Faculty Spotlight on Lou Skovron, PGA“My proudest moment as an educator is when I see our students go on to become successful in the golf industry.”
Most recently, Lou became the Golf Director at The Legends Golf Club, but he has held every possible position in a golf course operation. He worked his way up from Assistant Professional, Head Golf Professional, Golf Director, General Manager, Course Construction, & Golf Course Development and Tournament Director. You cannot be successful in these roles overnight, and in career that spans over 4 decades he’s proven that there is no substitute for hard work and passion. In the late 1960’s the University of San Diego beckoned to him, drawing him out to sunny, southern California from Great Falls, MT where he was attending the College of Great Falls. Southern California became his home, and the locale where many of his greatest accomplishments would take place, beginning with his work in PGA Business School I&II.
Lou knows what it takes to make a course, and a career, successful. Take, for example, his numerous honors: his "Shortcuts to Better Golf" was published in Golf Magazine, in 1990 he was named Merchandiser of the Year for public courses by the SCPGA, and in 2008 he was named Golf Professional of the Year by the Inland Empire PGA. In both 1986 and 1990 he was nominated by Golf Digest for heading up the Golf Shop of the Year and he spent 1980 to 1982 as the President San Diego Chapter PGA. From 2005 to 2010 he sat on the Inland Empire Chapter PGA Board of Directors and, not to boast, but in a town with a population of over 3 million people (many of whom are golfers), he has been named one of the 'Top 100 Influential People in Golf in San Diego'. The accolades are strewn about, but he isn’t after them. Truthfully… his entire career is has been tirelessly dedicated to service.
Skovron began his work with junior golf while he was still in college, and during that time he rose to Junior Chairman, with a Junior Chairman of the Year award in both the Inland Empire and Southern California chapters of the PGA following closely behind. Lou currently sits on the Junior Golf Advisory Board for the Southern California Section PGA ,and for over 20 years, alongside his wife, Valerie, he co-directs the Valley Junior Golf Association. Formed to promote the traditions of golf and encourage competition and camaraderie among junior golfers, the VJGA was created to educate young people about the skill, self-discipline, competition and joy of the game. Established in 1987, the VJGA is a non-profit junior golf tour that runs a staggering 30 tournaments a year for kids 5 to 18 years of age, and from the very start Lou and Valerie have maintained their belief that: “Golf is good for kids.”
Taking a moment to explain exactly why golf is good for kids, Lou shared that “Along with the tournaments we try to show kids what they can learn from golf that's going to help them in everyday life, and growing up.” This genuine sentiment is balanced with matter of fact logic; Lou knows that golf provides a positive activity for youngsters during a period in their lives that requires direction and supervision. He and Valerie see the impact of the work they do every day, and golf is a central part of their life. Their son, Joe, who has had his own successful playing career, and launched the “Beyond the Links” clothing line, is a graduate of the VJGA. Presently Joe caddies on the PGA Tour for a golfer you may have heard of…Rickie Fowler, who also happens to be a graduate of the VJGA.
It is very clear that his passion is helping people enjoy golf, because he strongly believes that "golf is the one sport that people can enjoy for a lifetime". It is no wonder that his proudest moments are watching others succeed; he is a servant to the game. Bringing humor, experience, and an open mind, to all of his students, one thing is for certain; his extended family of golfers, from 5 to 18, or 50 or 80, know the rarity and value of someone like him because, like every great teacher, Lou is still learning.
PGCC Named 2013 Military Friendly SchoolIf you caught wind of the 2013 Military Friendly Schools list, which was be distributed in print and digital format to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in October 2012, you saw it proudly displaying our name for the first time. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.
“A school’s inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools shows commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, Vice President at Victory Media, the organization behind the publication, and Director for G.I. Jobs. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools.”
The criteria for inclusion incorporate a survey of over 3,000 actual student veterans. This feedback provides prospective military students with insight into the student veteran experience at particular institutions based on peer reviews from current students. To make it on the list, these schools have to have world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, academic accreditation, credit policies, flexibility, and other services to those who served.
In addition to awarding a full-ride scholarship opportunity at each campus to select veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project, one of the most important ways that PGCC helps veteran students is through its participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Established in 2008 as part of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, the Yellow Ribbon Program allows higher learning institutions to enter into an agreement with the VA to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, and the VA will match it, up to 50%.
