Every year, millions of students graduate from universities in the United States. In 2019, 1.9 million students are expected to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. While students are rewarded with a degree for their hard work, the truth is, the hard work is just beginning.
Graduates with dreams of entering the golf world have a solid foundation for career success with a college degree. However, breaking into the industry may be more difficult than expected. Gaining golf career experience before walking across the stage to accept a diploma could be the difference between gaining a great job in golf and toiling away earning experience.
A college degree is great to have, and sometimes a necessity, but so is experience. So, how do you gain worthwhile experience in the golf industry?
Golf internships – Gaining experience
Some of the best golf career advice available is to gain experience through an internship. According to PGA Teaching Professional Alasdair Watt, “golf internships offer invaluable experience and they are perfect for those individuals seeking work in the golf club end of the industry”.
Many golfers dream of playing on the PGA, LPGA, or the PGA European Tour. However, to reach those heights, players must have the skills and abilities to earn their tour card. Other golfers simply want to parlay their love of the game into a career.
Golf internships – What experience is needed?
Golf clubs around the US offer summer internships to high school and college students. According to Watt, the pay isn’t great, but that isn’t why these interns take the positions. The small pay packets are just part of the overall reward. Learning and building the necessary skills for the future is the main reward when completing an internship.
But before signing on for an internship, individuals should make sure their prospective position aligns with their future aspirations. You don’t want to spend four consecutive summers as a caddie if your dream is to work in golf sales and marketing. Prospective employers maybe impressed with your caddie advice, but the skills of the position cannot be translated into the executive golf world.
According to Chris Slattery, Head Golf Professional at Avila Golf and Country Club in Tampa, Florida, “individuals aiming for a career in golf should focus on the area they want to work in”. In other words, if you want to work in merchandising and retail, then there is no need to intern in other areas of a golf club or company. It isn’t just clubs that offer golf internships as many of the world’s biggest golf brands do too.
Golf is like any other industry, college students willing to work hard with an internship can position themselves to earn a great job upon graduation.
Golf internships – The more you know
A golf internship isn’t just about gaining knowledge and experience, although those are two of the chief reasons. The old saying, “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know”, is true in every line of work, including golf. Interns can make a variety of great contacts while working in their position. These contacts can enable you to gain employment down the line. In some cases, you may impress employers so much that they create a position for you to remain at the golf club or company once the internship is over. Of course, that is often the best-case scenario.
Building a business network of contacts and associates is one of the keys to succeeding in any career field. Golf is no different and having contacts well-placed in the industry can be the difference between gaining a great golf career or not.
You may be the best student in your class and a good golfer. But neither of those things translates to being a good, capable employee. According to a 2015 article by ESPN, there are over 34,000 golf courses in the world and 45 percent of those are in the US. There are also a number of golf companies and organizations, and all of these entities need capable employees. They also offer internships allowing students to gain the experience needed to succeed.
A golf internship can be the key to your future in golf. If playing on the PGA Tour isn’t on the cards, but you still want to work in the sport, then pursuing a career in golf post-college is an ideal goal.