John Lindert, PGA: Ready to Address the Opportunities & Challenges of a New Era
By Matt Adams
43rd PGA of America President John Lindert during the 106th PGA Annual Meeting at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on Thursday, November 3, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/PGA of America)
After two years as PGA Vice President during a pandemic, working through all the difficulties that accompanied it, new PGA of America President John Lindert is ready to start fresh, ushering the Association into a new era at a moment when public interest in the game of golf is as strong, if not stronger, than it’s ever been.
“My dad was a physician, and one of his comments to me when I was young was, ‘I may not be able to fix somebody, but I’m not going to make them worse,’” Lindert says when talking about his approach to his new role. “You do no harm. I’m going into [the Presidency] with the idea to make the Association better without harming what’s already great about it.”
One of Lindert’s first orders of business is to address the labor shortage that’s impacting golf, just as it’s affecting other parts of the hospitality industry. In fact, as he outlines his future plans, Lindert mentions that he’s just finished talking to students at Mississippi State University, where he gave them his pitch for why they should consider a career in golf. But it doesn’t stop at simply attracting new talent.
“The last few years, we’ve talked about recruitment and retention,” says Lindert. “We can recruit people into the industry, but retention is just as important, and it starts with us [PGA Members].”
Lindert says that is vitally important to the future of the game and the Association, especially now, at a time when more than half of the PGA of America’s Members have been Members for over 25 years. Lindert realizes fresh faces are needed to fill the void.
“The average number of resumes for a golf course job is 2.3,” Lindert says. “That’s it. So, the opportunities for individuals entering this business, or for a young person in the industry, are great.”
If anyone knows how great a career it is, it’s Lindert. He’s a golf lifer, and he’s still pretty much the same guy he was years ago when he first entered the profession.
“I own my shop [at the Country Club of Lansing, in Lansing, Michigan], and I have a small staff,” says Lindert. “I’m just the prototypical A-4 PGA Professional, and I think that [PGA Members] like the idea that I experience what they experience. When I’m at my day job, I’m looking for lost head covers, dealing with tee times. PGA Members have said to me, ‘I like that you’re one of us.’”
As far as what he wants to say to those PGA Members who rallied around him during his campaign, Lindert has one primary message.
“I would say, plain and simple, thank you. Thank you for trusting me with the position and trusting me with your belief that I can help make the association better. My motto when I ran for office was ‘member first.’ I had a long-standing history of serving on the Membership Committee, and I look at everything from that perspective. Everything we do should help improve the lives of our members, financially and from a pride standpoint.
“I’m truly humbled by this honor,” Lindert continues. “But I will say this — I am the proverbial turtle sitting on the fence post. I have no idea how I got here, but I know I didn’t get here by myself. I’m a byproduct of everybody who has taught and mentored me.”