When I think of golf pros, I think of teaching facilities, golf academies, and driving ranges. I have worked at a driving range before, and there was a head professional and a few assistant professionals on staff. Having played high school and college golf, I got to meet several pros at the many courses we played. Now that I work in the golf industry, I meet pros left and right. But I never thought to look at Dick’s Sporting Goods. That’s where this guy sells golf equipment, hits balls into a simulator, and obsesses over the game we all love. I met him on Twitter and the rest is history. It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Dan Attaway. Golf is trending at Dick’s Sporting Goods!
We met on Twitter. How cool is that?
Very cool! That is why social media is so impressive! You can instantly chat with anybody at the push of a button and 140 characters!
Never checked that. Just typed in “pgapro1” the day I signed up and it was available.
I used to work for Galyan’s Sporting Goods. Then Dick’s Sporting Goods came in and cleaned house. I worked in the golf department. You could have been my boss!
We would have been great team!
How does being a pro at Dick’s differ from being a professional at a golf course?
The main difference is that there is not 18 holes of golf just outside the door to hop in a cart and take a stroll when business is slow or you need a break.
I assume you guys have a simulator at your store. Do you get to give lessons in there?
I have used it to help get customers who would like lessons. It is a great teaching tool, plus get practice tool for myself as well.
I used to beef up the percentage on the sim at work… and hit my driver 350 yards! You ever sneak one of those in on a customer to make him or her feel better?
Oh, I have a few times with some of our fun customers who come in all the time. If they can out drive me it makes their day!
Working in the golf shop like that, you see the latest and greatest in equipment. What are you looking forward to this year?
The new RBZ driver from TaylorMade should be a home-run because it offers an adjustable head at the $299 price point. And this will be a big year for new golf balls as well! Every company has at least two new golf balls for everyone to try.
Do you have a say in what the store sells in your shop?
Not usually; all decisions are made at corporate level. But this year I feel Dick’s has been listening to the pros because of some of the new items we are carrying and services offered. I hope our voice continues to get stronger with the company.
What’s your home course?
Bunker Links in Galesburg, Illinois. That’s where my PGA career began.
I was at the PGA Show a few weeks ago. TaylorMade is just owning the market right now with the white headed driver. Have you hit that thing? How can you focus on the ball with that big white head staring up at you?
The “white driver” was a great marketing tool by TaylorMade and after hitting it, it’s not too bad to look at. TaylorMade sold over 2 million white heads last year, so it’s working well for them. Interested to see what color is used next!
Speaking of hitting golf clubs, do you get to try everything that comes in before you sell it to customers?
That is one of the perks of the job. We usually get the clubs two weeks prior to them being released. It is also very helpful to have hit the equipment early for the selling process.
I remember Dick’s selling a TON of golf balls. What golf ball do you hit?
Currently playing either the Nike 20IX and the Callaway HEX Black.
Where are you originally from?
Grew up in Monticello, Illinois.
You studied turf management at Illinois Central College. What does a degree in turf management entail? What sort of homework did you have?
Turf management is all about the grass, soil, trees, and plants. Best part of the homework was it meant a lot of time spent outdoors but unfortunately remembering the names of bugs, trees, plants, grass, and doing soil samples.
Do you watch a lot of golf on TV?
Who is your favorite player?
Tiger, of course! Had the luxury, by chance, to play and hit balls with him in 2007 at his home course of Isleworth in Orlando and that was am amazing experience. He has also helped drive the youth movement in golf and without that, there would be no future for golf.
You hit balls with Tiger… glad I was sitting down for that. Anyway, what would you be doing if you were not a golf pro? Can you imagine your life without golf in it?
Actually hard to think about golf not in my life. If I had not chased golf I more than likely would be following my father’s footsteps in the funeral business. That’s right, an undertaker!
You are all over Twitter and Facebook. What is your favorite social network?
I LOVE Twitter and that is mainly due to you and your presentation last spring at the Illinois PGA Spring Meeting. You opened my eyes to what social media is truly all about and how incredible it really is.
