, he decided on a direction for his plan. Steve wanted to learn more about the business of golf. Getting places in any industry requires successful networking and this PGA Member learned to position himself at a young age. Whether he was playing a major amateur event or just practicing at the course, he always paid attention to others.
That genuine interest in those he encountered led him to a position working for the 2000 PGA of America National Private Merchandiser of the Year Greg Lecker. Steve joined Greg’s award-winning team at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey. This apprenticeship opened up Steve’s point of view on the vast opportunities available to him as a world class player, accomplished instructor and now effective businessman. He began building a professional resume.
Steve continues to look for employment situations where he can increase his knowledge, strengthen his professional network and learn from positive mentors. This is an important key. Steve’s competitive player background is driving him, but his wife Kristi and PGA mentors are helping him balance that fire with patience and thoughtfulness. Soon he is appointed a PGA Head Golf Professional. Those solid decision-making practices he exhibited in building his career would now be put to the test. Over the course of the next eight years, Steve directed the golf operation at two private New York Metropolitan area clubs.
Take a competitor mindset and a newly developed innovative attitude and what comes next will really catch your attention. Steve reached a pivot moment in his career, and instead of continuing down a predetermined path, he began to blaze another trail. Here’s why Steve is the focus of this month’s PGA Coaching Story. The golf industry is a vast ecosystem. Those reading this shouldn’t subscribe to limited preconceived notions of what a PGA Professional can do. There is a myriad of opportunities available to PGA Professionals, and that membership opens significant doors. Carrying the badge of a PGA Member sets you apart from other candidates in the marketplace.
When a new venture like The Outpost Club was looking for a dynamic PGA Head Professional, Steve was perfectly positioned to take the role. Not just because he had an open mind, but more because he used all of the experiences he accumulated in the industry to market himself as a unique candidate. Since taking over as their golf ambassador, he has founded another golf community. Building communities in golf is great fun. Introducing golfers to more like-minded players across the country is the essence of being golf ambassador.
As a travelling golf professional, Steve started to see the world a little differently. The golf media landscape was growing significantly, and he was carrying a communications degree from the University of Florida. The public speaking skills he had fostered at the club and used nationwide could also help him grow the game. By continuing to network himself and play championship level golf, Steve created a great marketing plan for his professional brand.
There are many valuable takeaways one can get from this entertaining career story. Starting from the beginning, this PGA Member was labeled as a trail blazer. That aspect of his persona is represented as much today as it was when he made the choice to go work at Canoe Brook. The example this professional continues to lead by even shined through during the pandemic. While the world shut down, this motivated member decided to write a book about his life.
Being a golf professional is not limited to a course or a club. The role you develop for yourself is only limited by your imagination and work ethic. In 2021, PGA Professionals wear a multitude of hats. Some have many facets to their job at a club or resort. Others have one job working for a corporation or themselves. The Steve Scotts of the world should inspire us, not intimidate us. They want others to join them on their journey. It’s obvious when they share, they feel rewarded.
Take an example like Steve’s coaching story and allow it to open your eyes to all the possibilities PGA Members have available to them. If there’s one thing this amazing PGA Coach has taught us is that sometimes a loss doesn’t mean you have to stop winning in life.