Randy Doucette is back home and business has never been busier for the former Marriott Golf Academy club fitter.
After 21 years working at the Marriott Golf Academy in Orlando, Florida, where during his time as a master club fitter he fitted clubs for amateurs, celebrities and professionals. He moved back to Greene in November 2017.
He was nervous about moving back to his home state — he grew up in Auburn — and leaving the comfy confines of Orlando, where golf is played year-round.
“You are always a little bit anxious and nervous, especially since I’ve been in Orlando for 21 years,” Doucette said. “All of a sudden jumping ship and moving back home and coming back up here where it’s seasonal. Absolutely, I was a little nervous and a little anxious on how things are going to be and what kind of business I was going to get.”
At first, Doucette had his golf-fitting equipment set up in his garage. That lasted for four months, until he had a meeting a Martindale Country Club, where he worked while in high school. The meeting was set up to see if he could move his shop at Martindale. The club agreed, and a back room was renovated for Doucette. He has been there since March.
The news of Doucette returning home and bringing his expertise to Maine helped bring in new customers. He has been “riding the wave” ever since.
“I have been booked six days a week ever since I officially opened up,” Doucette said. “I’ve been working Monday through Saturday, and I have been booked solid ever since I started.”
In the winter he went to the Tee Box — an indoor golf facility at Val Halla — to meet potential clients. He said that trip to the Cumberland club was a success. He also reached out to another local in the golf industry, Lewiston native TJ Anthoine, the director of golf at The Quechee Club in Quechee, Vermont, to set up a satellite golf fitting weekend.
While the two Twin Cities natives haven’t worked together before, they’ve followed a similar career path. Once Doucette left Martindale, Anthoine started to work at the club and both attended Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where they went through the school’s golf management program.
Doucette ended up going to The Quechee Club twice this summer to fit clubs for golfers there.
From there, demand for his servcies started to spread even further and wider.
“Through the Quechee fittings, I got two phone calls from clubs — one in Pennsylvania and one in Aikens, South Carolina — to go what I did at The Quechee Club, and do fitting weekends at these two clubs,” Doucette said. “It all stems from … word-of-mouth of the fittings I did at The Quechee Club.”
In addition of getting offers to go down to Pennsylvania and South Carolina, Doucette said he’ll probably go back to Florida for a little bit during the winter months.
Doucette has really enjoyed working with golfers in Maine, as well as the New England region, because the clients appreciate the work he does.
“The blue-collar, weekend, everyday club member here appreciates the fact somebody is willing to take the time to help them with their golf game,” Doucette said. “Whereas the tour player and the mini tour player, it’s almost like, I don’t know how to say it, that perception of entitlement. That, ‘Hey, I am a tour player this is what I should have and what I deserve.’ Whereas up here, the weekend warrior, the club member, the league player that goes out once or twice a week definitely loves the fact that somebody is here that will help them with their golf game.”
Doucette said people in this part of the country haven’t been exposed to the work he does, and most don’t realize how much is involved getting clubs fitted to their game. Doucette is one of the few in New England who does it, compared to Orlando where there’s four fitting centers in a 60-mile radius.
While Doucette will custom fit golf clubs to a player’s swing, he’s no miracle worker. They still go out and hit the golf ball themselves.
“People think as a fitter I am going to wave some magic wand or sprinkle some fairy dust that they can sprinkle on their clubs, and they think they will be par shooters tomorrow,” Doucette said. “That’s not necessarily the case, and golf isn’t about instant gratification. Golf is a game of development, progress and improvement.”
Master club fitter Randy Doucette fits golf clubs to each individual player. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)