Alumni Spotlight: Kirby Robb
Posted on July 3, 2017
Kirby Robb found success in the golf industry almost immediately after graduating from the Professional Golfers Career College in August 2005. He returned to his home state of North Dakota and soon found the golf course he’d call his office for the past 12 years. Pheasant Country Golf Course is where Robb became their first head professional and has helped grow the game. The secret to Kirby Robb’s success lies within the lessons he learned here at PGCC.While Kirby Robb thrives in the golf industry now, this was actually his second career path. Robb grew up in the eastern part of North Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Social Science degree. “I was in the Lumber business 10 years prior to coming here.” That was until “one day I was sitting in the chair and said this isn’t what I want to do the rest of my life…” Robb took a moment to reflect “I looked up at all the old people in the office that’ve been there forever and I wanted something to do with golf.”
Another former PGCC student told Kirby Robb about the school. Robb decided to enroll because he “wanted to come to Southern California to work on my game for a year and a half, plus see what I can get in terms of the education at the same time. Just something I wanted to do with my life, something around golf.” Robb has enjoyed the game since he was a Sophomore in high school, when he switch to the golf team after quitting track due to a dislike of long distance running.
It wasn’t until the age of 30 that Kirby Robb took the game of golf serious. After befriending a skilled golfer, “he played for NDSU and was an accomplished champion. So he always beat me, so then I started taking lessons.” His game advanced even further once he came to PGCC, “I started improving when I came out here and was pretty good when I first left. Shot a 69 at Cross Creek from the tips before I left.” Nowadays the duties of being a head pro consumes his practice time, “so now my verification is I’m coaching High School State Champions in golf.”Kirby Robb gained much more than just better golf skills while at the Professional Golfers Career College. Robb recalls his time here fondly as “The best 16 months of my life. You know, my wife said it’s the best thing I ever did for myself.” He felt he was where he needed to be, “It was just the time in my life that I finally found what I was looking for… The school kind of helped groom me, what to wear, the attitude, I learned so much here.” Robb continues “They prepared you in everything. From being able to teach to selling merchandise to running a tournament. I mean, they’re going to give you the basics of being a head pro.”
Having worked mostly a dispatch position in his past profession, Robb also gained some valuable customer service skills while at PGCC. “I took away the lessons and values taught here such as treating people right and looking the part. You don’t want to take lessons from someone in cut-off shorts and flip-flops. You get respect just by looking like a professional.” The most important lesson which Robb still firmly believes in is “Attitude is key… Attitude is probably the biggest thing in this world, you can do anything you want to with a good attitude. Bad attitude isn’t going to get you very far. The only one that can change your attitude is you.”It’s Kirby Robb’s positive attitude which helped him gain success in the golf world. Upon graduating and moving back to North Dakota he secured a position as an Assistant Professional for four months. However due to personnel issues Robb moved on to another opportunity. Robb had bought a house and ended up at Pheasant Country Golf Course. “I’m the head pro there. I was their very first head pro and I’ve been there for 12 years now.” When he arrived they incentivized Robb to increase play, “They did 13,000 rounds in 2005, and they said 15,500 is the goal and anything above that we’ll give you a dollar a round… I get a $9,000 bonus every year.” As the course does nearly 24,000 rounds a year now. The incentive provided plenty of motivation for Robb to succeed. “I’m going to do whatever I can to get people to come there, and take care of them… People ask how’d you grow your membership so much.. Treat people nice and they will come. Made it a more laid back and easy going atmosphere.”
Membership and the number of rounds played at Pheasant Country Golf Course aren’t the only things Kirby Robb has helped grow at the course. Robb has built up a golf clinic at the course, which didn’t exist before he worked there. “Seeing my golf clinic grow has probably been the most rewarding. From 8 golfers to 103 and you got to start turning some away cause you just can’t squeeze them in.” Robb’s work with his golf clinics has crossed over to his other job, which is coaching girls high school golf.Coaching is a gratifying experience for Kirby Robb. “At Heart River High, I basically built the girls program up from 2 girls when I began to 3rd place in state two years ago and 4th last year.” A few of his players began at his golf clinics at Pheasant Country. “In 2008 they were in my youth clinic, now they’re both state champions.” Robb’s coaching duties is about to double this coming season. “I coach high school golf at my school (Heart River High) and now I’ve been asked to coach the girls golf team at the big school in Dickinson. So I’ve been recruited just from my success at one school.” The two school’s golf teams play in different Classes, Class A which plays in the Fall and Class B which plays in the Spring.
Helping to grow the game and share his passion for golf is one of the most rewarding aspects of Robb’s work. “I enjoy being able to help people learn the game, from the rules to a better grip.” Robb relishes in helping people appreciate all aspects of golf. “Seeing people enjoying the game more and more each day. Being able to help people enjoy the game. From what they’re looking like to putting with. The right ball, everything.”
To the anyone considering a career within the golf industry, here is Kirby Robb’s advice. “It’s about Attitude, Motivation and Honesty. Work Hard. The biggest thing would be honesty. Be Honest.” To get the most out of your time spent at the Professional Golfers Career College, “one thing I can say about this place is you have to become a sponge. Work on your networking, you never know who’s going to get the job that could help you. Don’t burn a bridge that you may have to cross later.”