Kraft-Nabisco Tournament Director Makes Annual Trip to PGCC
In what has now become an annual tradition, the Professional Golfers Career College welcomed Kraft Nabisco’s Tournament Director, Gabe Codding, to the St. Andrews auditorium to inspire students and encourage them to focus their passion for the game. Playing to a packed house, he spoke about his work ethic, what he values in people, and how he became the youngest Tournament Director Kraft Nabisco has ever seen. Stories like his are important to share for a number of reasons, not least of which is that younger generations of golfers should know that with hard work and a good attitude, any position in the golf world can be theirs.
Years ago, before Gabe Codding was the Tournament Director of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, he was a teenager in Rancho Mirage, helping out at the Mission Hills Country Club, where the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament, now the Kraft Nabisco Tournament, took place. Rancho Mirage most certainly left its mark on him, it’s not easy pounding gallery stakes in the punishing heat, but through the years, he maintained, and now he is leaving his own mark on the town.
Remarking on his tradition of being a perpetual volunteer he says simply, “I never dreamed it would turn into a career.” It seems like a bit of a Cinderella story, as though he was always being groomed for his current role. A teenaged guy helps out and because of his exceptional work ethic and winning attitude he gets asked to volunteer in even more positions every year, with his capabilities expanding in each job, until eventually the call came: Come work with us.
Codding was a natural, which is not to say that his job is easy. He oversees an operations team, plans events, and handles sales and marketing to execute golf’s first major. Terry Wilcox, Codding’s predecessor, had 14 years of experience when he handed over the reins, and since that day Gabe has met his responsibilities with optimism, and earnest vigor. It’s the same vigor he brings to PGCC every year. A naturally compelling speaker, he made it abundantly clear to students that there are very basic keys to success in the industry. “Hard work trumps luck every day. Work hard, respect people, and always work yourself to a higher level.”
Hard work and respect are repetitive themes when he addresses the future leaders in the world of golf. And his advice for golfers who are about to enter the workforce? “Find your passion for the industry, give it your all, learn all you can while at your level, and honor those around you.” His advice is a four pronged approach, a ladder, if you will, but it is time tested, effective and honest. Few people would know better what industry leaders are looking for than he does. “I look for people who are teachable, have great attitudes, and are passionate, hard workers.”
One of the greatest abilities we can develop is to learn from others; from their mistakes and successes. So, what is the greatest lesson he's learned? “I learned patience, and to honor everybody, but especially those in authority.” And what might he advise that every golfer entering the industry learn? “We all have greatness inside of us. Find what you are passionate about and give it your all. Don’t settle.”
Spring 2013 International Cup
The International Cup marks the close of a semester, and nearly the last tournament graduating seniors will play at PGCC. In typical tournament fashion all of the preceding matches serve to prepare players for the most challenging showdown at the end of each semester. After making it through the last 6 weeks of qualifying tournaments, the top 36 students compete against the faculty in 4 modified alternate shot ball matches.
The Temecula campus selected the Legends Golf Club to host the competition. Sadly for students, it was not a close match. On day one, Faculty firmly took their 5 ½ to ½ lead and made it clear; The International Cup is still ours. It might be too early to call it a lucky streak but, Faculty at PGCC Temecula have taken instruction to a whole new level, teaching students a thing or two on the course. Congratulations to all International Cup players on their sportsmanship, and a game well-played!
The Oldfield Golf Club, a beautiful private course designed by Greg "Great White" Norman, hosted the Hilton Head International Cup. While Faculty came out on top this time, with a final score of 19 matches to the students 5, Hilton Head's Captain’s, DaWayne Penberthy and Burke Gregory, gave it their all. At the end of one of the singles matches Michel Dion, a range instructor for PGCC Hilton Head, played student Greg James, a Junior, who has been taking lessons from Michel since he was a Freshman. Dion was 2 up with 3 holes to play, and Greg made a come back to win the last 3 holes, turn the tables, and be the victor. After a big hug on the 18th green, Michel shared “Even though I lost my match I am still a winner as my student played so well. That is what my job is all about.”
Spring 2013 President's CupIt isn’t a stretch to think that students at a school filled with golfers would take competition very seriously but every semester that is exactly what happens; competition gets serious. The President’s Cup is a longstanding tradition at PGCC, and competition gets taken to a whole new level.
For the tournament, captains are designated and it is their responsibility to select the organization of the players, and therefore, the make-up of teams; who plays single matches and who plays teams. Captains are the backbone, the leaders and the moral support for the tournaments, but in the end, it is the players have to deliver on their potential and bring home the win.
The top students at all three golf college campuses welcome the President's Cup Tournament every semester. Played in Ryder Cup format, where one point is awarded for every hole gained, and a half point is awarded for every hole tied, the “P Cup” allows each student an opportunity to compete against the faculty, a considerable challenge, even for the best of the best. One of several end-of-semester tournaments the P Cup engages students in healthy competition, exposing them to the rules of match play format that directly emulate the Ryder Cup style.
The students who served as captains and co-captains of this semester’s P Cup were; Burke Gregory and Chad Mayles in Hilton Head, Joe Mentz and Dan Smith in Temecula, and Joel Hingston in Orlando.
In Temecula faculty member Steve Betty made a Hole-n-One (Hole # 15 with a #3 wood) to close out his match 5&3 against Scott Ramsey, freshman. And Senior, David Lopez, won the ONLY match for the students all week. Lopez recalls that he played one of his best rounds of his life and won 2&1 against Dr. Tim “Doc” Somerville.
In Orlando at the Reunion Resort’s Nicklaus Course, the final score was 12 ½ to 11 ½ in favor of the students. The winning student Captain was Joel Hingston from the Senior Class, while the Faculty side was represented by Director of Golf, Roger Masterson. One of the Faculty teams was comprised of alumni, Matt Higginbotham and David Beshears, from the December 2011 graduating class. The two came back from a 3 down deficit with 4 holes to play, to secure a tie with their student opponents. Unfortunately for them, it was not enough to overcome the final matches which were won by the students to secure the Cup.
The Hilton Head Lakes Golf Course hosted the President’s Cup, and students captains Burke Gregory and Chad Mayles, gave it their all, going the extra mile to run a great event. One of the P Cup highlights did not take place while students and faculty were playing; it came before. Hilton Head arranged a pairings party prior to the event so students could meet their opponents in advance, and foster a healthy respect for each other, and encourage good sportsmanship. Jimmy Powell, Hilton Head’s Director of Golf shared that, “This was a great networking opportunity, lots of fun and we feel that it made for a more competitive event.”
Congratulations to all teams on a game well-played!