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Putting Education Into Place


Chris Meyer and Becky Henderson golgf

While recent graduates across the country are hitting the pavement looking to start their careers, most of the University of Idaho’s PGA golf management program’s 11 graduates are settling into their new jobs.

With a history of 100 percent job placement within three months of gradation, the College of Business and Economics’ golf program exemplifies the strength of the University: a close-knit community school with personal attention from faculty and staff.

Chris Meyer, from Spokane, Wash., and Becky Henderson, from Bridgeport, Wash., both have the four required internships under their belts. They are also already on the job and well prepared for this next step.

“It was a great program, I really enjoyed it. You get a lot of experience, and I definitely felt prepared stepping into my job,” says Henderson, who interned at her current workplace. She is the third assistant PGA professional at the Eugene (Ore.) Country Club -- working to improve her golf teaching skills and running day-to-day golf operations.

Meyer is currently the assistant PGA professional at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore., focusing on teaching as well as merchandising and inventory control for the golf shop.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to learn about the business, build up good contacts and meet the leaders of the PGA,” says Meyer, who would eventually like to join the PGA’s leadership ranks.

Both Henderson and Meyer were attracted the University of Idaho because of the PGA distinction – only 19 universities nationwide are accredited by the PGA of America – but also for the chance to earn a marketing degree from the College of Business and Economics.

“The University of Idaho is known for its business program, especially the IBC (integrated business curriculum),” says Meyer. “It was definitely a hard course, but looking back, it was great to see how it all fit together. It was a lot more realistic take on the business world.”

When Henderson first arrived on campus five years ago, she was excited to play golf. Then the scope of the academic program really hit her, because students pursue a marketing degree on top of the PGA golf management program.  Though she fared well in her classes, she was pleasantly surprised at the academic rigor.

It’s a tough academic program that may appear deceptively easy at first, but it offers a lot of one-on-one attention. With 11 students graduating this year, the program instructs around 80 students.

“To be in the golf industry, to really succeed, you need to have the PGA distinction,” says Cole Mize, PGA golf management program director. “Our program helps students attain that distinction.”

The program requires students to complete four internships, so they learn a broad range of working operations and have the opportunity to experience several golf courses and make new contacts. Students also have the opportunity to engage with national leaders in the PGA program, travelling to PGA headquarters and visiting with leaders who come to campus, including the director of education for the PGA of America, Dawes Marlatt. As it happens, Marlatt is a University of Idaho alumnus and designed, implemented and promoted the PGA golf management program at the University.

Meyer is looking forward to getting back out on the course. After five years studying at the University, he suspects his game could be a bit better. But with academic success and the beginning of a career he loves, it can only get better.

As Henderson begins her career, she is not leaving schooling behind, she hopes to complete certification with LPGA and become a leader in women’s golfing as the sport is gaining wider momentum. She is, after all, the second female to graduate Idaho’s PGA Golf Management Program.