Pros teach lessons to golf management students

Jennifer Cruden
April 27, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – From head golf professionals to merchandising specialists to college golf coaches, every month prominent professionals in the golf industry, including alumni, meet with the Penn State PGA Golf Management Program Student Society to offer career development and industry insights.

“One thing you cannot learn in a classroom setting is how each person got to where they are today,” student Michael Esworthy said. “Every guest speaker has their own story on how they became successful and each one is able to provide career advice that cannot be heard in the classroom.”

Ryan Hager, president of the society, agrees hearing from alumni and professionals goes beyond what can be learned through textbooks.

“Our guest speakers can touch on real life experiences not covered in the textbooks, again providing us with valuable information and experience that we can take with us on our internships,” Hager said. “Each speaker has expertise in a different area within the golf industry and gives great advice within their field, which helps us greatly during our internships.”

Esworthy is interested in teaching and golf fitness, so he appreciated opportunities to hear from professionals in such areas, such as Rob Shutte, head men’s golf coach at Rutgers University and 2004 Penn State PGM graduate. For the students, Shutte highlighted 18 areas that would contribute to their success as students, players, teachers and citizens. 

“Some points that stuck out were the hazards of social media, the importance of dressing and presenting ourselves well, finding a role model and finding our passion,” Esworthy said. “I enjoyed his presentation so much because he gave us advice for college, internships and future careers.”

For Hager, he was particularly inspired by Mason Champion, a Penn State PGM alumni.

“Mason has taken a very nontraditional route on his journey through the golf industry by maintaining his PGA certification as a wealth management adviser for Morgan Stanley,” Hager said. “His story is unique and shows a different side of the industry to our students. He has inspired a majority of our student society with his work ethic and creative energy.”

Connor Mulcahy, who directs the society’s efforts for Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, said the guest speakers offer him insight into the multifaceted professional golf industry.

“This has allowed me to see that there are so many different ways I can take my education from Penn State and work to do anything in the golf industry,” Mulcahy said. “There is a lot of variety in the industry and there is no right or wrong way to use this education to better our careers.

Specifically, Mulcahy appreciated hearing from Mark Heartfield, PGA head golf professional at Sankaty Head Golf Club in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

“Mark is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. His positivity and passion for being able to grow the game of golf is something that I really look up to,” Mulcahy said. “His main message to our student society was passion -- by having passion for your career you know you can always put your best foot forward and work your hardest to achieve your goals.”

As an intern, Mulcahy had an opportunity to work with Heartfield at Sankaty Head and now considers Heartfield a mentor.

“When I worked for Mark, he always preached having a positive attitude and I have carried that with me throughout my internships and my academic life,” Mulcahy said. “Having Mark as a mentor and a friend will help me for the rest of my career and I certainly will not forget my first internship in the golf industry.”

Last Updated April 28, 2015