Latest News

Beesley builds dream career

A MARKETING job in a builders’ merchants in Liverpool isn’t the obvious start to a career in golf.

But it proved a catalyst for James Beesley who after a year shut away in a stuffy office was convinced there had to be more to his working life.

As it turned out the 28 year old was right. Fast forward some six years and Beesley has swapped office life for the luxury Finca Cortesin Hotel & Golf Resort in southern Spain a short distance from Marbella where he is the assistant golf manager – living the dream.

Beesley grew up in Liverpool as a member at Ormskirk Golf Club. But while he was a regular in the local colt and district leagues and good enough to get down to scratch he never contemplated a career as a PGA professional.

“When I was younger my interpretation of a golf pro was someone in the pro shop and / or coaching – which I knew was not for me,” he says.

Instead he did a degree in business studies at the University of Liverpool. Graduation was followed with a job at the builder’s merchant, which he stuck out for a year or so, in their marketing department – golf was purely for recreation at the weekends.

It was at this point that a hankering for a career change led him to cross the Atlantic to do a sports management degree at a University in West Palm Beach in Florida. And it was there that he started to see different facets of the golf industry that began to appeal.

“While in America trying to figure a career path, I spoke to directors of golf or people in similar positions and the business side of the golf industry really appealed. When I asked how they had got into their current positions there was a common theme – they had all done their PGA training – they were all PGA pros. That was a lightbulb moment for me in terms of realising what I needed to get into the golf industry and to the position director of golf or similar.”

While at university in Florida, he accumulated a range of voluntary experience in golf – marshalling at the Honda Classic, scoring and helping out at other local tournaments.

His dedication paid off when he beat off competition from 140 applicants to land his first assistant role at Monte Rei Golf & Country Club in Portugal under director of golf David Shepherd who he credits as pivotal during his training and three and a half years there.

“It wasn’t a traditional assistant’s position because while I did some teaching, club fitting and club repairs my main role was as service manager, then operations manager whilst assisting with sales which included dealing with tour operators, the management of events, press trips and playing with members or prospective members,” explained Beesley.

With his PGA qualification under his belt, Beesley swapped Portugal for Spain in April 2016 where he is now the assistant golf manager at Finca Cortesin where he continues to enhance his knowledge of the golf industry and improve the customer experience.

“Customer service is extremely important to us here at Finca Cortesin, with the exception of a small number of facilities, the traditional UK members club experience is very different – when players come to Finca Cortesin they receive levels of customer service they may not be accustom to at a golf facility. All members of staff are extremely friendly and included in the rate is a shared buggy, practice facilities, tees, pitchmark repair, unlimited waters, fruit on the course, club cleaning, ice towels in the summer and coffee or soup in the winter.”

Working abroad language skills are very important and something which he wishes to keep improving on and something he advises any golf professional who wish to work abroad should add to their CV.

“It’s an advantage if you have language skills – we get a mix of nationalities visiting the resort so it’s important we have members of staff who can speak English, Dutch, German, French and other languages besides Spanish.”

With an increasing good grasp of the language, year round good weather and a challenging role, a career in golf is shaping up nicely for James – and he doesn’t take it for granted.

“Growing up I was interested in all sports but to incorporate your hobby into your work life, I feel very lucky,” he added.

“I come into work and I’ve always got a smile on my face – it’s not often people can say that about their job – and especially in southern Europe where if it rains, you know that the next day it is invariably going to be sunny.”

“To have the PGA under my name has helped tremendously in my career thus far. It is recognised around the world as the leading PGA program and is a great achievement to have on your CV.”

“When you go for these golf positions – the top one per cent type facilities you have got to have a strong CV to get a foot in the door.”

Pictured is James Beesley. Photo courtesy of The PGA.