Robert Larsen enjoys working with people, a key component of his position as a PGA of America Golf Professional at Onondaga Golf and Country Club.


“I enjoy being a golf pro,” Larsen said. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything different right now. There are many ups, more than the downs. I am a people person by nature so a lot of this comes easy to me.”



Larsen is proud of his golf journey and the career he has built which includes winning Section Assistant Golf Professional of the Year (2022) and being named Central New York PGA Assistant Player of the Year twice.


“Growing up on the Ojibwe Reservation in Northern Minnesota there isn’t much for golf, or much of anything for that matter,” he said. “So, for a small native kid to go from riding his bike five miles to hit golf balls with mismatched clubs and a bag with a hole in it so all the balls fell out, to being the Assistant Golf Professional of the Year and two-time Player of the Year is amazing. Most of my friends from my old town have never left that town or joined a gang. I am proud of where I am and couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds for me and my family.”


Larsen is entering his 10th season at Onondaga G&CC. Here’s what he had to say about golf and his career.


Most memorable golf moment: It would have to be in 2008 or so when I won the Rome City Am Championship. I was making the turn and my father came to join me on the 10th hole at Rome Country Club. I hit my drive on the par-5 10th hole and had 220 yards left in. I then hit my 5-wood and my ball disappeared into the shadows on the green. We looked around for my ball and found it in the hole for my first Double Eagle! I double bogeyed the next hole so it all evened out but I ended up winning by about 10 shots setting a new record of largest winning margin.


Golf role model: Marty Nowicki. I worked at Turning Stone with him after college and I didn’t have a specific direction I wanted to go in life so I just washed clubs at the course and picked balls in the dome. He genuinely cared about me and what I did with my time and life. Through some good conversations and some tough love, he convinced me to get a move-on and do something. I worked in the Pro Shop the next year then became a Pre-Apprentice the following year. Seeing how many awards he has won, people he has helped and creating new and inventive ideas to help him in his career, I couldn’t help but become inspired to keep trying for new things. I have sat through a few lessons of his and always come away with something new to do or say. He is a man of many talents, but being a truly caring person is what I try to model myself after to this day.


Golf pet peeves: Slow play is right near the top for me. Nothing stops a good round more than waiting 10 minutes before every shot. When a group goes from ball to ball waiting on each other to hit their shots before moving on makes me want to tee one up right into the back of their cart. But seeing a cart drive backwards to a ball they forgot about on top of being slow is the absolute worst. You can’t do anything but throw your hands up and maybe shout a quick “Come on!”.


The key to a successful work/life balance: My coworkers are amazed about how much work I can do and how much fun with the family I can accomplish at the same time. I think I have found the perfect solution of combining work and play and it’s actually quite easy. My solution is 2-2-2. Every 2 weeks I take the wife on a date. Every 2 months we get away for a day trip or weekend. Every 2 years we get away for a week together and go to a place we’ve never been. I tend to think I do those things more than that, but I never go over that time frame. I know summer is short so I tend to do more of a 1-1-1 and take my son somewhere whenever I am home. Seeing him see or experience something new or watching my wife smile at a date I planned is the best thing in the world. I work six days a week but make sure I block my book off so I can make it home on time to pack up the car or a picnic and enjoy the rest of the day.


His start in golf: I started golf when I was in middle school in Wisconsin. I would ride my bike with my bag of four clubs that my mother bought me from a garage sale strapped to my back to the local golf course where I would buy a small bucket of balls to hit. I was very poor growing up so I would wait until everyone left the range, then go out and pick another bucket worth. After I would go play the 10th and 18th holes on my way back to the clubhouse. Unfortunately, they installed a camera on those tee boxes and it put an end to that.