PGA students share their unforgettable internship experiences

This season 97 students in Campbell University’s PGA golf management program completed internships across the nation, from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts to Bandon Dunes Golf Club in Oregon. These experiences gave the students the chance to gain experiences in the golf industry while being mentored by a PGA professional at each facility. Many times the contacts made on these internships aid a student in obtaining a full-time job after graduation.

Housed in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, Campbell’s PGA management program is one of only 19 accredited by the PGA in the nation. It prepares students for careers as PGA professionals.

Below, six students share their internship stories from this season, in their own words.

Luke Donah of Ballston Spa, New York

Internship: Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Massachusetts

Following my sophomore year at Campbell University, I completed a six-month internship that consisted of many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The internship took place at the Vineyard Golf Club on Martha’s Vineyard. The club is home to one of the most powerful memberships in the United States consisting of many top CEOs and celebrities. Many great connections were made during my time on the Vineyard, including that of my boss and mentor Gene Mulak, PGA.

My goal upon enrolling in Campbell’s PGA Golf Management Program was to equip myself to become the best golf instructor that I could be with aspirations of someday working with the top golfer’s in the world. During this internship, I was able to spend countless hours on the driving range shadowing golf lessons taught by Mike Bennett, Stack & Tilt founder and Top 50 instructor. I was also able to spend two days walking the grounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship with Tiger Woods’ instructor, Sean Foley. These experiences greatly contributed to my overall education as a young instructor.

In addition to those experiences, I was fortunate to have met the president of the United States as he was vacationing on the island. During his three golf outings at the club, I was able to interact with him on several occasions — an experience I’ll never forget. The internship was an all-around great experience. I have Campbell University to thank for providing me with the resources to achieve my future goals.

Corey Layton of Fairport, New York

Internship: Atlantic Golf Club, in Bridgehampton, New York

Known as the “playground of the rich and the famous,” The Hamptons on Long Island is where many Campbell students have spent their internships. I, too, have been fortunate enough to intern in the prestigious Hamptons. With the help of previous Campbell PGA Golf Management students, I have been able to spend my six-month internship at the Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, New York. Located roughly 90 miles from New York City, The Hamptons is home to many other world-renowned golf courses such as Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, National Golf Links of America, Sebonack Golf Club, and the Maidstone Club.

My housing, located on the property, included practice and playing privileges. This offered me an extraordinary opportunity to grow and excel as a player and to further my education in the golf business. My supervisor is Rick Hartmann, PGA, and he is the best in the business at what he does. I am grateful to Campbell University amd the PGM alumni and the staff for helping me secure this internship.

Matt Walters of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Internship: TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut

My name is Matt Walters, a junior PGM major, and I am on my sixth-month internship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. River Highlands is host to a PGA Tour Event called the Travelers Championship. This was my first PGA Tour Event, and what an experience it was. It was a week’s worth of hanging out with the tour guys and making them feel at home. While working the Travelers, I was able to hang out with some of the biggest names, such as Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia.

Being able to get to know these guys and watch them play every day was a huge accomplishment for me. I enjoyed every second of working at River Highlands because the members are very active and very enjoyable to be around. Whether it is walking through the grill and asking them about their round or hanging out on the practice facility giving them tips about the golf swing, the members are always proud of the staff and what we do. I will continue to be here until December; then I will be back in the Creek! I am Campbell Proud!

Greg Hensley of Supply, North Carolina

Internship: Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon

Currently, I am working in the golf shop of Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes Golf resort located in Bandon, Oregon. I am a merchandise and golf operations assistant. I maintain the prestige of our merchandise and operate the systems needed for reservations and transactions. Informing guests on the difference of fabrics such as pima cotton, mercerized cotton, merino wool and performance wear is a big part of the job.

The work schedule consists of three different shifts: the opening at 6:15 a.m., the mid at 8 a.m., and the closing at 1 p.m. The shop stays open until the last golfer is off the course. A typical day of work for me consists of checking guests in for their round, answering phone calls, and answering questions about the course, the resort, and the merchandise. I handle cash, credit, and room charge transactions. I work closely with the rangers and starters to ensure everyone is where they need to be to develop a memorable round of golf at Old Mac. In addition to working the golf shop, I ranger on Wednesdays at Old Mac. A ranger monitors the pace of play on the course and ensures everyone’s safety.

I have had a wonderful time out on the West Coast. I never would have thought I would end up out here, but I am grateful for the opportunity to try something new and experience Bandon Dunes. Awesome experience!

Robert Starkey of Center Conway, New Hampshire

Internship: Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon

While on internship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, I have probably had one of the best summers I have had in a very long time. Each and every day you do not know who you will unexpectedly meet or see on the tee sheet! Although meeting people is just one thing I can look back at, I can also say that I have grown into a better golf professional while at Bandon Dunes.

I am currently finishing up my first three months out here in Oregon. For the first three months, I have worked in the Bandon Trails golf shop, which also operates the 13-hole, par-3 Bandon Preserve, alongside Rob McVicker, a a former Campbell PGM student and current first assistant. Rob and I have gotten along very well. To work under both him and Scott Millhouser, the head golf professional, is a great experience, and I would not have wanted to have anything different.

In the golf shop, I have been responsible for helping maintain inventory and cleanliness and also performing daily POS transactions for both Bandon Trails and Bandon Preserve. This being my first golf shop experience, I have to say I would not have wanted to learn the steps with anyone but these two professionals. They have showed me what it takes to be a true professional in and out of the golf shop.

While out in Oregon, I have also had the opportunity to help instruct junior clinics across the resort and down in Gold Beach, Oregon, alongside Scott Millhouser. This has also been a great time and a great experience.

Bandon Dunes is not your average American golf facility. At Bandon Dunes, one thing many people ask is, “Where are the carts?” The entire facility at Bandon Dunes is a walking-only facility. With that being said, the resort has over 300 caddies who take each guest around the courses and points him or her in the right direction. I have started to caddie on my days off to get this experience and to improve my knowledge of the courses.

In addition to caddying, working in the golf shop, and playing to better my game, I have also had time to explore the coast. When traveling up here, I was fortunate to be able to drive the entire length of the California coast, starting from San Diego, where I caught a San Diego Padres game, to driving across the Golden Gate Bridge and driving through the Redwood Forest.

Overall, the experience out here on the Oregon Coast has been great and I look forward to the remaining months that will follow.

Cory Kinsinger of Somerset, Pennsylvania

Internship: Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, New York

The PGA Golf Management Program at Campbell has given me the opportunity to work at one of the country’s top golf courses. I am doing a six-month internship at the Deepdale Golf Club, which is located in Manhasset, New York. While completing this internship, I have had the opportunity to play in multiple PGA Met section assistant’s events, and I qualified for the Long Island Open.

One of the best experiences I have had while up here was getting to play in the New York State Open, which was held at Bethpage Black. Being able to play that course in tournament conditions was an unbelievable experience that I won’t forget.

I plan on becoming a teacher after I graduate, so being able to study under three of the best golf instructors in the country has helped tremendously. Darrell Kestner, who is the director of golf at Deepdale, is one of the best short game coaches on Long Island. Deepdale also has two of the top full-swing instructors in the nation. Being able to spend time around them has allowed me to continue to learn more about the game.

All of this is made possible because of the connections that Campbell’s PGA Golf Management Program has developed over the years.