PGA golf management helps prepare students for career in industry

March 07, 2017

Gabbie Matl

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     If you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

     For students in the PGA golf management program, an emphasis in the College of Business, this sentiment rings especially true.

     Students in the program are able to integrate their love of the sport and business that prepares them to work in the golf industry, according to Adam Scott, program director.

     “(It) is so unique because it allows students to continue to be in a sport they grew up loving,” he said.

     UCCS is one of 18 schools in the nation that provides the PGA golf management program, which started at UCCS in 2003. Students must meet the requirements of the College of Business and play with a handicap of 12 or less to be admitted.

     The program draws students from all over the country; about half of the students enrolled are from out of state, according to assistant program director Mark Bacheldor.

     This academic year, 64 students are enrolled in the program, which is lower than previous years.

     “Bigger (classes) aren’t always better. Golf is such a personal business, and golf professionals are so important to (club) membership that we recognize that we have no desire to be a large program,” said Scott.

     “If it grew too much, the quality would go down and instructors wouldn’t be able to develop a personal relationship with each student; you need a good relationship to guide students into this profession.”

     The program prepares students well, and they have a good job outlook after graduation, according to junior business major Jagger Ashby, a second-level student in the program.

     “In our last year, we go on our last internship, and almost everyone goes back to that internship site afterward for our first job right out of college,” said Ashby.

     Internship opportunities are varied and tailored to the student’s interest, said Bacheldor. Local facilities, like the Broadmoor or Castle Pines, have internship opportunities available for students, but aspiring golf professionals can also apply to 850 internships across the country in private or public facilities.

     According to Bacheldor, these internships are full time, paid minimum wage or above and often offer a housing option, stipend or meal program for students.

     “The student can choose to go either very far (away), or stick pretty close. Either way they are going to have a good experience,” said Scott.

     To graduate, students must have 16 months spent as a full-time intern, completed community service hours and keep up their skills by playing in five tournaments a semester.

     These tournaments are both set up and coordinated by students on the executive student board, and they compete amongst other students in the program.

     Students also have the chance to try to qualify for inter-school tournaments, either the Jones or Kelbel Cup, and compete against students from other PGA programs.

     Once they are in the program, their degree is comprised of the core business courses, but many classes focus these skills and concepts to golf.

     Students learn skills that will be needed in their field, including marketing and merchandise, accounting, management, club repair and golf teaching techniques for all skill ranges.

     “The purpose of this program is to get them to every part of the golf industry that you can imagine,” said Scott.

     “We hope that through this education, students will start to narrow their focus in and find their niche, but the program itself exposes them to all of it.”

     PGA has facilities and resources both on and off campus for students, including a swing lab equipped with cameras and computers to help them analyze and teach different playing techniques, as well as a club repair lab where they learn to build and repair golf clubs.

     Students also have a membership at Pine Creek golf course so they can practice to prepare for the golf playing test.