A Royal Pro
Picture a fourteen year old youngster sneaking through a hole in a fence to play a few holes at Pointe-Claire, Quebec’s Beaconsfield Golf Club. That young man probably had no thoughts of future employment in the vast Canadian golf industry; he was just looking forward to playing a few holes with his friends.
Fast forward to the year 2013 and you find that same young man firmly entrenched as a well-respected PGA of Canada golf professional at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club – Paul Carrothers.
Growing up on the West Island, Paul led a typical life as a youngster involved in soccer, hockey, baseball and rugby. His main sport was competitive swimming between the ages of 8-15. The flexibility of caddying at Elm Ridge and Beaconsfield was a great summer job where he had fun and made a little spending money. Paul recalls his first caddie job at Beaconsfield. “It was with Mr. Ed Selwyne for 18 holes and I was paid $2.50 as a “C” class caddy and he filled in my rating sheet indicating that I needed improvement.”
After high school, Paul attended Western in the business program for one year and then transferred to McMaster where he graduated from the Political Science Program.
Paul applied for a summer job in the back shop at Mississauga Golf and Country Club between school terms and that part-time job eventually turned into full-time employment. At the time Paul recalls, “I didn’t understand that golf could become a career.” Paul worked under the guidance of Brad McCallum at Mississauga and when he moved to Islington as the head professional, Paul accompanied him as his assistant professional.
It’s interesting that during this time Paul indicated that he could have worked outside the golf industry, the opportunities might have been better, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun. When he started looking for head professional jobs, he found that the money being offered was equivalent to what he was making as an assistant, not that he would have turned down any offers.
Paul applied for and received the position of head professional at the Oshawa Golf Club in 1995 and in 1997 with the permission of General Manager John McLellan, Paul successfully interviewed at the National Press Club in Ottawa for the head professional position at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.
His accumulated knowledge of the golf business from both pro-owned and club-operated pro-shops served him well at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, where the Club was in the process of taking over the operation of the pro-shop.
Paul has grown in his position as head professional along with the Royal Ottawa Golf Club and he credits a large part of his success there to the members, committees, boards and co-workers he has been associated with over the years and who have been very supportive of the golf shop, his staff and himself. As Paul says, “It’s a family atmosphere here at the Royal Ottawa.”
Along his golf journey, Paul has had some good mentors who have taught him the business of golf while instilling in him both character and values. One of the lessons he had to teach himself was the process that had to be followed. He learned to think first and act later resulting in plans having a better likelihood of being accepted.
Paul also believes that a couple of his strengths as a golf professional are his ability to size up and pick the right people for the job, communications and his knowledge and anticipation of where the Club is going in the future.
Paul has subsequently used these lessons well and has been able to pass them along to many of his protégées. He is proud of all of the staff members who have worked with him, especially his assistant professionals who have gone on to successful positions include Peter Butler (Peterborough / Oshawa), Jeffrey Corcoran (Federal Government), Andrew Donaldson (The Marshes), Al Hickson (Oshawa), Ryan Starr (Buz Software) and Don Westfall (Outaouais).
When asked about his time at the Royal Ottawa under Paul Carrothers, Andrew Donaldson had this to say about his experience. “It was great working for Paul. I learned how to treat people and to look at the big picture recognizing that every decision has effects and consequences.”
Giving back has always been a part of Paul’s career and he has served on the Boards of the PGA of Ontario and the Ottawa PGA. He also ran the Assistant’s program for the PGA of Ontario. A highlight for Paul, while he served on the Board as President of the Ottawa PGA, was the introduction of an RRSP program for the Ottawa Zone membership.
Paul also has a number of awards that he is proud of including being named the Ontario PGA Assistant of the Year, the Ottawa PGA Head Professional of the Year and numerous times being recognized as a Ping Club-Fitter of the Year.
Another highlight for Paul at the Royal Ottawa, apart from the successful LPGA Du Maurier Classic in 2000, is their sponsored junior program. Since the Club initiated the program, it has always been full with juniors from the age of six and up. Paul and his staff help the young golfers, whether they are newcomers, developing juniors or competitive juniors develop skills and promote the enjoyment of the game with friends and family. The practice facility and the Royal Nine Golf Course are second to none in the area and always available for juniors
Away from the Club, Paul enjoys time with his wife Michele and his son Ethan. The family likes to travel even though Paul has a hard time getting away. During the winters, their time is well spent at hockey rinks watching their son.
A positive that Paul takes from his time in the golf industry is the number of friends he has made across the country. He also works closely at the Royal Ottawa with Steve Verrall, the course superintendent. “We’re great friend friends and co-workers,” says Paul.
The conversations must be quite robust between the two friends as Steve is a Senator’s fan and Paul is a die-hard Boston Bruins fan. It should be noted that both of these gentlemen have held their positions at the Club for years and it is considered by many members that they both bleed Royal Ottawa Green.
As to the future, Paul says he wants to beat Karl Keffer’s period of longevity at the Royal Ottawa. He looks forward to going to work every day interacting with the youngest to the oldest members and wants the Royal Ottawa Golf Club to improve.
Paul Carrothers knew little about the game of golf when he was sneaking on to the golf course to get in a few holes. In fact, he was using his dad’s right-hand Wright & Ditson set of golf clubs, when it turned out he should have been swinging left-hand clubs.
All Paul knew at the time was that he was having fun and that hasn’t changed to this day.