Lara Pavloff, Golf Operations
PGA Professional Lara Pavloff’s original career path involved courtrooms, not golf courses. When she decided to switch from law school to the PGM Program, Pavloff decided early that broadening her golf experiences was the best way to prepare for the type of job she wanted. The result was her eventually finding the private club experience she was looking for as PGA Head Professional at The Biltmore Club in Miami.
Pavloff was always active in sports, growing up on a nine-hole golf course in Ohio and earning a spot in her high school’s hall of fame after an outstanding basketball career. After graduating from Miami University in Ohio and deciding to forego law, she researched careers in sports, and decided to give golf a shot by starting the PGM Program in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
After starting as an Assistant Professional at the Leelanau Club in Northern Michigan, Pavloff began to get an idea of the sort of facility where she wanted to work: A private club, where she could build relationships over time.
“I like to develop relationships, and private clubs seemed good for that,” Pavloff says. “I wanted to find a place with great members and great facilities, and started learning what I needed to be a PGA Head Professional.”
Moving from Michigan to Florida, Pavloff picked up customer service quickly, and started working as an apprentice at Trump National Golf Club Doral in 2009 before moving to The Biltmore in Coral Gables as an assistant in 2012. That’s where she started taking stock of what she needed to learn to take the next step at the resort property, which has 200 year-round golf members.
“I focused on merchandising, because I knew I need to be an expert in an area where I could show a financial impact,” Pavloff says. “It’s a huge financial responsibility to handle merchandising for a private club – if you’re good at it, it’s going to give you a leg up on the competition.”
Pavloff listened to mentors and attended PGA educational seminars on merchandising and golf shop management – adding TPI certification and also sharpening her teaching skills by working with PGA Teacher of the Year Martin Hall. In 2014, she was named PGA Head Professional and Tournament Director at The Biltmore, and also won honors as the 2017 South Florida PGA Merchandiser of the Year for resort facilities.
“I found a world that I liked, and then I found what I needed to learn to set myself apart,” Pavloff says. “I tell our assistants that it’s cliché, but hard work and going the extra mile will pay off. And if you can become an expert in an area that gives you an advantage.”
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