By Steve Pike
You might say Tony Chateauvert owes his job to two things: A navy blue blazer and a box of crayons. The blazer goes back more than 25 years and the crayons go back less than one year.
An explanation: As an aspiring golf professional, Chateauvert, PGA professional and manager of the Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course on Palm Beach, endeared himself to the head professional at fabled Garden City Golf Club on Long Island by showing up for an assistants tournament in the blazer. Garden City Golf Club, understand, is one of those “old world” golf clubs where etiquette (and jackets) are still required.
“I had done my research and knew you needed a sports jacket,” Chateauvert said. “Of all 120 guys playing, I was the only one with a sports jacket. I ended up having lunch with the head professional (Gil McNally). A couple of months later he offered me the job. We’re still close friends.”
The crayons? As part of the interview for the Palm Beach Par 3 manager’s job, Chateauvert was asked to draw his résumé.
“I started out at the bottom with stick figures of my caddying days; I had a lot of circles with smiling faces (that represented networking) and then me on top at a desk with two kids and wife,” Chateauvert said. “It was terribly drawn. But I was told I was the first person who went from the bottom up. Everybody else started at the top. I told them I don’t want to go down, I want to go up.”
That’s certainly the direction Chateauvert has taken the Palm Beach Par 3 since he started this past Feb. 22. During his first six months, Chateauvert said, rounds played increased 40 percent and revenue increased 32 percent.
“It’s not that I’m a genius,” said Chateauvert as he looked out over the Atlantic Ocean from behind the wheel of a golf cart. “My background is in private clubs — I like tradition — but you go to a lot of them and no one is smiling. That’s not the way it is here. You can come here and play and no one is looking down their nose. You can play golf and shoot as many balls on the range as you want.
“My job is to make sure this is a fun place to play golf. You treat everybody the way you want to be treated, and they come a second and third time.”
No jacket required.