What does it take to get the top job at one of Florida’s top private clubs? If you’re Old Memorial Golf Club general manager Rob Anderson, the key to success is exposure early in your career to how some of the best in the business run their operations.
Anderson, who grew up in Windermere, Florida, considered work in finance when he left college, but a 9-to-5 office job just didn’t feel right to him. His friend and former East Carolina University teammate David Coates encouraged him to pursue a career in golf. So Anderson turned to his long-time coach Gregor Jamieson at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando for a little advice. He got much more.
“Gregor always had this incredible pro-pro event the day before the PGA Show, so I called down and talked to him,” Anderson said. “He said, ‘Listen, if you’re interested, come out and we’ll go from there.’ So I went out and had a conversation with him, and he said, ‘All right, this is what you’re going to have to do if you want to do it, come out here – I want you in a sport coat, all dressed up – and I’ll take you around and introduce you to a few of the guys.’
“Well, he introduced me to every professional in the field, and I ended up with a few interviews, and it led me to Caves (Valley) for my first summer experience and first work experience, and then to the Medalist. I started in the caddie office as the assistant caddie master/bag room manager at Caves and then went to the Medalist and worked for Buddy Antonopoulos, valeting cars and cleaning the range every night.”
Anderson worked his way up from being an assistant golf professional at Caves Valley in Maryland and Medalist in Hobe Sound, Florida, just after college to head professional jobs at Ocean Reef in Key Largo, Florida, and Frederica Golf Club in Sea Island, Georgia. More recently, he held director of golf positions at Belfair Golf Club in Bluffton, South Carolina, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, California. He joined Old Memorial in July 2020.
At Caves Valley, Anderson worked for legendary PGA professional Dennis Satyshur, the 2009 winner of the PGA’s Bill Strausbaugh Award for mentorship. He taught Anderson what it meant to be a PGA pro.
“The Caves experience is really the one that – working for Dennis Satyshur – was the graduate school, if you will,” Anderson said. “He was just so meticulous, demanded perfection from everybody – he was close to it himself. But he just had super, super high standards, and it really kind of was by way of osmosis – he wasn’t a hands-on coach – but it was like, see how I act and that’s how you need to act. He was fantastic. So over those four years there, I worked my way into the golf shop.”
Larger-than-life inspirations have been common for Anderson. He took up golf at a young age, and his father, Fred, was a pilot and had time to share the game with his son.
The benefits of working at Caves were not limited to golf shop how-tos. Anderson also learned the importance of helpful, caring members.
“Dennis always had a saying that no matter how much work you put in, the membership will always surpass that for you,” he said. “The culture of the club – they’re always willing to help, network, a call here, ‘how can we help you?’”
Following his head golf professional stops at Ocean Reef and Frederica, Anderson pursued and landed the director of golf job at Belfair, where one of the best parts of the process was meeting search-committee member Lou Miller. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, Miller was the vice president of golf at Pinehurst Resort, where Satyshur was part of his outside operations staff. Miller, Anderson said, has been a valued mentor and a part of every big decision Anderson has made since 2007.
Larger-than-life inspirations have been common for Anderson. He took up golf at a young age, and his father, Fred, was a pilot and had time to share the game with his son. Anderson had success in junior golf, but his first brush with golf greatness came when his family joined Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge when he was in 7th grade.
“It was just an incredible experience, and it helped take my passion for golf to another level,” Anderson said. “To have the chance to be around Mr. Palmer, and my dad – with his flying background, he and Mr. Palmer clicked – he played in the shootout group. And in my office, I’m looking at my scorecard where my Dad stepped aside on Christmas Eve of ’97 so I could play with Mr. Palmer, and I remember we won all three balls in the shootout game that day.”
Not only did Anderson learn professionalism and how things should be done at Bay Hill, but it was there that he started on his professional career by getting an introduction to Jamieson.
“I got connected to Gregor through the long-time pro at Bay Hill, Richard Tiddy, who was one of Arnold’s teammates at Wake Forest,” Anderson said. “Gregor and Mr. Tiddy were connected because Gregor (had) married Dick’s daughter. Mr. Tiddy said, ‘You know, you and Gregor would mesh well.’ So I went out for a lesson one day, and it just clicked (with Gregor), and we were together all the way through my college years.”
Recall it was Jamieson who connected Anderson with Satyshur, and that relationship helped bring Anderson back to Florida from his stint as director of golf at Monterey through Old Memorial co-founder Chris Sullivan.
“It just was happenstance that one of the members out there was a fellow named Chris Sullivan, and I got to know Chris a little bit, but it comes full circle,” Anderson said. “(Old Memorial) decided to make a change, and they had a long relationship with Dennis from Caves, and they were talking to Dennis, and Dennis was like, ‘I know a fella that maybe would want to come back to Florida,’ and just one thing led to the other. I had some conversations with Chris, and it worked out to where the timing was right.”
Anderson has seen success during his short time at Old Memorial. Earlier this year the club was named Merchandiser of the Year in the private category by the West Central Chapter of the North Florida Section of the PGA. Anderson credits the honors, in part, to his exposure to the way Jamieson and Satyshur ran their shops.
“Gregor was very old-school and passionate about the way the shop looked, and presentation, and everything had a place and had to be presented perfect,” Anderson said. “And he always had new lines that you’d never see. Caves Valley was a great place to learn about merchandising because we were 75 percent guest play, and all the guests wanted something. But Dennis, again, was about presentation, best in class brands, those sort of things that have always stayed with me.”
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