Newport Beach Country Club member Dee Devaney found out the club's head golf professional Paul Hahn was let go the day that it happened, June 1.
"I was shocked," said Devaney, who has been at the club since 1987, two years before Hahn started. "I liked Paul and I thought he did a good job."
Devaney works the driving range during the Toshiba Classic, the Champions Tour event Newport hosts every March.
"I would always go to [Hahn] for help to make the range run as smooth as possible. He was my contact."
Hahn said he has received hundreds of calls from supportive members.
The new ownership group at NBCC, Eagle Four Partners and Pacific Hospitality Group, LLC, has in place Tony Letendre as the club's director of golf.
"As the new owners we made a decision to go in a different direction at NBCC," Kevin Martin wrote in an e-mail. Martin is a partner with Eagle Four. "We wish Paul all the best in the future and thank him for his many years of service at the club."
Letendre played for Newport, along with assistant pro Carlo Borunda, women's champion Debbie Fleming, men's champion Brian Lindley and senior champion Jan-Erik Palm in the Jones Cup June 27.
Hahn competed in the prior 12 Jones Cup tournaments. On June 1, he was called into a meeting and told that his position was being eliminated.
"Sometimes things happen for a reason," Hahn said. "I'm trying to stay positive."
Hahn said he would like to find another head pro position.
"I have a passion for it, and I love the interaction with members," Hahn said.
In the meantime, he will work as a part-time consultant for Clubessential, LLC, a company that provides website guidance for private country clubs. Hahn says his role is that of the "closer," providing expertise after the sales team has demonstrated software to a potential client.
Part of his role with the company, which has corporate offices in Cincinnati and Austin, Texas, will also include heading a golf advisory committee. The committee includes six head pros from across the U.S. who provide advice and improvements for online tee sheets and golf lesson formats.
Southern California is a difficult market to find head pro openings, Hahn said. He said he has placed his resume on career sites.
Hahn began as an assistant at NBCC in 1989 before becoming head pro in 1995. He played in the Toshiba Classic six times from 2004 to 2010 and the 2005 Senior PGA Championship. In 2006, the PGA of America named Hahn to the PGA President's Council on Growing the Game.
BRYCE ALDERTON is the golf writer for the Daily Pilot. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org