Journal Entry #2
by: John K. Darling
I had planned to write another witty article about my golfing adventures this week but I had the pleasure of attending a UCCS University Club luncheon that introduced our country's 14th college degree program for training talented students to manage golf courses. UCCS is still accepting applicants even though most prospective candidates may have already committed elsewhere. So I am shifting gears to this subject. If you know of any young aspiring candidates who play golf and might be interested, read on. Then have them contact Paul B.W. Miller, Ph.D. Academic director, PGA/PGM Program (719) 262-3590. Also visit the following website: http://business.uccs.edu and click on "programs". By the way, Paul is a delightful guy. Dry humor kind of mentor.
Sounds like fun, right? This program is not for weenies. It takes four and a half years to complete and there is no summer long vacation break. If not in school studying for their Business Administration Marketing Degree, students will be interning or working on golf courses. An example of a few follow: The Vail Resort, Castle Pines (where the PGA Tour's International is played), the Broadmoor (five star hotel and resort), Kapalua (Maui), Northstar (Lake Tahoe), Disneyland (Orlando), St. Andrews, and many others. Yes, I said St. Andrews in Scotland. This sounds like fun, but it will be rigorous. Students will do everything from greens keeping jobs to cleaning pro-shops to managing caddies and assisting with tournaments.
The curriculum consists of academic courses leading to a marketing degree as well as the PGA/PGM professional training program. Specialized courses include Retail Merchandise Management, Sports Marketing, Food and Beverage Service Management, Turf Grass Management, Swing Concepts and Analysis, Golf Club Design and Repair, and Tournament Operations.
Enrollment will be limited, and only the highest qualified applicants will be accepted. They must rank in the top 30% of their high school class and complete adequate college-prep course work as specified in the University's Viewbook. Of course, I don't fully know what this means, but it seems no dummies are allowed. On the athletic side, and you will note that this program is not in the athletic department, the students do have to play golf well. This fall the maximum handicap allowed for admission is 12. This is likely to go down in the future as the program gains prominence. To graduate students must pass the PGA's "Playing Ability Test," which means they must play two 18 hole rounds of golf at the host course (Pine Creek) with a total score for the 36 holes not to exceed 15 over par. Obviously these kids have to be serious about golf, and they are.
The home course for the program is the Pine Creek Golf Club in the Briargate area in northern Colorado Springs where much of the high-tech development in Colorado is taking place. It is also just east across highway I-25 from the U.S. Air Force Academy. I suspect that the students will be playing on the number one military golf facility in the world, the Eisenhower Golf Course on Academy grounds, from time to time. I have played Pine Creek, which is rated as one of the toughest courses in Colorado. I believe it. It "ate my lunch!"
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