New pro loving life at Lake of the Pines
Shawn Mason didn’t get into the golf business for its, well, business aspects.
Sure, Lake Of the Pines Country Club’s new PGA professional is well-versed on the topic – he holds a degree in business management – but he’d much rather be outdoors working on solutions to slices and hooks than sitting behind a desk crunching numbers and completing paperwork.
“I just enjoy working with the people. That makes (the job) more interesting,” said the 34-year-old Mason, who was hired at LOP after serving as an assistant pro at Alta Sierra Country Club. “I enjoy teaching and getting people interested and improving their golf games.
“I enjoy those aspects more than the other stuff, like the merchandising and the pro shop.”
Though he’s not a big fan of sitting behind a desk, Mason has made a commitment to doing just that for The Union readers once a week.
He will write a weekly column for The Union’s “From Tee to Green,” which will first appear in the Oct. 21 edition.
It was the game itself that brought Mason to his career, for which he has prepared since following his father around the fairways at Fort Washington Country Club in Fresno.
“My father (Al) was a general manager and golf pro, so since I was a kid I’ve always been on this route,” Mason said. “As a kid I used to go over there and pick the driving range.”
Mason was an All-State player during his days at South Medford High School in southern Oregon. From there, he took his talents to the tees of NCAA Division I golf, in which he competed as a member of the University of Oregon team.
“Yep,” he said, “I’m a Duck.”
After graduation, he spent five years as a golf pro for Walt Disney World, and then three years as a pro at The Legends Club of Tennessee, owned by country musician Vince Gill. That stop was followed by his three-year stint as Jeff Chleboun’s assistant at Alta Sierra.
Being the head professional has long been Mason’s goal, but being a pro involves a lot more than a top-notch golf swing. He spent four years studying 28 different courses of the PGA curriculum.
At times during that span, Mason wasn’t sure it was worth spending his nights up to his elbows in “bookwork” after long days of being on the job.
But, he said, considering the average salary for a head professional is $78,000 and the average for an assistant is $23,000 – and he and his wife, Kristine, are raising three boys – he had plenty reason to be motivated.
“Going through it, the whole time you’re putting in so many hours into books, and so many hours into teaching, but you’re making nothing,” he said. “I questioned it for years. It was like ‘Jeez, will this ever be worth it?'”
Apparently it was.”
“I really like it,” said Mason, who is in the third month of his new job. “There is a lot of potential for the golf course. I honestly think this might be a long career here.”
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