Faculty Spotlight on Randy Shannon“My proudest moments in golf are obtaining PGA membership, playing in 3 PGA TOUR events, receiving multiple awards throughout my career, and each and every day loving what I do as a career.”
To say that Randy Shannon has been in the golf business for a long time would be severely under appreciating quite how long that really is. “I always say that I began playing at 6, but didn’t get serious until I was 8” Shannon deadpans. If you trace it back, this means that his career began taking shape right around the 4th grade. “I began working in the golf industry in the 7th grade caddying, working the range and the bag room, and began competing in 7th or 8th grade.” His involvement in junior tournaments took place over his 3 month summer breaks, priming him for golf teams and eventually a spot in several events on the PGA Tour later in life.
As an educator, Randy can look back with true respect for the value of his great golf education, and where it took him. “My dad always played golf, and because he was a member at private clubs, I had access to really great instruction.” It is through his own golf education that he eventually found his way to the golf college. President and founder of PGCC, Dr. Tim “Doc” Somerville was an early educator of his at the San Diego Golf Academy. “Doc was my teacher, my coach, and now he’s my boss; but I don’t feel like I work for him, I feel like I work with him,” he continues “Doc and I go back 30 years, so coming to PGCC after having known him for so long, and from being a student of his, I knew what that meant, I knew what that said about this place.”
Over his 35 year career in operations, gathering his Class “A” PGA Member status along the way, he excelled in Private, Resort, and Public facility management. He assisted in 3 start-up golf facilities from inception and, quite enviably, has been the Head Golf Professional at Kapalua Golf Club in Maui, Hawaii, the Director of Golf at Broken Top Club in Bend, Oregon, and General Manager at Cross Creek Golf Club & Talega Golf Club in beautiful Southern California. This breadth of experience is an ideal foundation for the classes he instructs; Tournament Golf, Organization of Golf Tournaments, Golf Operations I, II & III and Career Planning. Over his three decades of service to the game he’s spent nine years as General Manager, fourteen years as Director of Golf/Head Professional and 14 years working in tournament operations for PGA Tour events, and he’s been the proud recipient of the PGA Merchandiser of the Year award four times, and the winner of the Horton Smith Award in the SCGA, Inland Empire chapter.
A resume like that makes it easy to see how he might be looking for a new challenge, having already travelled far in his chosen field. “After spending three decades in operations I saw this as an entirely new challenge. I didn’t know that when I first came here 3 years ago, but I found that out quickly.” Shannon continues, “Golf is a game where everybody can improve and what draws me to teaching is the joy of watching a golfer hit a great shot; I think I get more excited than they do!” he beams. “There is nothing like a well struck golf shot; you can’t mistake it.” So, as it turns out, moving from operations to instruction was a rather seamless transition for him. “Teaching here is immediately rewarding, it’s always changing. To see the future leaders show up here, wanting to learn, is a tremendously rewarding experience.” Continuing that “One of my favorite sayings is ‘you’re only as good as your last shot’ because you can never master this game. This is a game that requires lots of time and practice, not just physically but mentally as well.”
After his numerous accomplishments, one might think his next step could have been to tip his hat to his achievements and focus only on refining his own physical and mental game, but what is more important to him than that, is cultivating the future leaders in the world of golf, because they need expertise like his. “Our game is great because we have over 16,000 course choices in the United States alone.” He continues by sharing that “Other sports like baseball, football, basketball, tennis, you name it; they all play on identical fields. In golf there are so many variables, different kinds of turf, terrain, weather etc. You will never play the same course twice, and that makes golf a continually learning process.” And he ought to know.