Williams became the head professional at Pinetree last September — a move he was ready to make.
“I was the head pro at Valdosta Country Club for the last 11 years,” he said. “I really enjoyed it down there. But the urge to come home was too good to pass up.”
This is the third go-round for Williams at Pinetree.
The Marietta native became an assistant pro at the club in 1983 and stayed seven years before leaving to become the head pro at the since-closed Centennial Golf Club in Acworth. Williams returned to Pinetree again in 1997 for a three-year stint as an assistant before heading to Valdosta.
But now he’s home, and back where he wants to be.
Williams has a simple goal for Pinetree: He wants to be a part of the growth of the club.
To do that, Williams has dedicated his time to making sure the pro shop is profitable. He runs tournaments for the club’s members — where the players are treated as if they were tour professionals — and he’s strived to become a top-quality golf instructor.
Williams was given a head start on the last one.
He grew up the son of Lester and Polly Williams, a pair of longtime high school teachers in Cobb County. Polly Williams taught biology at North Cobb High School, while Lester Williams was a driver’s education teach, as well as golf coach and assistant football coach at Marietta.
Rob Williams attended Marietta and had the opportunity to play for his father in both sports. He also suited up for coach Charlie Hood with Blue Devils’ basketball team.
“Rob was the typical coach’s son.” Hood said. “And he reminds me so much of his father. I remember (Rob) as a good athlete — dedicated and smart — (but) golf, by far, was his best sport.”
Williams credits his parents with instilling in him the temperament of a teacher. He also said he learned a lot of life lessons from Hood and former Marietta football coach Ray Broadaway.
“Communicating is the key,” Williams said. “Coach Hood always said, ‘You don’t teach golf, you teach people.’ It’s easy for golf instructors to get caught up with what they know instead of finding the way to make sure the player understands.”
Williams is using his communication skills to teach dead-aim putting, a system he designed to help players with what he calls the “most neglected area in golf” for teachers. Currently, he is teaching LPGA Tour rookie Dori Carter, a number of mini-tour players and members of the Kennesaw State golf teams.
“I love teaching putting,” Williams said. “There aren’t enough people that put the time and effort into putting instruction. I want to be the best putting instructor in Atlanta.”
With the Masters concluding today — and spring in full bloom — golf season has gotten under way at Pinetree, and Williams is excited about what awaits. The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which will entail multiple events, including a number of amateur events through the summer and fall.
In early September, Pinetree will host the Georgia PGA Senior Championship, and the following month, Kennesaw State will host the men’s Pinetree Intercollegiate. Then, in 2013, the club will be home to the Atlantic Sun Conference women’s championship and Georgia State Amateur.
Williams also has an eye in competing in a few events himself.
A member of the Kennesaw State’s inaugural golf team in the early 1980s, Williams never had the dreams of a PGA Tour career, but he still played a few Nike Tour (now Nationwide Tour) events, as well as the PGA Club Pro Championship.
Williams is anxious for this fall’s Georgia PGA Senior tournament — not only because it is on his home course, but since he just turned 50, he will be able to use his local knowledge as a competitor in the event.
And, as anxious as he is to play in the event, Williams also wants to show off Pinetree.
“We have the best membership,” he said, “and we’re a golf club with a great golf course.”