By Kim J. Harmon
By Kim J. Harmon
hen Bill Flood became an official member of the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) back on April 20, it was with an enormous sense of relief â not only for himself and his family, but also for the membership of the Rock Ridge Country Club.
âWhen they took me on (in 1997), I didnât have anything,â said Bill, who had to undertake three years of schooling after passing his initial 36-hole playing test. âIâm very fortunate to have a membership that is very supportive. They have been unbelievable â itâs almost beyond words.â
It is kind of amazing â when you think about it â how Bill Flood came to this point.
About 20 years ago, Bill had just started working on his tennis scholarship at Marist College. He had come from a great Newtown High School program that had, perhaps, the greatest tennis player (Woody Freeman) the school has ever known.
Golf? No, Bill Flood didnât golf. He didnât pick up the blades until he was about 22 . . . but thatâs when he discovered something odd, something that millions of weekend duffers wished they had discovered for themselves.
The game came easy.
But even so, when the position of golf professional at Rock Ridge Country Club became available in 1997 Bill was playing to a four or five handicap. Good in itself, but good enough to be a pro?
âI was a decent amateur player,â said Bill, âand the members wanted to give the kid from Newtown a shot.â
Once he was awarded the position, he went to Pensacola, Florida, to take his 36-hole playing test to start the process towards becoming a PGA member. He passed, of course, but then came three years of study â three years of business, marketing, and psychology classes and seminars in places like New Orleans, Florida, Tennessee and Buffalo.
âPros from area clubs â Mark (Bialobrzeski) over at Heritage Country Club and Paul (Miller) from Newtown Country Club â have been a big help to me the last few years,â said Bill.
In April, his studies were complete.
He was a PGA member.
âWhen I first got the job,â Bill remembered, âI said Iâd fulfill all the requirements â but if only I had known what it took. I couldnât have done it without my wife, though. She has been so supportive to me.â
Since he became a PGA member, Bill finished third at a tournament at Ridgewood Country Club and tried to qualify for the Canon Greater Hartford Open, and still gets to go back to Rock Ridge to do what he loves to do the most.
âI just love to teach,â said Bill, who ladled out a lot of credit to his two assistants â Steve Scharlow and Jeff Sobieral â for their work in and around the pro shop. âThere is not a day that I donât want to come to work.â
Who else can say the same?