FAIRBORN, OH – The Southern Ohio PGA is thrilled to name Ryan Coll, PGA Director of Golf at Columbus Country Club, as the 2022 Southern Ohio PGA Golf Professional of the Year.
Ryan Coll, PGA Director of Golf at Columbus Country Club, is the 2022 Southern Ohio PGA Golf Professional of the Year in recognition of his exceptional leadership and the significant impact he has made across the facility in five years. Growing up in Ravenna, Ohio, Coll’s passion for the game began at age 14 when he took a position working outside operations. Captivated by the game, he attended Florida Gulf Coast University as a member of their first PGA Golf Management class. His drive to improve has been fueled by experiences at prestigious facilities including Seminole Golf Club, Oakmont Country Club and Muirfield Village Golf Club where he learned the industry from first-class mentors. The 12-year PGA Member prides himself on blending the best of what he’s learned when shaping his current operation and leading his team. Coll’s leadership extends beyond his facility through service on the SOPGA Junior Golf Committee, support of the SOPGA Birdie Bash and annual visits to his alma mater to work with current PGM students. He has previously been recognized for outstanding work in the Southern Ohio Section with the Youth Player Development Award in 2013, as the 2015 Assistant Professional of the Year and as the 2020 Merchandiser of the Year at a Private Facility.
Q: What does it mean to you to be named the Southern Ohio PGA Golf Professional of the Year?
RC: To me in my current state, this is the highest honor possible. I don’t have the words to describe how grateful I am to be named Golf Professional of the Year. To be chosen by our Awards Committee who are all Golf Professionals of the Year themselves, makes this award that much better for me. I also can’t thank my staff enough for allowing me to reach goals that I knew would be quite challenging to reach. A lot of this award belongs to them as well.
Q: What inspired your passion to become a PGA Professional?
RC: My passion to become a Golf Professional started during my first job in the industry when I was 14 years old. Now that I’ve technically been in the business for over 20 years, I can now realize how lucky I was to have the best mentors I could ask for. As a kid, I came to work every day working with industry leaders like Herb Page, David Pfeiffer, Greg Andrego, Donnie Darr, Trent Maxwell, and Michael Maxwell. What’s even cooler is they are all still thriving in the golf industry in some fashion. That shows you that I was surrounded by great men who truly love this business. I was very lucky! Both of my parents worked in the medical field and had tough, demanding jobs. They expressed to me that no great job will be an easy job, so go do something that you love. I determined that love was for golf.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a successful PGA Professional?
RC: A successful golf professional is someone who not only delivers everything that they can to their membership on a daily basis, but someone who also takes mentorship to their assistants just as seriously. Our business has its challenges no doubt about it, but my promise to my staff is that no one will work harder than us and have more fun on the job than we do. We have such a strong brotherhood at work, that it makes our job very enjoyable. In turn, it has really changed the culture at the club, which allows for exceptional customer service.
Q: How has your view of the golf industry/business changed throughout your career?
RC: The golf industry changes a little bit every year. It is certainly very different from when I first became a PGA Member. There is an obvious struggle throughout the industry to hire exceptional assistant golf professionals or staff in general. As someone who leads their own golf operation, it is my personal goal that my assistants play more than they ever have because that is of course the reason why all of us got into the business. It is also my goal to allow them to teach more than they have in previous years. The demands of our job are leading to extremely talented golf professionals to leave the industry. As a Director of Golf, I had to find out what each of my staff members loves to do. Find out their “why”. Once you know their “why”, let them thrive in that specific setting. Make their job as enjoyable as possible, which in turn makes your operation run much smoother and more efficient. Some love to teach, some love to merchandise, some love to run events, and finally some just like to converse with people. Let them.
Q: Who have been influential mentors throughout your career and how did they impact you?
RC: Besides those individuals that helped me find my passion early on in life, my three biggest mentors are Larry Dornisch, Bob Ford, and JJ Weaver. The coolest part for me is that all three are different from each other, but yet I believe that all three are some of the best golf professionals in the world and I’m so lucky to have been able to watch and learn from all of them. Right when I graduated from college, I spent a handful of nights on the phone with JJ and all we would do was discuss the goals that I had for myself and he wanted me to determine how I was going to accomplish those goals and in what timeframe. If I had set a goal for myself that wasn’t good enough or challenging enough, I would have to come up with another one. Working for Bob, I was part of an assistant group that had some of the hardest working golf professionals that I’ve ever been around. I had to be on my game every day because I knew my co-workers would be. Bob had such a good system to be in and we were all so respected by the membership day in and day out. Bob is very smooth and confident, but one of the qualities that I loved about him the most was he was always phenomenal with remembering names. That’s always something I try to improve upon every single day. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be half as good at my job if I hadn’t worked for Larry. Larry was demanding, but what I respected the most working for him is that his measuring stick for himself and his operation was sky high. He strived to improve as a golf professional daily and I’ve never been around a golf professional that spent every single day looking for ways and new ideas to improve himself and his operation. No one is more eager to learn something new so that he can deliver a world class experience to his membership.
Q: What was the best piece of advice you received that has helped you excel as a golf professional?
RC: The best piece of advice that I have received as a golf professional is to surround yourself with people that have as much passion for customer service as you do. Providing exceptional customer service is something that can’t be forced upon people. It has to be something that they are passionate about. As someone who oversees a golf operation, you always want to surround yourself with people that are 1 percenters. 1 percenters are folks that refuse to be outworked and most importantly refuse to be average. They hold themselves accountable and want to be the best that they can be every single day. I feel that my entire staff falls into that category and I couldn’t be more thankful to have Evan, Chase, Garrett, Alex, Caleb, Scott, and Matt by my side.
The SOPGA Golf Professional of the Year is awarded to a PGA member for overall performance as a golf professional, leadership, service and promotion of the game of golf. Overall performance at the member’s facility, level of service to the SOPGA Section and to the Association, and image as a golf professional are some of the criteria considered for this award. Click here to learn more about the Southern Ohio PGA Special Awards and to view previous recipients.