Jo-Anna Krupa knows her way around a golf course. She should, she spent the early part of her golf career designing them. But after four years at Dye Designs, Pete Dye’s firm in Denver, Colorado, she felt the urge to help others find their way around the course as a PGA Professional. She had left such a strong impression on Tony Rowe, PGA Professional from Ellington Ridge CC (Ellington, Conn.) from her days working in the maintenance and bag room, that he when she called Tony to express her feelings, he offered her a job on the spot. Since taking that job and becoming a PGA Professional, Jo-Anna has brought the same dedication and passion to the course each and every day, from roles at Ellington Ridge CC, to Charles River and now Belmont Country Club. Through her hard work and dedication, Jo-Anna has been recognized by her peers as the 2020 New England PGA Assistant Golf Professional of the Year.
NEPGA: When did you decide to become a PGA Professional, and why?
Jo-Anna Krupa: I attended graduate school at the University of Edinburgh, to pursue a Masters in Golf Course Architecture. After receiving my masters, I began searching for design work. I accepted a job working for Pete Dye’s golf course design company in Denver, Colorado. After nearly four years of designing courses for clients all over the world, I had a gut feeling I was not doing the right thing. I thought back to how much I enjoyed my previous job where I worked golf course maintenance and in the bag room at Ellington Ridge Country Club in Connecticut. I called the professional I worked for in Connecticut to discuss my concerns with my current career path. He offered me a job on the spot and expressed that he felt I was made for the business. I have never regretted my decision to accept that job. Being able to grow the game and gain the relationships I have through this career is invaluable.
NEPGA: Who inspired or mentored you?
JK: My biggest mentor has been Tony Rowe, retired Connecticut PGA Hall of Fame member. I worked for Tony throughout college and once I began my career as a PGA professional. In my six years at Ellington Ridge, Tony taught me the importance of customer service and to always learn and grow. The best piece of advice he gave me was if you don’t know the answer, tell a member you will get back to them. Providing honest and genuine service is the most valuable thing you can do. Tony has always given honest feedback but above all been my cheerleader. When I said I wanted to move up to Boston, Tony made at least 40 phone calls trying to get me interviews. The lengths he went to, to help advance my career will never be forgotten. He is a true ambassador of the game and mentor to so many fellow PGA professionals. I hope to leave a lasting impact on fellow professionals and members like Tony has for me.
NEPGA: What other interests do you have outside of golf?
JK: Outside of golf, I love to go on quick day trips exploring new places. My wife and I love to explore as many coffee shops as we can. I love to spend time with our dog Bunker and walk around Lowell where we currently live.
NEPGA: What motivates you as a golf professional?
JK: As a golf professional, my biggest motivation is helping people to enjoy and learn the game of golf. I feel that in this profession we are so fortunate to meet people from so many walks of life, those interactions help me to grow and to be open. The most rewarding part of teaching is when my students finally achieve a skill we have been working on. Watching my feedback and pointers “click” for my students is one of the best feelings to me. It is even more gratifying when those students contact me to say they shot the game of their life!
NEPGA: What have you accomplished as a PGA Professional that you’re most proud of?
JK: My third year at Charles River Country Club I created a beginner women’s clinic. We held a 5-week series with 12 women in the group. Through this clinic, we created an open forum where the women felt comfortable to ask any questions they wanted. A few women that had never met before became best friends afterwards. Not only did we grow the game through this series, but created lasting friendships for the participants, and for myself as well. The 9-hole women’s group at Charles River only continued to grow after that year and I’m so very proud of that!
NEPGA: What does it mean to you to be recognized with a New England PGA Section Award?
JK: The New England Section has many of the top professionals in the country. To be acknowledged by my peers has been truly humbling and I’m so grateful for this honor.
NEPGA: Are there any people who have contributed to your success who you would like to recognize?
JK: Since deciding to get into this career my wife and family have been so supportive of me. They pushed me when I needed it and supported me through every up and down. The members at Charles River and Belmont Country Club have been unbelievably supportive of me and my growth in this profession. I couldn’t do what I do without the amazing people I’ve been fortunate to work beside at the River and now at Belmont. These people are more than my coworkers, but my family and I couldn’t be more grateful for them all! (John Fields, Matt Zdon, Andrew Sbordone, Daniel O’Connell, Jim O’Mara and so many more.)