Jason Wyatt  - 2023 Club Professional of the Year

Jason Wyatt - 2023 Club Professional of the Year

Jason Wyatt with award
Jason Wyatt’s story is similar to many PGA of Ontario professionals. A part-time job working in the back-shop of his local club opened his eyes to the excitement of the golf business and led to a lifelong vocation.
Where his journey differs is that the same pro shop (Sunningdale Golf & Country Club) — where PGA of Canada Life Professional Ron Healy hired a teenaged Wyatt to wash members’ clubs in 1990 — is where he stayed. Like athletes playing on the same pro team for their entire career, this loyalty is rare. But, for the 2023 PGA of Ontario Club Professional of the Year, he can’t imagine working anywhere else.
“Knock on wood it continues,” Wyatt says. “It’s a great spot… you don’t want to leave a place like this. The Thompsons, who own Sunningdale, have been spectacular to my family and I, allowing me to grow a life that I love here. I’m forever indebted to them.”
Before washing that first club at 14, Wyatt got a taste for golf from his grandfather who took him to a par 3 course in Southampton a few years before the Wyatt family moved to London, Ont.
As he enters his 34th year at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club, retiring and leaving the golf life behind is far from his mind. He loves the ownership group and the membership. Three decades on, his passion for the game – and for the job – still burns bright.


Sunningdale Club House

The hands-on leader, who assumed the top job at Sunningdale in 2005, learned from one of the best. Patty Howard, the trailblazing PGA of Ontario Hall of Famer who was the first head professional at a private mixed club in Canada, hired Wyatt; he attributes her mentorship as a key to his success.
“I believe to be successful you need incredible mentors,” he says. “Patty taught me everything there is to know about the game. She is also a great friend.”

Wyatt now mentors the next generation; the dedicated leader is driven to making others around him stronger. Another key to Wyatt’s success, and to his longevity in the golf industry, is a belief in work-life balance.
When he chatted with the PGA of Ontario, the head professional had just returned from a seven-day Caribbean cruise with his family. He leads by example and instils in his team the importance of this recipe for better well-being.
“Seven days a week does not work anymore,” Wyatt says. “Life is too busy. Patty started this trend by giving staff an extra day off.”
Wyatt took this a step further. He implemented a five-day workweek for Sunningdale’s professional staff to foster a better work-life balance. And, following the pandemic, Wyatt took one more day off to increase the opportunity for his professionals to teach.
“We are probably the first club in Canada to offer a four-day workweek,” he says. “I strongly believe in work-life balance to help young assistants move through their programs, attain their goals, and still be able to spend time with their families.”
Sunningdale G&CC offers its professional staff many benefits like a pension plan and other on-the-job incentives, making the club attractive for young professionals. But, unlike his journey, Wyatt’s goal for his associates is for them to excel and then move on.
“I’m fortunate to say 12 of my former associates have left Sunningdale and moved onto other head professional positions,” he says. “That’s a feather in the cap for the Club and for my team. You keep good people for as long as you can, but we train our people to leave. We understand that a career is a career and we want our great people to move forward to other opportunities.”

For three decades, Wyatt has continued to move Sunningdale forward. His vision is for his employer to be regarded as the “Best Service Club” in the country. This desire for excellence is something he knows well. When Wyatt wrote his Class "A" examination back in the 1990s, he received the Tex Noble Award for the highest mark in Canada.
Besides his leadership in the pro shop, Wyatt enjoys all facets of his job. He still teaches and loves helping members find the right equipment. It’s no surprise to learn that Wyatt has been recognized as a regional Fitter of the Year 20 times and is also a past winner of the PING National Fitter of the Year award.
Acknowledging the seasonality of the business — and the effect of this precarious work arrangement on many associates — Wyatt created the Sunningdale Winter Golf Academy to give his professional staff year-round employment.

Sunningdale course

Over the past five years, Sunningdale has undergone a revitalization and a consolidation. The result of these changes, which opened for play in 2022, is a new 18-hole championship course. The routing borrowed from the original Stanley Thompson layout and added six new Doug Carrick designed holes.
As the population of London grows, the land where Sunningdale sits in the north end of the City is no longer so rural. New housing developments are rising everywhere; the Thompson family has sold 20 acres of the property for residential development, so eventually the Club will lose its other 18-hole course.
For Wyatt, this urbanization is inevitable and he sees the ongoing changes affecting the club as positives. The course will remain 36 holes this season and they will re-evaluate next steps in 2025.
“It’s an interesting time for the club,” he concludes. “The city coming closer to us creates new opportunities for attracting potential members. All these changes keep me engaged and I look forward to retiring here... one day.”

If you are interested in contacting Jason, he can be reached here.

Written by: David McPherson

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