Total Golf class emphasizes game – and life – skills

Marjorie S. Miller
May 17, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A course offered by the Department of Kinesiology may focus on golf -- how to play, it’s history, and the etiquette of the game — but students who take the class say it also teaches them life skills on and off the course, both as undergraduates and throughout life.

Total Golf swing

As part of Total Golf, KINES 093, students practice their game at the Penn State Golf Courses. 

IMAGE: Dennis Maney

“I believe that this class teaches life skills such as networking with others, mental toughness and maintaining an open mind,” said finance major Andrew Wasmuth, who completed the course in the spring. “For example, golf is a social game. It is played with others, talked about with others, and this class reflects that. Also, golf is a game of ups and downs, similar to life. And because each golf course is different and each person you play with is different, you learn that maintaining an open mind, and being willing to try new things, are key for the game and for life.”

Total Golf, KINES 093, is open to students of all majors and at all levels of play. Students split their time between the classroom and the Penn State Golf Courses.

Joe Hughes, Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) general manager at Penn State Golf Courses, and Brian Short, PGA golf professional at Penn State Golf Courses, instruct the course.

This semester, the course consisted of nine sessions devoted to better understanding the history of the game, United States Golf Association rules of the game, physical conditioning, mental strategies, and swing development for both the short and full swings.

A culminating experience was a week of golf at Legends Golf Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over spring break.

Total Golf students

Andrew Wasmuth, left, and Tommy Reading, both finance majors who completed Total Golf this spring. 

IMAGE: Dennis Maney

Hughes said many students left the course with a better understanding of the game of golf and their golf swings, as well as a few new friendships.

“What was most rewarding to me this semester was to watch the students progress from a quiet group that didn’t interact much on the first day, to building lifelong friendships on the golf courses as they played together all spring following the class trip to Myrtle Beach,” Hughes said.

Tommy Reading, a junior finance major, said he appreciated the support of the instructors, and how they encouraged the students to keep trying, even when the game was challenging. He said the course taught him that golf is always something he can play, no matter what stage of life he’s in. 

“Golf is a good game for anyone in any career,” Reading said. “Golf doesn’t have an age restriction; you can play your whole life.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 17, 2017