Exploring ‘Beyond the Green’

PGA Works staff member Will Lowry speaks to students at the PGA Works Beyond the Green ahead of this week’s PGA Championship. Picture by Darren Carroll/PGA of America.

Louisville, Kentucky, United States: Before the world’s greatest golfers teed-off at Valhalla Golf Club in the 106th PGA Championship, students from the Louisville area attended PGA WORKS Beyond the Green, a career-exploration event designed to engage students from under-represented backgrounds with golf industry leaders and innovators.

Held alongside PGA of America Championships and led by hosts Doug Smith and Will Lowry, participants gathered in the Club PGA pavilion alongside the 17th hole at Valhalla for engaging panels and activities.

They heard from industry leaders such as PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and ESPN Senior Golf Analyst Michael Collins who helped introduce the vast opportunities to find meaningful career opportunities within golf, as well as industries that work alongside the US$102 billion industry.

Local schools and programmes in attendance included the Boys and Girls Club, CHOICE (Fern Creek High School), Westend School, Kappa League, First Tee Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools.

“The game of golf raises about US$5 billion a year in charity and is a US$102 billion industry with two million jobs,” said Waugh in his remarks.

“When we talk about growing the game, it’s not just about playing the game, it’s about you making a life and career out of the game. Most importantly, if we can make the game look more like the rest of the world, maybe the world will behave a little more like the game,” he added.

Following a welcome message from PGA of America Vice President Don Rea Jr, panel discussions and activities followed.

The ‘A Bold Life Beyond’ panel provided thought-provoking insights about unconventional career paths that can lead to rewarding careers in or adjacent to the golf industry.

The ‘Fairways to Airways’ panel touched on how the art of story-telling remains a fundamental aspect of human culture, shaping how we perceive and interact with the world around us.

Speaking in the Fairways to Airways panel, Collins said: “I’m here today because I wasn’t afraid to say: ‘Yeah, why not’. I started out doing stand-up comedy. I did that for 20 years and then I ended up caddying on the PGA Tour, all kind of by accident.

“From caddying and stand-up, somebody reached out to me asking if I wanted to do play-by-play for XM radio. All of a sudden I get a tweet from ESPN asking if I wanted to chat and next thing you know, I’ve been on ESPN now for almost 15 years.”

To wrap-up the panel discussions, attendees participated in a story-telling activation where they were assigned to brainstorm and pitch fresh, innovative ideas to market the PGA Championship to youth.

PGA WORKS is a strategic initiative, designed to diversify the golf industry’s workforce. Funded by PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America, PGA WORKS leverages fellowships, scholarships, career exploration events and the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship to inspire and engage talent from diverse backgrounds to pursue key employment positions across the golf industry.

*The PGA of America is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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AGIF is a not for profit industry federation with members and partners involved in all facets of the golf industry throughout Asia to assist them to take the next step in development toward a sustainable industry.


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