In Good Company with Cal Club's Assistant Professional Will Manning

In Good Company with Cal Club's Assistant Professional Will Manning

We met Will a few years ago when he was an Assistant Pro at Burlingame Country Club just south of San Francisco. We were impressed not only by his professionalism, but also by his sense of style and appreciation for menswear. 

Will joined California Golf Club as their lead Assistant Professional last year, and we caught up with him during a recent trip out West. We’re proud to add Will to our H&B Ambassador roster and excited for what his future holds in the Club Pro space. We hope you’ll enjoy this edition of In Good Company.

Tell us about yourself and what you enjoy most about heading into Cal Club every day? 

I was pretty lucky as a kid growing up splitting time between South Orange County and Moss Beach, a small local beach town south of San Francisco.  Moss Beach was twenty minutes south of Sharp Park, an Alister MacKenzie design and true public muni. Having played there almost five times a week, I have a soft spot for municipal golf and golf history.  

I started my golf career through the PGM program at Coastal Carolina University.  The internships took me all over the country, and I was fortunate to learn from amazing golf professionals throughout the program.  I received my class A, and Olympic Club was where I started my professional career.  

I moved over to Burlingame Country Club for three years and have been at California Golf Club for a little over a year now. Cal Club is a hidden gem and a golf-centric club, and I like that every day here is different.  Whether I’m on the lesson tee, grabbing breakfast with members in the men’s bar, or jumping into a money game as a late add, Cal Club is a special place.

California Golf Club

Did you always know you wanted to be a club pro or when was the moment you realized it? What’s your typical day-to-day like?

I had always played golf and enjoyed it but didn’t realize the club pro route was for me until I took a chance on the PGM program.  I have always liked teaching and helping people learn, and teaching the golf swing came easy to me.  The more I learned, the more I knew that I was comfortable in the golf professional setting.  

A typical day for me includes opening the golf shop, running the tee for a bit, taking care of the back-end operation (merchandising, tournament ops, etc.). Then I step into a lesson or two and spend some time on the putting green making sure my flatstick is acting accordingly. 

SF golf is some of the best in the country. Is it your favorite?

San Francisco Bay Area golf is very good. With Cal Club, SFGC, Olympic Club and the newly renovated and restored Lake Merced, the golf is great up here…not to mention the public city tracks, TPC Harding and Presidio. 

I’m a little biased, and I do love the look and feel of SF golf with the cool foggy mornings and fairways lined with cypress trees.  It is hard to beat, but I also really love mountain golf with its elevation changes and great sight lines through the redwoods.

Cal Club Score Cards

Describe your all-time favorite day of golf. 

My all-time favorite golf day was playing Cypress for the first time on a gorgeous day with my brother.  I kept it a surprise, and he didn’t know we were playing there until we pulled past the ‘members only’ sign.  Perfect weather, hitting the ball decently well, and a walk around Cypress made for an all-time day.

Favorite time of day to play and why? Favorite course?

First thing in the morning is my favorite time to play.  There is no one on the course, and it’s the best the greens will be all day - hard to beat that.  I really can’t say that I have a favorite golf course, but I would say Cal Club is up there for me along with Castle Pines in Colorado.

What sets a place like Cal Club apart and are there areas of the operation that go above and beyond for the membership?

I think the main thing that sets Cal Club apart is actually the membership.  It almost feels like a brotherhood or fraternity here at Cal.  Everyone is on a first-name basis, including the staff with members.  It is not a cliquey club either. On the 1st tee, you could have a young Venturi member (aspiring tour player), professional athlete, doctor, and long-standing senior member all going out for a game.  

Besides the membership, I think the tournaments that we put on here at Cal Club are next to none.  They are extremely popular with extensive waitlists due to the tee prizes, perfectly conditioned golf course and “horse races” hilariously emceed by our head professional. 

Will Manning Cal Club Sullivan Pullover

Any advice for aspiring assistant pros in the industry? Where should they focus their efforts?

Follow through!  As golf professionals, we wear a lot of different hats and are asked to complete a variety of tasks.  The quicker and more efficient we can complete these tasks and follow through and follow up with the member, the easier our job will be and the more trusted and supported we will be by the member. 

I would also say focus your efforts on building relationships, you never know who you’ll meet and what types of doors can open for you.  Also, this should go without saying but stay focused on your own game!  Keep the short game tight.

Sweater or quarter-zip and why? 

Quarter-zip.  They are versatile for golf and maybe a casual cocktail/dinner party after. They are also just warm enough for the cool mornings in the Bay Area.

Favorite H&B piece or product detail and why?

The Westland Pullover is my favorite piece to wear on the course due to its great quality. I layer The Westland Pullover with The King Vest and I’m all set.  I also love the look and feel of The Chapman Shirt. There is nothing like a classic pique that fits well, especially with the H&B tour logo on the sleeve.

Post-Round Drink 

Ice-cold Guinness.

Cal Club

Describe your personal style.

My personal style is pretty classic. I wear a lot of solids under layering pieces, but I like to throw in the brighter colors from time to time.  You’ll always see me in white FootJoys regardless of the season and a white hat, usually the H&B transfusion hat.

How does H&B fit into your shop and how does it resonate with the membership?

H&B fits great into our shop because the classic look and high quality of the line works well with what our members want.  I think it also resonates with the membership because H&B is the most true-to-size clothing line in the industry.  H&B sells itself with the classic colors and properly fitting sizes.

Cal Club Ward Sweater