Why two’s a company for Mark and Joe

Two’s a company for Mark and Joe


Mark Talbott and Joe Ellis are aiming to show that two heads are better than one, having jointly taken on PGA professional duties at Upminster Golf Club.

Talbott, 34, and Ellis, 28, had been connected for many years to Thorpe Hall, first as junior members and then in a PGA capacity.

For both. the association with Thorpe Hall was a long and happy one – and the good will continues. But the prospect of a fresh challenge at Upminster persuaded Talbott and Ellis to extend their firm friendship into a professional alliance.

“For the most part, it was to have control over our own destiny really,” said Talbott. “The golf club advertised the job the early part of the year, a head pro’s role – someone to play with the members, to offer some coaching and some custom fit as well. It was one of those where we had to go in and have a look at the job and see what it was all about. For us we felt like we were a perfect fit for what they wanted.

“The job wasn’t advertised as a double role but we went in with our CV’s and showed them what we’ve done in the past and what we could offer. We’ve run coaching trips abroad and done lots of stuff together. We set up at the indoor studio at Thorpe Hall, so we kind of know how we work and there‘s some things Joe’s much better at than I am and, I’d like to think, vice-versa.”

Talbott and Ellis are retained as contractors rather than employees by Upminster and the pair have set up as a Limited company.  It’s a situation that both are happy with, given their extensive professional experience of one another.

“One of the biggest things for us is the fact that we have worked together for so long,” said Ellis. “There’s a lot of guys that could do it that might get on very well when they go and play a round of golf, but they might not necessarily want to run their businesses in the same way. Whereas we’ve got a pretty good idea that we do work well together. It takes a lot of the stress out of it that we’re not butting heads all the time.”

There’s not just professional respect between them – the duo have a longstanding friendship.

“We consider each other as good mates, said Talbott. “I don’t think we’d have applied for the job together if we didn’t get on. I think that would have been a bit foolish.”

There are several benefits with the job-share option, especially if you still have playing aspirations as both do. Talbott is one of the very best players in the East region, having the won the Order of Merit the last two years.

“There’s still plenty of fire in the belly,” said Talbott. “There’s certain things I know I want to achieve on the golf course that I haven’t achieved yet and Joe would say the same thing. A part of the reason why we applied together is to be able to continue to play tournament golf.”

The arrangement means there’s also the peace of mind that each gets when away from the golf club. Unlike perhaps in the past when a PGA professional may have thought long and hard about taking time off in summer, Talbott and Ellis can dovetail to ensure their business always ticks over smoothly if one happened to be absent.

“When it comes to holidays and things we can lean on each other a bit,” said Talbott. “Whereas as maybe in the past if you were a head pro and had your own business, you were really restricted to when you can have your downtime.”

Their business is likely to become even busier thanks to the opening of Upminster’s new indoor studio (installed by fellow Essex PGA professional Brett Taylor and his company Golfin Simulators). The superb facility is providing Talbott and Ellis with enhanced opportunities as they seek to make their mark at the club.

The duo are not the only double-act in Essex. Mark Baker and Chris Cutchie are a long-term success story at Colchester, while Ken Light and Simon Brierley are in partnership at Burnham Golf Club.

“I think you’ll probably see in the future more pairs of pros being head head pro together,” assessed Talbott. “If you do want to play, teach and fit and do some admin stuff that the club want you to do – and have a social life – there’s only so many hours in the day.”


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