Rex Richardson the new golf pro for The Oaks golf course near hole #11
COVINGTON -- Little did Rex Richardson know while sitting in his golf management class at N.C. State his dreams would come true.
"My mother reminded me just recently that I told her after my first day of college that my answer was to be a head golf professional at a semi-private facility and here I am today," The Oaks Course new golf professional said. "I've had a lot of experiences along the way being in the business for over 14 years. I feel like I have a lot to add to the Oaks Course while enhancing my value as a PGA professional."
Richardson, who is from Wendell, N.C., a small town of 6,000 people 15 miles outside of Raleigh, N.C., grew up playing baseball, swimming, football, soccer and tennis -- everything but golf. But once he was bitten by the golf bug he knew he didn't want to do anything else.
When he was 15 years old, his father gave him a choice. He could either get a job or work on the family farm. It was really no decision for Richardson.
"I grew up on a farm across the street from Wendell Country Club, which is where I eventually established my roots in the golf business," Richardson said. "Within that time was when I figured out I wanted to pursue golf as a career."
Richardson started off cleaning golf carts before moving on to grounds and course maintenance and turf care, eventually moving inside to work in the golf shop. He also found the time to pick up some clubs, eventually getting good enough to play on the high school team his junior and senior year.
"I was one of those guys that was everywhere and I enjoyed being there. I'm not the type of person that likes to sit at a desk and do one job. I like to be involved with all different things. The golf business allowed me to do that," he said. "I went to N.C. State and enrolled in the professional golf management program."
It wasn't until his sophomore year at N.C. State when he got his chance to take his evolution in the golf business to the next level -- teaching. The head professional at Wendell left, giving him the opportunity to move up. He held that position during college and a for few years afterward. It was challenging because Wendell did not have a driving range.
"That was a bit of a challenge for me to establish my teaching game," he said. "I had been in the business for six years and knew the type of commitment this business was. I decided to accept the position and to this day it's a decision I've never regretted. I was very fortunate to obtain that position at a young age which helped me mature as a person."
Even though he gave lessons at Wendell Country Club, it wasn't until he took the position as an assistant golf professional at Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, N.C., under director of golf Joey Hines that his teaching techniques really began to grow.
"I'm a firm believer that no two swings are alike. I try to take whatever (a player) has and make it work. I don't want to change anything unless it's absolutely necessary. Everybody has different flexibility, different posture or strength. I'm big on the fundamentals and that's where the golf swing starts. Sometimes people get ahead of themselves and you have to back them up to the basics of the golf swing," Richardson said.
"Being a good listener and being observant and understanding the golf swing is what makes me a real good teacher. I feel like I can deal with any person, no matter what their issue is with their swing. I can simplify things and make them understand it in a way that doesn't make them think too much about what they're trying to fix. I have a keep it simple method."
After his stay at Cape Fear, Richardson returned back to the Raleigh area, taking a position at Brier Creek Country Club. Besides teaching, Richardson is also an avid golfer, playing competitive golf whenever he can. While in North Carolina, he was active in the Carolina Sectional, playing about eight events a year. While playing in the Section Assistance Championship, Richardson followed a rough start with a 68, the second lowest round of the tournament, to tie for 16th place.
"I hope that once I get established, I'll have the chance to play some of the section majors and professional championships and opens in the area," he added.
Even though he's a long way from home, to Richardson the Oaks Course is home. He hopes to form the same bonds and feelings for the course and the people he had while in Wendell.
"From the moment I came to interview at the Oaks I felt a sense of being home. It's obvious to many people that Dick and Nancy Schulz are great people. Even in the short time I've been here, the transition has been wonderful. They've been accommodating and showed belief in me. That makes me feel good. I have visions of this being a place of long-term employment for me and this being my home."