Students Play Important Role in Successful Tournaments

RBC Heritage Classic Logo A man named David Thomas once said about volunteerism that “Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.” And we couldn’t agree more. The truth is this: an unselfish action doesn’t mean that a person won’t benefit from having helped; it means that personal gain was not their motivation. To students at the Professional Golfers Career College volunteering is an invaluable part of their time here; volunteering is something they do well, and do often.

Routinely, students across all of our campuses serve as integral pieces in the successful execution of golf events like the: PGA Merchandising Show: Demo Days, RBC Heritage Classic, Clubs for Kids, Through Kyle's Eyes Foundation Annual Golf Tournament and a number of different Wounded Warrior events, to name a few. There are dozens of volunteer opportunities at each campus every semester, and it is not uncommon to see a volunteer roster that boasts anywhere from a few students to over a hundred at any given time, and depending on the size of event; like the RBC Heritage Classic, where 114 students helped with setup, registration, and take down.

Take for example the Give Kids the World Village, a 70-acre non-profit storybook resort located near central Florida, and a number of beloved attractions, where children with life threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. Joanie Johansson, Psychology teacher at PGCC Orlando, takes her freshman to visit the village every semester and it has become something of a tradition to put on a benefit tournament for the organization.

Give Kids The World LogoJohansson recalls that “When Erick Dietrich said he’d put on a tournament, I had no idea what we were in for. We had about 100 golfers and he did a wonderful job.” Or Chris White, who took the helm another year, “Chris did an incredible job.” Johansson gushes. “Some of our students volunteer there on a regular basis; one of our graduates even brings his wife now” She beams.

Or how about the PGA Merchandising Show: Demo Days? Organized by Orlando’s Director of Golf, Roger Masterson, this year 74 golf college volunteers were support staff to over 8,000 PGA professionals and insiders. “It was challenging but fun” notes Masterson, “It was really nice getting to see the students using things they’d learned in school, in action.” The volunteer staff, comprised of students from every grade level, held positions all across the 25 acre, 360 degree driving range had their hands full, but kept the event on point.

“We got feedback from OCN that of many volunteers at the event that we stepped up and performed above and beyond” Masterson recalls, “I saw a lot of smiles on student’s faces when they were doing jobs that were less than desirable.” Laughing, “They were just so excited by the fact that they were that close to that many important people in the industry, getting to help them and interact with them.”

Through Kyle's Eyes LogoFans of golf might know the name Kyle Lograsso; he is one of fewer than 300 kids in the United States who are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year. At just 9 years old, he has a highly unusual gift; a near perfect golf swing. The 9 year old golf prodigy has never had a lesson in his life and because of his natural talent, and love for the game, he has been able to raise awareness of the rare cancer that threatened his life a few short years ago by forming the Through Kyle’s Eyes Foundation. His foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and funding (they’ve already raised in excess of $60,000) for research towards an eventual cure for retinoblastoma.

Putting on a tournament is no easy feat and since learning of Kyle’s story, the Professional Golfers Career College has been committed to helping the foundation. Armed with a ready supply of professional, eager, knowledgeable students who are honored to help Kyle’s cause, the golf college is well represented by the volunteer staff who help keep the tournament running smoothly.

Through Kyle's Eyes LogoPGCC Temecula's Dean of Students, Jim Wilkinson, had a few words to share about the mutual benefits of volunteer experiences like any of the ones listed above. He shared that "Volunteering gives our students a hands on opportunity to see how things work behind the scenes; they see the inner workings and some decide where they’re going to focus their career based on their experiences at a tournament."

But he knows that there are greater benefits to the students than having another fun day on the course."You get a good feeling when you help anybody, whatever the cause." he continues "There's a good feeling about working towards a shared goal, whether you're raising money or calling attention to a cause, like the Wounded Warrior Project. They walk away feeling that they've helped somebody."

You see, students get more than just the joy of a job well done. In the course of these events, they occupy any and every role that needs filling, gaining priceless practical experience, and leaving the tournaments, organizations, and people, better for having been there.