Today we’d like to introduce you to Chad Parker.
Chad, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I graduated from the Professional Golf Management program at Mississippi State University in May 1995. Over that summer, I got married and moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where my wife Carrie had enrolled in school. I started my career at NorthRiver Yacht Club while Carrie completed her Masters degree in Tax Accounting.
After Carrie graduated, she was offered a position in Atlanta with Price Waterhouse. I accepted a position as an Assistant Golf Professional at East Lake Golf Club. We loaded up a Uhaul and arrived in Atlanta the Monday after the Olympics were over. The next week, we both started our new jobs and have both been with the same company since then.
In less than 6 months, I was promoted to the position of Head Golf Professional and was given the chance to shape the direction of the club as a very young man. Over the years, I’ve been able to participate in many wonderful events, including being the host to 17 TOUR Championships (season ending event on the PGA TOUR), the Men’s United States Amateur Championship in 2001 and a multitude of others.
Along the way, I’ve enjoyed meeting countless people from all over the world. More importantly, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the finest people on the planet. Without a doubt, I’ve got the best job in the world.
Over the years, I’ve been promoted to various positions including Director of Golf, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Club. Just this year, I was named President. I am truly humbled to be part of such a wonderful organization.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been mostly a smooth road. Early on, we were still learning how things needed to go and learned a lot of things the hard way. Thankfully, our owner had a long term view for the Club and gave the staff the runway to make it happen.
Today, we’re known worldwide for our hospitality. That comes down to having passionate people who truly love what they do. I’m very fortunate to be part of team.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about East Lake Golf Club – what should we know?
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, East Lake Golf Club is the home course of legendary golfer, Bobby Jones and is the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta. The club is not only historic but philanthropic as well. Proceeds from operations – more than $20 million to date – support the East Lake Foundation, which has helped transform one of the nation’s worst public housing projects into a thriving community. Since 2004, East Lake has been the permanent home of the TOUR Championship, the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, with only the top 30 players on the points list qualifying each year.
As I mentioned earlier, we are known for our hospitality. We are also known for being the home course of Bobby Jones and the home course of the TOUR Championship.
There are many things that separate us from others. The primary differentiator is our mission of: Golf With a Purpose.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My wife Carrie, deserves most of the credit. Like many jobs in the hospitality industry, there are long hours, sometimes on holidays and always on weekends. We had to find out what “normal” was for us and she has been fantastic. She has supported me at every turn and I owe much of my success to her.
My parents Carl and Kay Parker, who encouraged me to find a career that I loved. My dad taught me how to talk to people and more importantly how to treat others with respect. My mom taught me the importance of service and how life is made better by doing so. My dad taught me how to cook and pickle vegetables… and the value of hard work. My mom taught me how to laugh and to love music. I am truly blessed to have them both as my parents.
Chris Burns was the Head Professional at the club where I grew up. He gave me every opportunity to learn the business as a teenager… and more importantly, did not fire me when I screwed up, which was often. He also taught me how to play the game. I will forever be indebted to him for all that he has done.
Along the way, there are too many teachers to name but Mr. Sizemore in 6th grade and Mr. Wallace in 11th grade were standouts.
- Address: 2575 Alston Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30317
- Website: www.eastlakegolfclub.com
- Phone: 4043735722
- Instagram: eastlakegc
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eastlakegolfclub/
- Twitter: @eastlakegc
Dave Sansom, Jonathan Hillyer, Caroline McGill