Woman on course for career as pro

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Forest Hills Golf Club head pro Bill Robinson needed an assistant pro. Brett Burris had left in October and Robinson rode out the slow, cold winter months without a full-time assistant.

New Forest Hills Golf Club assistant pro Sarah Mooney, a former Augusta State golfer, plans to conduct clinics at the course this summer.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
New Forest Hills Golf Club assistant pro Sarah Mooney, a former Augusta State golfer, plans to conduct clinics at the course this summer.

Sarah Mooney was nearing the end of her career on the Augusta State women's golf team and was going to start looking for a job.

One day in March, Mooney was in the Forest Hills pro shop talking to Robinson and her friend Regan Freville, who is a shop assistant at the club.

"Regan said, 'why don't you hire Sarah?' " The more I thought about it, I thought that might be pretty good," Robinson said. "I asked her if she was interested in getting in the business."

She wasn't.

"Right off the bat I said no," said Mooney, who graduated from Augusta State in May with a business and marketing degree.

"I'd always envisioned myself working in some office," said Mooney, who went to high school at Aquinas. "I got to thinking about it and realized it's a good way for me to slow down. I've been in school and on some sort of sports team my whole life, and if I went from that to an office job, I'd probably go nuts. I figured I'd give it a chance. Golf is what I love, so why not do it?"

Now she's looking to make a career out of it. Mooney will take the PGA of America's PAT (player aptitude test) later this month. If she passes, she can sign up for the apprentice program, which would start her on the long road to one day becoming a PGA of America Class A pro.

Mooney started at Forest Hills May 17 -- nine days after she graduated.

"I've enjoyed every day I've been here so far," Mooney said. "I definitely think it was the right decision."

So does Robinson, who didn't hesitate to hire Mooney, who is one of he few females to ever be a club pro in the area.

"I think it's going to be a good fit for Forest Hills," Robinson said. "When you can find a female that can play golf and connect with the female golfers and kids, that's a bonus."

Mooney has big plans along those lines. In July, she's going to conduct a women's clinic every Thursday (except July 1) at 6 p.m. and will have a junior clinic every Tuesday at 6 p.m. during that month.

She's also available for individual lessons.

"There will be more," Mooney said. "That's all I have planned right now."

Mooney's teaching will be "an avenue to bring people into Forest Hills," Robinson said. "Ladies and girls in the Augusta area might feel more at ease with a female teaching them than a male."

Mooney would love to see enough women playing at Forest Hills that she can start a "women's day" similar to the senior day the club has on Wednesdays.

Right now, Robinson said there are "a few" women who play on Tuesday afternoons.

"There might be a market that hasn't come to Forest Hills that will kind of follow me here," Mooney said. "A bunch of ladies I used to play with at The Patch (Augusta Municipal Golf Course) might start to come here because we know each other. It will be fun to have more people come around."

Mooney has the upbeat personality that is well suited to working behind the counter in a pro shop.

"I think Sarah is going to be good for the club," said member Todd Mercer, a former club champion. "She brings a new energy and allure."

Mooney plans to put into practice some of the marketing tools she learned at Augusta State, especially in customer service.

"If people come in here and their feathers are ruffled, and you make them happy, they'll come back," she said. "If you make them mad, they're not going to come back. We want people leaving here happy, not mad."

The biggest problem Mooney has faced so far is trying to explain what she's doing to her non-golf friends.

"They really have no clue what I'm talking about when I say I'm an assistant pro," Mooney said. "They're like, 'does that mean you're going to be on the LPGA Tour?' "

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inittowinit13
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inittowinit13 06/02/10 - 02:45 pm
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Forest Hills golf club is on

Forest Hills golf club is on the rise, with a swift pick up of Sarah, they are bound to thrive--everything she touches turms to gold. How wonderful that a young, ambitious lady be given an opportunity work her magic and grow as a professional in the community she is from!! Coming off a strong college career, she will inspire youth to achieve and encourage women to particpate with confidence. Best wishes to Sarah and the club!

freespeach
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freespeach 06/02/10 - 08:06 pm
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She's gorgeous! Blessed with
Unpublished

She's gorgeous! Blessed with beauty and brains. Where do I sign up for lessons?

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