Alum Promoted to GM in Record Four MonthsWhen you look back at any number of success stories, themes begin to appear; passion, dedication and direction are three of those themes. Those three are things are the bottom line here,at the Professional Golfers Career College, the shared common denominator of all our students and alumni. Keeping that in mind one wouldn’t be surprised when they hear that another PGCC Alum has gone on to make their mark at a golf club, leaving their own special touch on everything.
Christopher “Kit” Tennyson is one such graduate.
A little less than a year ago Kit Tennyson was promoted to General Manager of Tanglewood Golf Course after occupying the Assistant Clubhouse Manager position, which he earned from very high praise. According to Tennyson, “The greatest lesson I learned at PGCC is that networking is the key to success. This is a tough business with lots of qualified professionals competing for fewer and fewer positions. Often, it comes down to the recommendation of someone you've met along the way.” Much of his professional drive and direction sprang from his time as a pro shop/bag room attendant at Mahogany Run Golf Club in St. Thomas, USVI where his eyes were first opened to see that golf as a career was not just a possibility, but inevitability.
As Tennyson recalls, “I was introduced to the game at a young age by my father, David Tennyson, who has been a scratch player for most of his life. I grew up walking the fairways and learning the game from him. I played baseball throughout high school and college and thought of golf as just a hobby.” Just like that, as most paths do, Tennyson’s meandered away from golf and, for a time, he pursued Journalism as a vocation. “I had been working as an advertising sales executive in the newspaper industry for several years. As the role of newspapers declined in the country, so did the commission checks that were such a large part of my compensation. I had maintained my passion for golf and kept going back to my time at Mahogany Run as the best years of my life. With the newspaper business struggling and a career change imminent, there was no better time to pursue my old dream of a life in the golf industry.”
Which is exactly what he did; “I knew it was tough to get a foot in the door of the golf business so I attended PGCC to give me a leg up on the competition” he says, adding that “PGCC gave me a solid understanding of many aspects of the business. The great thing about PGCC is that it covers such a broad array of subjects; from business planning to psychology & lessons to calligraphy. After my graduation I really felt prepared for any & everything.”
Going from graduate to GM didn’t happen overnight though, dues had to be paid. “Upon my graduation from PGCC in August of 2010, I took a job on the grounds crew at the L.A. Nickell with the understanding that with my background in golf I would also provide group & individual golf lessons in my "free" time. Through the contacts I made giving golf lessons at the L.A. Nickell I was recommended for the Assistant Clubhouse Manager/Golf Professional position at Tanglewood.” And here’s where it circles around, Tennyson was the Assistant Clubhouse Manager/ Golf Professional for a mere four months before he was promoted to GM. Imagine what kind of example you’d have to set to garner that kind of recognition in only 120 days. In a way though, it make sense; he learned from the best.
Frank Jones, a beloved teacher at PGCC Hilton Head who was more of an institution than an instructor prior to his passing earlier this year. “I had several great relationships with the staff at PGCC but the one that stands out in my mind is Frank Jones. I had never given a golf lesson before but Frank's ability to pass on his knowledge and passion for the game enabled me to become a passable teacher myself and really set him apart.” It’s apparent that the affection in his tone is not just sentimental, it is truthful. “We lost Frank this past year and the world and the game of golf is poorer for it.”
We are all part of cycles in life and after mentors pass along knowledge, it is up to the next generation of golfers to lead by example and make their marks, too. “The best part of my job is the people that I meet every day. We are a busy public golf facility and we get all kinds of players. From the die-hards that complain that "The snow is mostly melted, why can't we tee off?" to the weekend warriors with the six-pack per 9-holes. They all love the game and they all have a story to tell.”