Name: Byron Willis


Position: Golf development officer for Golf Otago

Place of employment: Golf NZ/Golf Otago


When did you first begin your involvement with golf?

I first picked up a club at age 10-years-old… and from then I was hooked. I played competitively within New Zealand as an amateur until I finished high school, before starting a PGA traineeship in 2021.


How did that exposure evolve into a PGA career?

Playing golf became a passion that I soon realised had potential career pathways outside of playing.


When did you qualify as a PGA professional?

I’m currently in my final year of the traineeship.


What has been your career path to date?

I started as a trainee at the Cromwell Golf Club in 2021, then took a role at the Queenstown Golf Club in mid-2021 where I worked until November 2022. At the end of 2022 I started a role with Golf NZ as a golf development officer for Golf Otago.


Where has that career path taken you to – either around New Zealand or internationally?

I’m currently based in Queenstown, but my role has me working throughout the Otago, Central Otago, and Southland regions.


What skills and qualifications have you acquired along the way, and how have they enhanced your service delivery?

By the end of 2023 I will have the qualifications that we study towards throughout the traineeship program. The variety of areas that the traineeship provides learnings for gives us the skills to develop our career on many different paths.

We have many different guest speakers at trainee schools who help us improve our knowledge, and assist with our growth and development. Having these opportunities gives us as trainees the skills to go back to our facilities and improve and optimise our skills as coaches, club fitters, golf operation assistants/managers, and sales assistants.


What attracted you to your current role?

The ability to be influential in growing the game, and providing opportunities in areas which don’t currently have the resources to offer opportunities for all ages to get into golf.


Where do you see a PGA career taking you?

The traineeship provides the opportunity for our careers to take many paths, and for now I can see myself growing in my current role and seeing what opportunities are presented throughout my career.


And what new opportunities do you see along that route?

I believe that I am fortunate to be in a role where there is opportunity to work up the ladder and I am excited at the idea of doing that.


If you could work anywhere as a PGA professional, where why that be, and why?

For me personally, being based in Queenstown is important - as it is where my wife and I plan to bring up our family.


What do you know now that you wish you’d had known when you first started out?

Time management and preparation is key to being successful for the tasks and challenges in front of you.