If you do the math, this means that both the VA and PGCC team up to cover up to 50% of a student’s tuition and fees each, essentially absorbing up to half of the cost of tuition, as a way of giving back to those who have already given so much. So what does this mean exactly? It means that our students can potentially earn a degree at no cost. PGCC’s VA Coordinator, Ann Martin, feels that the golf college’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program is groundbreaking “It’s a voluntary thing for the school and about 5% of our students in Temecula are veterans, so this program has a lot of potential to help them.”
Among the other services offered to our veteran students is an annual meeting with a local VA representative. Our local VA rep has made a tradition of visiting the campus annually to provide information about all of the programs in place to benefit every sphere of our student’s lives, from personal counseling and marriage counseling, to education and housing. The meeting is optional, and the response has been encouraging. PGCC Temecula’s Director of Admission, Gary Gilleon, a veteran and graduate of PGCC, strongly believes in the importance of creating access to this information. Gilleon shared that “If students choose to meet with the rep, they get info about PTSD, if there’s anything going on with their lives that the VA can help with, from budgeting to buying a house, debt reduction, and counseling…you name it.”
At first glance it might be tough to draw the connection but, PGCC is a unique institution ideally suited to veterans who are embarking on a second career, or forging a new path after their service. Gilleon continues “Our students are disciplined and focused, they know why they’re here and they enjoy being here. Going from the military to golf is an easy transition because even if they’ve never worked in the golf industry, there’s always the skill set that they bring with them; organization, people skills, confidence, presenting, leading, directing. It all translates very easily into the golf industry.”
Rickie Fowler attends VJGA Awards Banquet at PGCCThere’s nothing like the satisfaction that comes from working with people who share your vision. The Professional Golfers Career College and the Valley Junior Golf Association can count themselves among the long-standing partnerships whose shared vision brings great satisfaction, and strikes a balance that makes the other shine brighter. Established in 1987 the VJGA is a non-profit junior golf tour that runs a staggering run 30 tournaments a year for kids 5 to 18 years of age, and they have always maintained their belief that: “Golf is good for kids.” a sentiment that PGCC can totally get behind.
Formed to promote the traditions of golf and encourage competition and camaraderie among junior golfers the VJGA was created to educate young people about the game of golf, the skill, self-discipline, the competition and the joy of the game. At PGCC our mission is to educate the future leaders in the world of golf, and in this case that really means that we can pick up where the VJGA leaves off.
Returning to your roots is an important pilgrimage in life and career, especially in a sport that has such a rich and far-reaching history…and that’s exactly what happened at the 2012 VJGA Awards Banquet, a southern California native returned to his roots with a surprise visit. The VJGA selected PGCC Temecula to host the banquet, which was held in the St. Andrews Auditorium, the pride and joy PGCC’s Temecula campus. Setting foot in the auditorium is taking a step back in time, which made it all the more entertaining to see so many young faces.
Lou Skovron is the Director of Golf at The Legends Golf Club, and co-Director, alongside his wife, Valerie, of the VJGA. He took a moment to explain why golf is good for kids “My wife and I have been involved with VJGA since 1989 and along with the tournaments we try to show kids what they can learn from golf that's going to help them in everyday life, and growing up.” And the truth is, they ought to know. The Skovron’s son, Joe, who had his own successful playing career and launched the “Beyond the Links” clothing line, is a graduate of the VJGA and he certainly is in good company. Presently Joe is a caddie on the PGA Tour for none other than Rickie Fowler, who also happens to be a graduate of the VJGA.
Skovron continued that “Ricky started playing golf with the VJGA when he was 4 and he was at the banquet to show his support for the VJGA.” Rickie didn’t come alone, another former VJGA player, Joe Skovron, made an appearance at the award proceedings. The Banquet bestowed sportsmanship awards and awards for the 2012 Player of the Year, Runner-up Player of the Year in each age group, alongside the Steele Plate Award for most-improved (named for PGA Tour player Brendan Steele, another VJGA alumnus). Mike Pugh and Baylee Barckley took home the Rickie Fowler Award for best stroke average for the year.
If having an award named after him wasn’t enough, at the end of the awards Rickie Fowler was inducted into the VJGA hall of Fame, alongside another familiar name; 2009 inductee Doctor Tim Somerville, President and Founder of PGCC. Skovron remarked “We had 120 kids and parents and everyone had a great time with our surprise guest Rickie. PGCC has been a great supporter of Valley Junior Golf for many years, and has allowed us to use The Legends Golf Club as a home course,” continuing that the “VJGA is very appreciative of Dr. Somerville and PGCC for their support.”