A Career in Golf: Degree program at a Kentucky college leads to golf industry careers

A Career in Golf: Degree program at a Kentucky college leads to golf industry careers


There are a number of available careers in golf; however, most students are aware of only a handful. Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), in Richmond, Kentucky, is seeking to enlighten students as to the available jobs in the golf industry and prepare them for a rewarding career. They are doing so through their Professional Golf Management (PGM) Program.

First developed by the PGA of America, the program at EKU is one of only 18 such college programs in the United States. Students who are accepted into the program will, upon completion of degree requirements, receive a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Professional Golf Management. In other words, the PGM program does not simply funnel students toward golf jobs and lock them in, it prepares them for the larger business world.

In addition to general requirements and the business degree core component courses, students in the golf management program will complete 41 credit hours of courses and cooperative education specific to the golf industry. Students can choose from courses such as:

  • Introduction to Golf Management
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Golf Club Repair-Design
  • Facility Management
  • Analysis of the Golf Swing
  • Golf Operations and Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Small Business Management
  • Turfgrass Management
  • Problems of Golf Course Operations.

For degree completion, in addition to the above courses and cooperative education, students must successfully complete the PGA/PGM Level 3 Checkpoint, pass the PGA Playing Ability Test and attend two national workshops hosted by PGA Career Services.

Recognizing the playing ability requirements of the program, EKU also provides an apparently unique avenue for student golf skill-development called the PGM Tournament Program. The Tournament Program, also called the PGM Tour, consists of weekly nine-hole tournaments. Students who have not passed the PGA Playing Ability Test must compete in at least three tournaments per semester. The Tour also offers Majors, such as the PGM Club Championship and other team events. As an added perk, tournament successes are rewarded by valuable golf shop gift certificates. Students have full access to Arlington Golf Club, EKU’s private club.

Topping off the many advantages of the PGM Program are the PGM Student Association and Student Advisory Council. Both entities provide students with the ability to take part in the day-to-day operations of the program, community involvement opportunities and involvement with the Kentucky Golf Association and the PGA’s First Tee Program. If most college degree programs offered the same support structure and opportunities to aid in success as EKU’s PGM Program, the college experience for many would be significantly enhanced.

Professional golf touring and teaching aren’t the only careers available in the golf industry. Other financially and personally rewarding golf jobs such as golf club management, turf management, golf course development, golf sales representatives, golf journalism, golf equipment specialists and many more are accessible. Eastern Kentucky University is one of a growing number of colleges and universities to recognize the need and potential for meaningful golf management courses of study.

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