For the love of the game...
Taken from an article in the
Hingham Journal, April 2001
by Jim Logan, Correspondent (article paraphrased) Bill Allen is living out a dream. The former Hingham resident dedicated more than two decades of his life to the Coast Guard. But now the retired chief warrant officer is committed to a lifelong passion... golf. So much so that he just had to go out and turn pro."I simply love the game" says Allen, who joined the ranks of the professional Golfers Association (P.G.A.) in October 2000.. After spending nearly five years in the P.G.A.'s arduous apprenticeship program, Allen graduated to "pro" status last fall, and presently utilizes his credentials as Director of Instruction, Johnson Golf Management ."I first started playing when I was around 11 or so with my older brother (in Millinocket, Maine, Allen's home-town). After I retired from the Guard in 1989 after 22 years of service, I realized I now had the chance to live out a dream and be a golf professional, and that's what I did."It took a bit, as it does for anybody who wants to go pro, but I did it."After graduating from college, Allen left his home state of Maine in 1967 and immediately enlisted into the U.S. Coast Guard, where he then spent the next 22 years raising a family with wife Naomi (children Rick, Mike and Michelle), as well as serving primarily as a personnel administrator and inspector for the Guard. The family was stationed in seaside-port cities throughout the United Stated, from California and Florida to Washington D.C. and Virginia (as well as a relatively short stint in Boston during the mid-to-late 70s). But it wasn't until Naomi (like Allen, a 20 year member of the Guard) was transferred back up to the Bay State in 1996, that the couple took up permanent residency in the local area.
It was at this time, Allen seriously began contemplating the idea of becoming a golf professional. Having already researched the necessary requirements for achieving his goal and tuning up his skills, Allen took the P.G.A. entrance exam in August of '96. Allen says it was ironic that the person who actually introduced him to the very game (Allen's older brother Jerry) ended up being his caddy - when he took the PGA.'s entrance exam at Ponkapoag Golf Course. "It was pretty special having him with me when I passed on the first try". He then began Professional Readiness Orientation - an extensive training period featuring several levels of competency, at a number of courses nationwide - before earning his coveted P.G.A. card.
"It's a very rigorous program," says Allen. "You have a lot of course testing to do, as well as a lot of practical testing. It's really not something you can go into if you're not prepared to [endure] the time commitment."
Once he successfully completed the training, Allen was asked by the South Shore Country Club where he'd been working as an assistant pro - if he would be interested in the Head Professional title, replacing Joe Keefe, along with serving as director of instruction at three other courses, including North Hill in Duxbury. Without hesitation, Allen accepted.
"It's really the main reason I wanted to get my (P.G.A.) card," he says. "Because I love the game so much, I thought it would be fun to teach other people what a great sport golf is, also."
Along with the seven instructors he oversaw South Shore Country Club and surrounding area courses, Allen's ambitions are to teach his charges - be a 65-year-old "first-timer" or 5-year old "up and comer," in any of the club's junior programs. True success comes with the knowledge that, each student comes away with the feeling of excitement for the sport that he does. Bill is currently the Director of Instruction, Johnson Golf Management.
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