Alumni make the difference for golf management internships

This summer, Penn State golf management students were spread across the United States, completing internships at some of the country’s highest-ranked golf courses -- including Oakmont Country Club (Oakmont, Pa.), Crooked Stick Golf Club (Carmel, Ind.) and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (Southampton, N.Y.). Many of these students owe these opportunities to Penn State alumni. Now on staff at prestigious clubs, these alumni maintain close connections with Penn State and offer opportunities for practical learning to students.

The alumni network helps students stay current with trends in the golf industry and participate in notable events. Oakmont Country Club hosted the LPGA 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, which gave Penn State students Rick Martel, Chris Balogh and Jimmy Tirone a chance to be a part of one of the sport’s major events. Each student played a role in overseeing various aspects of the course, which in turn helped give each competitor the chance to play to the best of her abilities.

Martel credits the Penn State alumni network as one of the main reasons he secured his internship at Oakmont. In 2009, while working with Jamie Hamilton, a 2005 graduate in recreation and park management, at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y, Martel had his sights set on working at Oakmont. Lucky for him, Hamilton was good friends with Jason Marciniec, a 2004 alumnus in recreation and park management and assistant golf professional at Oakmont. Hamilton called Marciniec and made a personal recommendation, which gave Martel a foot in the door at Oakmont.

Not only is it nice to have help with finding internships, but the prestigious rank of many alumni in the industry inspires many students. “It’s great knowing that Jason is here and that so many Penn State interns have gone through,” said Martel. “We see older alumni who have worked at Oakmont, have excelled, and have risen in the industry so quickly.”

Many alumni, in turn, try their best to make it a beneficial experience for students. “In the golf industry, we wear many hats,” said Marciniec. “We’re not just dealing with members. Being able to multitask and juggle, it’s kind of hard to be successful. Trying to get these kids able to do that now is key.” Marciniec, like many other alumni hosting interns, tried to make personal connections with his interns through efforts such as dining out with his interns regularly.

This web of golf professionals is due, in part, to efforts of the Professional Golf Management Affiliate Program Group (APG), an alumni group affiliated with the PGM program. The APG has focused recently on growing alumni involvement and helping students find internships.

Now, these efforts are paying off for both students and alumni. Patrick White, a 2008 alumnus in recreation, parks and tourist management; and head golf professional at Crooked Stick Golf Course, said, “Being a Penn State alum, I have a love for Penn State. But also, Penn State produces the types of students I want. Character, integrity, and professionalism are the three most important traits for a golf professional. Penn State has done an amazing job here at Crooked Stick.”

“Anywhere you go, there’s someone from Penn State,” said Tirone. “The fact that I’m at Penn State makes it easier for me to get where I want to be.”

“I can call upon any facility in the country, and someone there has been associated with the Penn State PGM program,” said White. “The connections you make through Penn State and internships create an amazing network of golf individuals with one connection: Penn State.”

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Last Updated September 16, 2010