DEERWOOD - The band didn't play "Pomp and Circumstance" because there was no band or cap and gown or tassel.
The April day Greg Snow became an official PGA member and earned his Class A certification was void of ceremony and graduation cake. That didn't make it any less special for the 33-year-old head golf professional at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge.
The distinction didn't change Snow. He's not taller, thinner or funnier. He's still laid back, likes to bump knuckles and joke around and continues to hit driver off most tee boxes.
That April day did end a journey that began eight years ago when Snow, with the support of his wife, Leigh Ann, entered the PGA apprenticeship program.
Position: Head PGA professional, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge
Web site: www.ruttgers.com
Clubhouse phone: (218) 678-4646
Family: Leigh Ann (wife), Ryan 9, Makayla 6, Leslie 4
"It was more of a burden off my shoulders than an excitement feeling," said Snow. "I'm no different. I'm not a different guy. I'm not a different pro. I don't do anything different. I do everything the same. It's given me a little more education and more things to fall back on, but I'm no different.
"Was it a relief and was it worth it? Absolutely."
Snow passed his player's ability test in 2000 and started working at Ruttger's as an assistant professional under Bill Laimer in 2001. In 2005 Snow became the head professional when Laimer moved to Monticello. Until April, Snow was classified as a B-I. Now he's an A-1 and in his mind that tag is all that has changed.
A benefit in Snow's new title is his ability to hire an apprentice. He also is eligible to qualify for the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine, which is something he half joked at.
Snow completed the three certification levels through a correspondence course with the PGA Learning Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He said it was the best plan for him considering he already earned a college degree.
"Everything that happened in my process was the way I kind of envisioned it," said Snow. "The financial part was the part that killed me. When I was an assistant, you're paid like an assistant and you're laid off in the winters. Coming up with $1,800 is a big stretch. Once the financial help was there then it was just up to me to get the motivation."
Also helping Snow toward his goal was his family and Ruttger's, which provided financial support toward the final two stages of his process.
"The biggest benefit for me having a family was when I started it, I was for sure going to finish," said Snow. "Being a single guy you have no responsibility and no one else to look out for. They're not hurting anybody else if they decide to do something else. I wasn't in a position to do that. I had people at home that were banking on me.
"I have a lot invested in this and that's where my family support helped me. There are times when you ask yourself, 'Can I afford this?' That's why it took me so long to finish level one because I was getting no financial support for it. Then when I became the head pro, Ruttger's kicked in a lot of the money toward that."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.