It takes a brave golfer to venture into the professional game. And the decision to step off that merry-go-round is probably an even tougher one to make.
Yet Northern Beaches, Sydney professional Adam Groom felt the time was right to settle down … and Pay As You Golf appeared the perfect opportunity and challenge to do just that.
Not to mention the lure of getting married and having a family.
Groom has been one of Sydney’s most successful professional golfers of recent years and was making a comfortable living playing mostly in Asia.
Yet when a little bit of that fire in the belly began to flicker, which he admits equated to some poorer results, it helped him make that decision to turn his back on full-time touring.
“With golf you really have to be all in … and 14 years out there with non-stop travel does take it out of you,” Groom told Inside Golf.
“I always thought I would play until I was about 40; Well, I made it to 37!”
Plus Groom had also watched many of his golfing friends in the pro ranks attempt to stay on tour with their family in tow and he decided that looked too hard.
Groom had already spent the majority of his life on the golf course.
He joined Mona Vale Golf Club when he was just 13 and looks back with fondness on those formative years: “It was a great place to grow up playing,” he says.
He moved up to Monash Country Club when he was 17 and he’s been there ever since.
“They made me club touring professional when I turned pro at 23 and I’ve always enjoyed coming home and working on my game at the club.
“These days I try and play with the members on a Wednesday maybe twice a month and I also teach at the club on Fridays.”
Enter his new direction in golf, taking on a role with Pay As You Golf as their Relationship Manager.
“New owners took over a business that had already been around for 13 years and I guess with my golfing background I was a good fit for the position,” he said.
“Basically, we provide flexible payment plans for members to pay off their annual golf subscriptions.
“But the club receives the full amount up-front.
“[It’s] great for cash flow for clubs as our product significantly reduces administration.
“In our experience, clubs view our product as a mechanism for saving costs around office overheads.
“My job is to speak with club representatives and educate them on our payment option … and hopefully they agree to offering us.”
Groom says clubs they have partnered with have been more than happy with how Pay As You Golf is working at their club.
“We now have more than 100 clubs Australia-wide offering our payment option,” he said.
“I think something like this is a great choice for clubs and members … especially in the current market.
“Potentially, after the Covid-19 Pandemic, clubs are coming back lighter in staff, so out-sourcing internal finance can heavily reduce their costs.”
Naturally that is a massive change in lifestyle for Groom.
“Yes, I get out there and have meetings with clubs – it’s very different from tour life, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I do enjoy the interaction with other people in the golfing industry.
“Pay As You Golf is also a networking partner of the GMA (Golf Management Australia), which allows us to promote our business throughout the year and compete in a few golf days around the country.
“So, I still dust off the clubs and try to shoot under par.”
There’s probably not much time left for actually playing the game.
“Our 18-month-old daughter Lucinda keeps us busy on the weekends,” he said.
“And when I retired from tournament play, I decided to complete the PGA Bridging Program.
“That allows me to teach and be a PGA member for life.
“I think playing on tour for 14 years being a golf professional is kind of your identity.”
Groom does miss some aspects of tour life, of course.
“I’ve always loved competing and playing in some of the biggest events in Europe and Asia, it really was a great part of my life,” he says.
“I miss playing money games on a Tuesday against fellow Australian tour pals like Marcus Fraser, Wade Ormsby or Kieran Pratt.
“Playing pre-dominantly in Asia I became good friends with a range of great people. Friends that I will remain in touch with for life.”
Groom has been around for most of the Tiger Woods boom but says probably the best round of golf he witnessed, firsthand was being paired with American Hunter Mahan in the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, or “Carnastie”, as Groom calls it.
“In the second round he barely missed a shot under tough conditions, and I’ll always remember that,” he said.
“I think he shot 65 that day.”
And Groom’s own most memorable round?
“I had a few low ones on tour but I think 62 in the Monash Masters when I was about 20 years old,” he grins.
“I still look back and wonder how I got it that far under par with the greens so fast!”
So what’s next for Pay As You Golf?
“Well, we have partnered with quite a few more clubs recently which has been great,” he said.
“Potentially we will now look at promotions for our high-user clubs.
“Maybe we’ll look at golf days, and really just keeping up the good service for our clubs.”