With new indoor accommodations, golf management gets in full swing
PGA accredited program offers behind the scenes look at golf management - by Darren Zancan
The PGA Golf Management program started small with 20 students five years ago. Now, more than 100 students are a part of Eastern's PGA accredited program.
The PGA Golf Management program is different than the actual varsity sport. It concentrates, not only on the physical part of the sport, but the "behind the scenes" aspects of golf, like club repair, retail and marketing.
Director of the PGA Golf Management Program Kim Kincer joined the program when it was just a small outlet in the Combs Building on campus. It has since moved to the BTC building and sports classrooms. Students in the program also have access to a golf simulator and a state-of-the-art science and motion-putting lab.
"We are one of only 20 universities in the country with an accredited program," Kincer said. "The seven states that border us do not have programs."
Kincer met with the PGA official accreditation committee in June of 2006, knowing it might be a year until the program was accredited, but she received a phone call two weeks later, with the news the program was PGA accredited.
"It just fit well here," Kincer said. "This atmosphere is awesome."
Experience outside and inside the classroom
Students are bachelor of business administration marketing majors, with a PGA Golf Management option. They must have a golf handicap of 12 or lower and submit a letter of recommendation from a PGA professional or high school golf coach, before being admitted.
They are required to take 12 marketing hours, along with general education requirements, plus the 29 hours of PGA classes. Each student participates in a three month co-op, which is often a short internship. The students also take on a longer internship.
"The biggest challenge is matching a facility with the student," Program Coordinator Tyler Caviness said. "Unfortunately you (sometimes) get students that come back and hated their internships. It's a gamble. I lose a lot of sleep wondering if I made the right decision for the students."
Caviness has been a part of the program for just over a year. He handles internships for students and helps develop relationships between the student and the possible destination.
"We've got so many good things going for us," Caviness said. "We have so many ideas. It's tough to find a focus area. It's a young program, so we have a lot to build on. But it's only going to get stronger every year."
The class work can be demanding. Students are required to take classes in food service organization and management. They learn about golf facility management, the analysis of a golf swing and turf grass management.
"It's pretty intense," senior Michael Woods said. "You learn so much here."
Woods came to Eastern to be close to his family, but three years later, he said he felt it was the right fit.
"From Day One I fell in love with the program." Woods said. "It's great preparation for my future."
Top of the line technology
With a new swing simulator, students get one-on-one sessions to help them analyze and work on their individual swing.
The V1 Coaching Software 2010 Simulator has three cameras surrounding the tee. With an emphasis on a seven iron or a driver, Ross Lingenfelder, player development and recruiting coordinator, records the swing from different directions. Then on a computer and flat screen television, Lingenfelder dissects the swing.
"We can capture their first swing as a freshman and then evaluate it three years later," Lingenfelder said. "I am here to help with their instruction and to help make them professionals in the field."
Lingenfelder said more than 200 professional swings are available to compare to the students' swing. He can split the screen and show Michael Woods' swing and Tiger Woods' swing at the same time, then break the two down for an evaluation.
Lingenfelder also looks at the stance, grip, the depth of the swing and posture.
The program also features the SAM (Science and Motion) Putt Lab.
The putter sends motion from the shaft of the putter through a camera to the computer. Then an evaluation of the stroke, tempo of the shot, alignment and length of stroke are entered into the system.
"My mechanics changed for the better with professional instruction," senior Eric Fedus said.
Fedus said he wants to be the head professional at a golf facility upon graduation.
Students can apply for PGA membership after graduation if they meet the required criteria.
"I wasn't really aware of the business side of things when I came in to the program," Fedus said. "That was the biggest thing."
He also said one of the biggest selling points of the program is the close relationship the students have with each other, as well as the instructors.
"I've made more friends in the four years here than I ever have before," Fedus said.
Kincer echoed the sentiment.
'The program is very fraternal," Kincer said. "We're like a family. We get to know these kids well. That's why this job is so rewarding. I do it because I love it."
Published on September 09, 2010