Mar. 14, 2016
The UCCS professional golf management program, one of 18 in the nation, offers opportunities to business students interested in careers within the golf industry.
The program, accredited by the Professional Golfers Association of America, provides a curriculum and a variety of internships for students to advance in careers surrounding golf.
“Our students are beyond top-notch because they have experience that they can apply beyond the classroom. This makes our students highly sought after,” said Mollie Sutherland, director of the PGA golf management program.
The program was founded at UCCS in 2003. The top 42 students of a class are accepted each fall if they meet both the program’s application requirements and criteria for the College of Business.
At a minimum, applicants need to have a playing handicap of 12 or less (they are expected to shoot no worse than 12 over par in a round on average) in addition to the university’s admission requirements.
According to Sutherland, students from all over the country apply to the program, which is ideally 100 students total.
“They have to meet those entrance requirements and have a high level of playing ability on a golf course. There’s a playing component and an academic component that combine to create that freshman class that’s limited to 42,” said Sutherland.
Students who decide to major in golf management prepare themselves for careers as a golf club professional, according to biology professor Jeff Broker.
Broker teaches anatomy and exercise science, including Applications to Golf (BIOL 3450), a course that is specifically designed for PGM students.
“I do most of my research in golf biomechanics and engage the students as researchers and research subjects,” said Broker.
The emphasis on exercise science makes the program here different than others, Broker said.
The PGA periodically visits UCCS to monitor progress of the program.
“The last two times they’ve come, I’ve asked if there is a way to export what we’re doing (with the exercise science class) and they’ve said that none of the other schools are equipped to do what we do. They really respect it,” said Broker.
“This will set students apart dramatically because they have a depth of exposure to the biological sciences. It helps their own game and those that they are trying to help.”
The model degree plan is comprised of the core business courses. Students still pursue one of nine emphases in the College of Business, and compliment this course load with PGM courses.
Students apply the skills they learn in courses such as business planning in their PGA classes.
But a career as a golf club professional isn’t the only option for PGM students, Sutherland said.
“They can successfully run and manage golf courses and golf businesses. They can do many different career paths with a sound business background that they can use immediately; there is no learning curve,” said Sutherland.
Internships are also a component of the program that make UCCS’ PGM option highly competitive.
One three-month and one six-to-eight-month internship will be completed during the student’s time in the program. Students intern locally at clubs such as Flying Horse and The Broadmoor, in addition to internships across the country, according to Broker.