Teaching Golf Professionally to Wealth Management - Nicola Wealth

Life After Sports: From a Teaching Professional With the PGA of Canada to a Career in Wealth Management


Joe Clain is the Nicola Wealth Staff Advisor and a Senior Financial Planning Associate in our Vancouver office and a former Associate Professional at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. We spoke with him on transitioning from his career as a teaching professional and member of PGA of Canada to his career in wealth management.

What was it like to be a professional golfer?

I feel like it’s important to highlight the difference between a playing professional (like Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour) versus a teaching professional like I was. Teaching pros work at golf clubs throughout the country providing lessons, running tournaments and events, managing the Pro Shop, and more. Occasionally, I did play in professional tournaments that were smaller local events against fellow PGA of Canada members (some of whom have played on the PGA Tour).

I was very fortunate to work as an Associate Professional at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club for eight years before transitioning to finance. Shaughnessy is one of the top private clubs in the country and a dream to play and work at for any serious golfer. I met a lot of great people there (and a few celebrities like Tom Brady, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Wahlberg, and Bill Clinton). I also learned a great deal about business, hard work and how to provide 5-star service. “Golf pro” may sound like an easy job but it comes with very long hours…you are usually at work from sun up to sun down five to six days a week from March through to October.

Overall, it was a great experience. I have nothing but fond memories when I look back on my time spent as a member of the Canadian PGA. I’d be lying if said I didn’t miss some of the fringe benefits of being a golf pro… namely new equipment every year and travelling around to play some of the top courses in North America.

What made you decide to switch to a career in finance?

I was looking for a new challenge. My interest in economics and the financial markets naturally led me to seek a career in finance. I also wanted a career that could offer more growth opportunities while providing me with a solid work-life balance.

How was the transition from being an athlete to finance?

It wasn’t easy. I quickly learned the financial world is not easy to break into without a financial background! When I started at Nicola Wealth, the initial learning curve was very, very steep for me. I remember late nights in the office trying to get caught up on the day’s tasks, then I would get home and worry I forgot something critical. I wasn’t used to juggling dozens of tasks at once, and it took me some time to develop the organizational skills needed to succeed. I’d say it took me the better part of a year to get acclimatized to “Nicola speed” before I began to feel more comfortable and confident in my role.

What did golf teach you about excelling in your career?

Patience and discipline. I learned nothing comes easy. However, if you work hard and have patience, then good things will happen.

Where do you see your career going?

Currently, I am enjoying my position as Staff Advisor and Senior Financial Planning Associate for now. I am also always looking to expand my knowledge and skills, so I am working towards acquiring my insurance designation.