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EKU Voices: Craig Hicks

Craig Hicks with NASCAR star Jeff Gordon

Golf and NASCAR don’t usually find each other in the same thought, but don’t tell me that.

Since I was 3 years old, I have been cheering on Jeff Gordon and the iconic number 24 team on and off the track. There are not many races I have missed, fewer than my two hands can count. NASCAR is my passion, but it does not stand alone.

When I was in the seventh grade, I had my first of four foot surgeries, leaving me in a wheelchair for 12 weeks. At the time, it was tough to see any more positivity than reduced pain in the future, hopefully. When I learned to walk again after my final surgery in ninth grade, I knew it was time to get involved in some physical activity, but I was restricted.

I could not run, nor jump. What I could do was golf, but I never had before. I picked up the sport rather quickly, which is not easy to do, and advanced through tryouts for my high school golf team. I was not good, but I was improving daily.

By senior year, I was the leading scorer on the team. I led the team to a regional championship, the first in school history.

Golf is more than a sport to me. It is an opportunity for me to express myself. Yes, I still play bad on occasion, but my bad days are better than a life immobile.

I made the difficult decision to pursue a career in golf instead of NASCAR. I chose Eastern for the PGA Golf Management Program. This degree allows me to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing with a focus on golf management. When I graduate, I will be eligible for PGA membership.

Our program requires us to work summer internships and one seven-month internship after completing all classes senior year. What a terrible requirement, right?

I have had the privilege to learn from the best at Wintergreen Resort, PGA Magazine and the PGA of America at their national headquarters.

In the future, I would like to intern with the Golf Channel and find my niche in broadcasting for the sport. If I find myself commentating for golf or NASCAR, let’s just say I won’t be disappointed.

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Published on April 01, 2016

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