A QUICK 9 WITH MARIO GUERRA – QUAKER RIDGE
Mario Guerra, PGA head professional at Quaker Ridge, listed among America’s 100 Greatest Courses by Golf Digest, shares his love for golf and key insights to achieving on-course success.
1. How long have you been in the golf industry?
I have been in the golf industry for 14 years! My first golf job was at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, in 2005, when I was attending Valdosta State University, in Georgia.
2. Give us a quick snapshot of your career experiences and some of the highlights over the past few years.
In 2009, I met Michael Breed, who at the time was the Head Golf Professional at Sunningdale Country Club, in Scarsdale, NY. Michael took me under his wing and I spent six seasons at Sunningdale CC moving up the ranks form outside operations to first assistant.
I’ve been at Quaker Ridge GC since 2015, I was an Assistant Golf Professional for 3 seasons and in 2018 was named the Head Golf Professional. I’ve been fortunate to have many highlights the past few years, being named by Golf Digest as one of the Best Young Teachers in America and most importantly becoming the Head Golf Professional at Quaker Ridge GC has been an incredible honor. I give all the credit to all the great Professionals who have mentored me along the way.
3. If you could be a Professional Caddie on the PGA Tour, who would you like to caddie for and why?
Tiger Woods. When Tiger is in contention almost everyone is excited or at the least paying attention to golf and being the guy on his bag is the best seat in the house!
4. Has golf always been your first love? What other sports are you passionate about and do you participate in any other sports besides golf?
I have loved sports since I can remember but my first sports love was actually basketball. I played a lot of basketball from 11-18 years old and was never really that good so I wished I would have spent it playing golf! I was introduced to golf at 20 years old and since then I would call it more of an obsession than love.
5. Who was your golf hero growing up and why?
Tiger Woods got me interested in golf. When I saw highlights of him playing and winning tournaments it looked like a lot of fun.
6. What is your favourite Golf Major to watch and why? What were your highlights and what stood out for you?
The Masters is always the major I always look forward to the most. Seeing Sergio Garcia finally win a green jacket was awesome but what stood out for me most was when Tiger got into contention on Sunday at The Open Championship.
7. Where, in your opinion, does pace-of-play rank as a priority to the golf industry? And what is needed to make it more of a priority?
If you are a GM or Head Golf Professional member satisfaction and enjoyment of the golf experience is the most important thing. Slow play will quickly ruin anyone’s golf experience so I would say it’s definitely a priority and very important.
8. Why did your course decided to invest in golf course intelligence and, since it’s installation, what has the technology successfully influenced?
Quaker Ridge GC is always looking for tools to help us improve our member experience while at the club. Our goal for the first year was to educate ourselves and the members on pace of play. To create a culture and awareness of how long it should take to play golf on our curse.
We wanted as much information as possible and Tagmarshal delivered on giving us the data we were looking for. This technology has been instrumental in helping us create rules and implement them in an objective manner.
9. What are the most important on-course success factors for a golf course? How would golf course intelligence assist in achieving this success?
Members and guest having a great experience with every interaction is our most important on-course success factor.
One of the objectives is to increase member participation at the club. The more golf they play during the season the more time they will also spend at the club doing other things.
If we can get them on the course for an enjoyable round that doesn’t take too long they will have more time to take advantage of the other great amenities and experiences that we offer. Using Tagmarshal allows us to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to pace of play experience.
Tagmarshal is a golf course intelligence and pace-of-play management solution that turns pace into an asset. The system uses small “tags” clipped onto golf bags or installed on carts which transmit geolocation data. Industry-leading algorithms identify risk groups with accurate, objective support to alleviate pace challenges before they arise. Public, private and resort courses using Tagmarshal realize substantial returns on investments through improved on-course experiences achieved with less staff as well as increases in daily rounds. Impactful and easy-to-use data analytics, weather data integration and geo-fencing complete the offering.