Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Westbrook Headed To CPGA Hall Of Fame

The Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame will get a little richer Sunday night when Jim Westbrook, a fixture at Carmel Country Club, is inducted during a ceremony at Myrtle Beach.

Westbrook exempified what a good professional should be, overseeing a large operation at Carmel while always focusing his attention on the members. Like many others in his business, Westbrook got into golf because he loved to play but as a club pro, his duties and responsibilities kept him around the golf course more than on it.

“I always tried to put the members first,” Westbrook said. “Customer service was paramount to me. When someone pays that kind of money to join a golf club, they want to be treated well.”

Westbrook started in the golf business in Nashville,Tenn., then went to Waynesboro, Va., and Florence, S.C., before coming to Carmel in Oct. 1973. Westbrook spent nearly 29 years as head pro at Carmel before retiring in 2002.

He was instrumental in developing a number of assistant pros who went on to their own head professional jobs at other clubs. Westbrook created a business model with each assistant on his staff having specific duties. As the assistants moved up on the staff, their duties changed. “That way,” Westbrook said, “when they were finished, they understood every aspect of the operation.”

Westbrook also played a big role in the creation of the annual Carmel Pro-Am, the richest two-day pro-am event on the Carolinas PGA schedule.

“It’s very humbling for something like to happen,” Westbrook said. “It’s an honor.”