Louder for the people in the back – GOLF IS COOL!
That was one of the overarching takeaways from the Beyond the Green career exploration event Sunday at the Comcast Technology Center, part of the 2022 PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship.
Playing off the vibe and atmosphere of the event, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh told the crowd something it already knew, but is always worth repeating – “Golf is cool!”
Speaking on “The Golf Biz” panel, Seth talked about how the game is transforming from a stuffy, unhip sport to one that now has events like Beyond the Green, where an abundance of Jordan sneakers, Eastside Golf hoodies and joggers splattered the audience. Philly’s own DJ Diamond Kutz even rocked the crowd.
“For the first time in history, golf is cool,” Seth said. “And this event is cool because you’re the ones who are going to evolve it and make a difference.”
Job Opportunities on the Table
PGA Member and Callaway Golf staffer Mackenzie Mack told a relatable story about how she was once sitting in the same crowd as the students on Sunday when she played in the PWCC.
She wasn’t paying enough attention back then, but her sister, also in the crowd as a student-athlete, was. Mackenzie’s sister reached out to one of the speakers about an internship, which she landed on the spot. Meanwhile, Mackenzie lagged, to the dismay of her mother who asked her, “Were you asleep?” Eventually, Mackenzie reached out and got herself an internship, too.
It taught her a valuable life lesson.
“I vowed I wasn’t going to miss another opportunity,” Mackenzie said during the “What’s in the Bag” panel. “I tell that story to say, I have internships and I have jobs available, so take advantage.”
The crowd took notes, for sure. And Mackenzie also opened the door for the other panelists to talk about the opportunities they are offering.
That prompted later panelists to also let the crowd know they also had internships and jobs available, which energized the mid-event networking session.
Something for Everybody
PGA of America Secretary Don Rea spoke to the group about how golf creates job opportunities for everyone no matter what it is they want to do.
Whether it be course management, interior design or managing social media – Don needs a social manager at his Augusta Ranch Golf Club, by the way – the golf industry has something for everybody. Part of Don’s message was that it didn’t matter what sort of profession you might be seeking, you can do it within golf. Even if you think that job has no place in the game.
“Wanna be a lawyer?” Don said with a laugh. “Well, you can do it in golf, and it’s pretty lucrative.”
Golf Brings People Together
During Beyond the Green’s “We Got Next” panel discussion, a common theme was how the game can unite people from different backgrounds.
“Golf is a galvanizing force that can connect society,” said Kyle Bowser, Senior Vice President at the NAACP. “You may play with someone who isn’t like you, and they can walk away and think, ‘That person swings a club just like I do. Maybe they aren’t as different from me as I thought they were.’ And then they go back on Monday morning and remember that, and it changes how they see people.”
And the game can also bring people together professionally.
“Golf is the only sport that’s an intersection with business,” said PaShon Mann, Vice President of Comcast Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Football doesn’t do that, right? There isn’t any other sport that’s like that.”
Dr. J Played for the New York Nets
Between panel sessions, hosts asked trivia questions, and correct answers were rewarded with prizes.
One particular question lit the crowd more than the others.
“What team did Dr. J (Julius Erving) play for before the Philadelphia 76ers?” was the question. Hands immediately went up and people started yelling out, but the student-athlete chosen answered, “the New York Nets!”
That drew an emphatic, “NO! It’s the Knicks!” from another student a few rows over who stood up and pointed as he said it. His assuredness caused the host’s team to ask for a Google check, which confirmed Dr. J played for the Nets – not the Knicks.
When the correct answer was revealed, the young man who disputed the answer crumpled in his seat and fell onto the floor with a huge laugh as the rest of the audience laughed with him.
More lessons learned. Shrug emoji.