In your honest opinion, do you think Tiger will break Jack’s record?
Yes, I do. The last two years of hiccups have slowed his pace but I think he is physically and mentally ready to go after it now and the PGA TOUR needs him to chase this record down as well! When Tiger is not on the prowl, the TV numbers are down.
What’s on your bag?
Just signed with Callaway this past week.
- Razor Fit driver and 3wood – ProLaunch Red Shaft
- Razr Tour Hybrid – 21 degrees
- Razr X Forged Irons 4-AW – project X 5.5
- Jaws series wedges – 52, 56, 60
- Odyssey ProType #2 putter
You seem to be a sports guy… do you play any other sports?
Love lots of sports but enjoy hitting some baseballs and throwing the pigskin around! I also love to workout and enjoy coaching my son’s baseball and JFL teams!
Let’s say I come in… and I want to buy a new set of clubs. Walk me through your sales process.
Do a little interview with you about your golf game, what your golfing goals are, your current equipment, and how much you are looking to spend. Then do a club fitting with your current club and compare that to what your interested in. Once we have narrowed that down from there it’s up to you!
Beer… what’s your favorite beer?
More of a vodka guy but, Bud Light Lime would be my choice.
Oh, I love vodka! I hate to point out the obvious… but you’re bald. Do you ever get cold? I guess you save on hair gel!
Cold, no. More worried about the sun and getting to crispy on top if I forget hat when playing a round.
You have played a ton of golf courses… which course if your favorite?
So many choices but must say Quail Creek Country Club in Robinson, IL. It’s a former tour stop and is just a fun track to play!
What in the world is the Dick’s President Cup?
It’s competition between Dicks and Golf Galaxy following the same format used in The Presidents Cup. The top 20 stores, determined by a sales contest held between April through August, from each company battle it out in some fun competition. This past year it was held at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, SC which is where the PGA Championship is being held this year. In 2010 it was at the TPC Sawgrass so, hoping next year is at Augusta but for some reason I doubt that.
Do you listen to music when you practice/play?
iPod is always on and helps to block everything else out.
My good friend Brett Packee is a member of the Illinois PGA. When it comes to other golf professionals, is there a certain level of competition there or do you guys share ideas to better the game of golf?
There is and always will be that competition, but we all work together to help enhance and promote the game of golf as an organization. The PGA has become a great peer network because when your in a field you are passionate about you want to help in anyway you can!
When I play… I play by “winter rules”. How serious do you take the rules of golf?
Most people don’t know the rules, which usually help the golfer more than hurting them. But for the most part golf is recreation so, I say play the game the best way you can enjoy it.
How far do you hit your driver? How far CAN you hit your driver?
No that long of a hitter but usually knock it out there between 280 and 290. For me it’s all about course management and the next shot.
Let’s get some pizza… what toppings are on your half?
Gotta go with sausage, mushroom, pepperoni, and green olive!
Have you ever thought about leaving Dick’s and getting a job at a club somewhere?
At times I have, and if I do move on I would like to be at place where I could just teach more. Watching others smile when they hit that perfect shot brings a smile to my face!
I have never understood private golf club memberships. Maybe I am missing something… but what’s the obsession with belonging to a country club? Do you belong anywhere?
I was a GM at a private club for three years and from what I have experienced, it’s all about status. For those who love golf it’s about playing a good and well taken care of golf course whenever they want compared to a crowded public course. It’s all about status so don’t let anybody fool you!
What’s next for you… what does 2012 have in store for Dan Attaway?
2012 is a big year for me as I am getting married this summer and starting a new life with an amazing woman! I’m also very excited to keep raising the bar at Dick’s Sporting Goods so I can offer the best golf shop possible.
You just live across the border… let’s play 18 holes this spring.
Dan, I can’t thank you enough for doing this. Means the world man. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
First and foremost, thank you for this opportunity. Your insight and passion for the game of golf is awesome and helps us, PGA golf professionals, enhance our abilities to help our customers and students. Golf is a unique game that anybody can play, enjoy, and some how always finds away to make you want to come back for more!