Volunteering Teaches Life LessonsWe live and breathe golf, working everyday to provide students with more than a comprehensive and engaging education; we also work to provide them with opportunities. A thorough golf education stretches beyond the classroom; it even stretches beyond the golf course. A real golf education has to stretch all the way to the core of a student, and fundamentally enhance their knowledge and love of golf, and shape it into something deeper, something that encourages them want to learn and do more. Part of doing “more” is volunteering. Going above-and-beyond to do whatever the task asks of you.
As all volunteers know, when you sign up to help out, it’s all-hands-on-deck and you never really know where you’re going to end up. Such was the case for Kody Idland, a Spring 2013 graduate from PGCC Temecula, who volunteered at the Kraft Nabisco Pro-Am and got an interesting assignment…caddying for none other than one of the original shock-rocker, Alice Cooper.
Kody was a couple of weeks from graduation when he opted to take one last chance to volunteer, in the midst of pre-graduation frenzy. “I knew that the Kraft Nabisco tournament was approaching and I missed out last year volunteering through PGCC and wanted to be sure to be involved this year.” Idland shared. Kody’s volunteer history with the golf college includes time at the Web.com tour stop for the Soboba Springs Classic, LPGA events like the Kia Classic, and PGA events, like the Humana Challenge. This lineup positioned him as a valuable asset when it came time to apply to the LPGA’s first Major. “I looked on their website and applied to volunteer. I provided my volunteer history while at PGCC, and they assigned me to work with the golf channel. I also applied to caddy through PGCC.”
Some say you should never work for free, but when you’re starting out, what you get out of volunteering can significantly outweigh anything else you may have taken home. “Volunteering opened many doors for me and enabled me to make the right contacts and show my work ethic.” Idland continues, “At every tournament I’ve learned something new, whether it was working with scoring, set-up, registration, media, or being a caddy. I tried to get as much out of the experience as one could.”
Our Tournament Operations courses prepare students to handle every task a tournament can throw at them, the rest is up to them. Idland concluded, “PGCC was the fastest 16 months of my life, and I wish I would have volunteered more often.” Not to worry, though. Volunteering has, in some significant way, shaped where Idland will take his career. “I enjoyed meeting new people and doing new jobs, seeing the courses and facilities along with meeting some of the best golfers in the world. I plan to work in tournament operations and become a positive leader and mentor.”
Kevin Bourland, a senior at PGCC Temecula, also has post graduation plans on his mind, and as Kody mentioned, the 16 months spent here can fly by before you know it, which is why you have to act fast when opportunities arise. Bourland shares, “I came to be a volunteer at the Kraft Nabisco Pro-Am by an opportunity through PGCC, Gabe Codding the Operations Director of the Kraft Nabisco tournament came to the college to give a lecture on his success story in the golf industry.” Gabe Codding makes an annual pilgrimage to the golf college to share how he became Tournament Director of the Kraft Nabisco Championship…by volunteering. It’s a fascinating story, but that’s another article.
Bourland continues, “It was through coordination with Jack Gyves that I was given the opportunity. I have volunteered at two PGA Tour events and one LPGA Tour event.” Bourland’s responsibilities were straightforward in terms of the task at hand, but that’s not all he was doing. “I was able to apply a lot of different things that I have learned at PGCC while volunteering. One of the biggest things that I learned while attending PGCC is planting good seeds, which I learned in Doc's class freshman semester from a book titled ‘Seeds of Greatness’. By giving great first impressions it has allowed me other experiences and opportunities with the people I have networked with.”
That’s notable when you consider that often times people associate volunteering as signing-on to do everything nobody else wants to do. But that is obviously the wrong way to look at it. Students from any campus will tell you, one basic tenet at the golf college is this: Attitude is everything, and Kevin has the right idea. Bourland also shared, “Something that I learned while I was volunteering was how being more respectful towards the patrons at the Tour Events leads to great fan support. It’s all about the patrons. One volunteer told me that they go above and beyond to make sure that everyone is having a great time.”
Kevin’s enthusiasm is apparent, and you can tell that he loves the time he’s spent volunteering. “What I enjoyed the most was when I volunteered at the Final Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School, which was held at PGA West in La Quinta, California. I had the privilege of getting to announce players on the first tee and that was a great experience. Being able to shake hands and meet some of those guys was very humbling.”
So now that he’s a senior, what does he want to after graduation? “I plan to continue working towards becoming a PGA Class A member and my plans within the golf industry are to first become an Assistant Golf Professional and then from there get into more of Tournament Directing. Eventually, I would like to work in upper tier management for either Troon Golf or Club Corp. All of my volunteer jobs that I have done helped me gain more knowledge about all the planning it takes into putting on professional golf tournaments.”