If you are a high school golfer looking to work in the golf industry, there are many college options which can set you up for a career in golf. The common misconception from high school golfers is that becoming a golf professional is the only career path into the golf industry. According to WeAreGolf, golf is a 70 billion dollar industry annually and supports over 2 million jobs! If you are serious about going to college for golf, here are 3 different degree programs that can help set you up for a career in golf, and the best colleges to attend for each one.
1) Hospitality Management – Golf is a very service-oriented business. Many students who attend colleges that offer hospitality management are dreaming about a career managing The Four Seasons in Manhattan, not working at a golf club. Getting a degree in hospitality management with the goal of becoming the General Manager of a golf facility is a lucrative and rewarding career. The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) is a national organization focused on the profession of club management. CMAA offers student chapters at the colleges listed below. Going to one of these colleges and majoring in hospitality management can certainly set you up for a golf management career.
Colleges with Hospitality Management
Eastern Illinois University, Widener University, Ohio University, University of San Francisco, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Western Carolina University, University of South Carolina, University of New Hampshire, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Iowa State University, Auburn University, University of West Florida; Kansas State University, Buffalo State College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kent State University, Virginia Tech University, University of Hawaii, Niagara University, Johnson & Wales University, CO, Oklahoma State University, University of Delaware, University of Missouri, Columbia, SUNY Delhi, Michigan State University, James Madison University, University of Massachusetts, Florida State University, San Francisco State University, University of North Texas, Johnson & Wales University, FL, Methodist University, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Wisconsin – Stout, Georgia State University, University of South Carolina-Beaufort, Johnson & Wales University, RI, Pennsylvania State University, Northern Arizona University, Cornell University, University of Houston, California State Polytechnic University, Johnson & Wales, NC, University of Central Florida
2) Turfgrass Management – Ever wonder who are the greenskeepers who make Augusta National Golf Club look so green and get the Azalea flowers looking so bright each April? There are approximately 15,000 golf courses in the United States. Each of these courses has a greenkeeping staff who maintains the course and keeps it looking beautiful. If you are a high school student looking to work in golf, greenskeeping at a golf course is a fantastic career path. There are 139 different colleges in the US who offer Turfgrass Management programs. All of these programs do not focus specifically on golf, but if you major in turfgrass management at one of these universities, there is a good chance you can find a job working at a golf course. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is the national organization supporting careers in turfgrass management. To learn more about the GCSAA and the college turf programs they support, check out the GCSAA student careers website.
3) Professional Golf Management– The most common route high school students seek to working in golf is to become a golf professional. The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) is the national organization that supports the growth and development of 29,000 golf professionals in the United States. If you are looking to go to college for a career as a golf professional, there are several options including attending a Professional Golf Management (PGM) college, attending a golf specific college such as the Golf Academy of America, or just getting a business degree at any college or university. You do NOT need to attend a PGM college program if you are going to become a golf professional. Certainly attending one of the 18 accredited PGM programs will help you get into the golf business, but if you are a general student who understands business, accounting, and knows how to market a golf business, you can get a job working in golf. There are plenty of courses across the country looking to hire sales reps, marketing associates, controllers, and golf professionals who know business.
List of the 18 colleges and universities that offer accredited Professional Golf Management Degrees: University of Nebraska, University of Idaho, Maryland Eastern Shore, University of Las Vegas, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Penn State, Sam Houston State, New Mexico State, NC State, Methodist, Mississippi State, Ferris State, Florida Gulf Coast, Coastal Carolina. Eastern Kentucky, Campbell University and Clemson University.
I hope the above information helps high school students and their parents be more informed about college options for high school students looking for a career in golf.