When Jeff Tallman was in Junior High School, his mother would often drop him off for the day at a golf course. “If it was sunny and summertime, I’d be out there,” he recalls. “I loved every minute.”
Years later, Tallman still gets a thrill out of spending his days on the golf course. But as the Director of Golf at Musgrove Mill Golf Club, actual golf is just a portion of his job. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of the club, he works to make guests feel like family, spending time with each group that comes to play.
Tallman got into the golf business out of school, starting at a couple of clubs in Indiana. After he married, he moved to Augusta, Georgia and worked as an assistant golf pro. A few years later, a position opened at Musgrove Mill Golf Club. The Tallmans, who had an eight-month-old at the time, saw great appeal in Clinton, South Carolina’s tight-knit community and soon made the move.
“Musgrove Mill’s intimate setting helps us stand out,” Tallman says. “We really take the opportunity to connect with our members.”
Tommy Parrish is one of Musgrove Mills’ original members, and says Tallman is a people person who has done great things for the club: “You’re always glad to see him, and he’s always glad to see you.”
It was spring when the Tallmans first arrived to Clinton. “The azaleas were blooming, Presbyterian College was abuzz, and we found a home in the center of town,” recalls Tallman, who is the father of three nearly-grown girls. “It’s been a true pleasure raising a family here.”
Family is a theme that motivates much of his business practice, too. “We’re golf professionals; we’re not professional golfers,” he explains. “We can play good golf, but what we’re always thinking about is our members - not our game. What can we do to make their day better? Every time they pull in through the gate, they can enjoy what we call the ‘decompression chamber.’ They can reconnect, relax, and refocus.”
Seeing the sport change over his time in the business, Tallman says he still hates to hear folks say golf takes too long. “I like to think of golf as quality time you can’t get back,” he says. “The four hours someone spends with their dad or mom on the golf course - they’re some of the best times of their lives.”
His father was an avid golfer, and would take Tallman along from the time he could walk. In high school, he had a particular fondness for golf. His college team even finished 16th in the NCAA.
“I got into the golf business for the golf - but I don’t think this is a business that you can just acquire a taste for,” Tallman explains. “I think it has to be in your blood. You have to love getting up and out there ... And you have to have a family that understands all of that. This is a service business and it takes a lot of give. You either have it or you don’t - and I’m so glad I do.”
A Tip From the Pros
From Musgrove Mill's formidable #7, Tallman discusses weighing the risk/reward of a challenging hole.