It’s all about priorities and being comfortable with your surroundings in John Hickson’s world.

Hickson, who now calls Topsham home, has been a top professional golfer in Central Maine for several years. He’s taught at a wide array of clubs, including Sunday River, Bethel, Westbrook, Old Orchard, and even in Florida for a few years.

But these days, Hickson is just as happy to sell you a club or two from someone else’s collection. He spends his days – those days not on his tournament schedule, that is – as a golf professional who sells golf equipment for Dick’s Sporting Goods in Topsham.

“There are good things and bad things about all scenarios,” Hickson said. “They’ve been pretty good to me, especially schedule-wise for the tournaments I’ve wanted to play in.”

Hickson left Sunday River in 2005, and almost immediately picked up a job with the new Dick’s Sporting Goods in Augusta. When the chain opened a store in Topsham, he transferred there.

“If there’s no tournaments, I can take a couple of days off during the week,” Hickson said. “Other guys, come September and October when the courses are still open, I’m here, I can take a Saturday-Sunday off if I want. How many guys at courses take Saturdays and Sundays off? Not very many.”

It isn’t the same as being at a course, Hickson said. There are no tournaments to run, only to play in. And earlier this season, Hickson finally won one of the tournaments that had eluded him: The State of Maine Championship at Sugarloaf.

“I think I finished second up there about five times,” Hickson said. “It was nice to finally get one of those.”

Work is usually kind enough to let him have the time he needs off to play in those tournaments – like the Maine Open, at which he finished sixth last year after firing a final-round 70, the best round of the day.

“Last year, the first couple rounds I think I putted fair,” Hickson said. “The last round I didn’t putt it great, but I hit the ball well and made a couple.”

The customers at the store, meanwhile, get the added bonus of buying equipment from a guy who knows a thing or two about the game.

Things in Hickson’s life have slowed up a bit, too. With the semi-regular work schedule, he can spend more time with his family, including his 6-year-old, who just started school.

“With my son in school now, I’m sure it will get to the point where, if he’s got a game or something, I’ll be able to go to it. I won’t have to worry about the Tuesday night or Wednesday night leagues.”

If a sweet enough deal came along – and he admitted that some professionals in Maine do have sweet deals with their clubs – Hickson wouldn’t be opposed to trying it out.

But it would have to be perfect.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for some equipment, Hickson can recommend a club or two.

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