The Big Three: Fall 2012's Tournament Season in Full Swing

AJGA It 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, the International Cup and The Old Time Tournament are three longstanding traditions at PGCC, and the camaraderie built on the course every day gets taken to a whole new level.

For the tournaments, 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 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, with Hampton Hall Country Club hosting in Hilton Head and Orlando splitting their time between the Palmer Course at Reunion Resort, and the Grand Pines Golf Club. This semester’s match in Hilton Head was a nail-biter right to the last putt. A close match, to be sure, but the thrill of neck and neck competition came to a screeching halt when students firmly took their lead and made it clear; The International Cup is ours. Orlando students held tightly onto their lead, taking home the cup with a 15 to 13 win over the faculty.While the faculty did a little bit more than edge out the students in Temecula.

Some call it the luck, but students at PGCC have taken instruction to a whole new level, teaching faculty a thing or two on the course. Congratulations to I Cup captains and co-captains: Jeff Mauldin (Orlando), Karin Kim and Shane Swindler (Temecula), and a special round of applause for Juan Palacios and Jayson Galindo (Hilton Head) who led their team to the first student victory over faculty since Fall 2010!

Temecula Students:
Temecula Faculty: 15½

Orlando Students:15
Orlando Faculty: 13

Hilton Head Students: 12 ½
Hilton Head Faculty: 11 ½

The President's Cup

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; Carter Martinson and Anthony Mastrangelo in Hilton Head, and Brandon Damaskos and Andrew Ellis in Temecula, and James Prescott in Orlando.

In Temecula the faculty took a substantial lead in Individual Matches on day 2, though it deserves mentioning that Chiwon Suh and Jae Hyun Suh, finished at 4&2 making them the only students to take home a win on day 1. In spite of their best efforts, after 2 days of competition, students relinquished the cup and it is the faculty who came out ahead in Temecula and Hilton Head. Congratulations to all teams on a game well-played, and best of luck to the next group of brave students to take on PGCC’s formidable faculty.

Temecula Students:3
Temecula Faculty:15

Orlando Students:18
Orlando Faculty:10

Hilton Head Students:2
Hilton Head Faculty: 10

The Old Time Tournament

Old Time TournamentSet foot through the door of any of PGCC’s three campuses and you will see the same thing; royal blue letters mounted on a wall informing you that Golf is History, Tradition & Character. At the Professional Golfer’s Career College this statement is more than a welcome mat, it is a principal philosophy. Three times a year this tenet is put to practical use during the Old Time Tournament.

The Old Time Tournament is a competition played in scramble format, exclusively by graduating seniors. Each team is comprised of four players and one caddy. The game begins with each player teeing off from the same spot, with the next round of play beginning where the best shot landed; this is continued until the ball is sunk into the hole. However, it is not the format that makes this tournament unique; it is unique because of the historically respectful manner in which it is played.

Players are outfitted in garb specific to golf’s very early years with students typically outfitted in a uniform of pristine golf shoes, knee socks, knickers, a sweater or vest over a crisp shirt, and a newsboy cap. Though the attire is no longer de rigueur, it is reminiscent of a bygone era that was saturated in style. Adhering further to the traditions of yesteryear, all players, and their caddies, walk each of the 18 holes on the course. Old Time TournamentGolf carts did not exist when the game was being formed and as a result, the automobiles are excluded from the day’s proceedings.

Transportation is not the only arena in which developmental technology is restricted. During the Old Time Tournament there are no such developments as sophisticated engineering, lightweight materials or adjustable heads. Students play with hickory shafted clubs and older versions of golf balls. Undoubtedly, there is a great appreciation for the advances of the game after the tournament commences, given that both the instruments and types of swings have evolved considerably.

The Old Time Tournament is homage to the rich and cherished history of the game of golf and while one of the primary goals is to reward the seniors with a peek into the origins of one of their life’s greatest passions, you simply can’t ignore the fact that a few days before they graduate they are taking away exactly the same lesson they learned upon arrival at PGCC; Golf is History, Tradition & Character.

The Legends Golf Club Celebrates 1st Anniversary

AJGA November 5th marks the one year anniversary of the grand opening of The Legends Golf Club, and what a year it has been. It seems like just yesterday the Professional Golfers Career College opened our fourth campus as a means of providing our students with unparalleled access to hands-on experience. Beyond what the course offers to students, The Legends Golf Club is rapidly becoming a premier event destination in Southern California. In the last year the AJGA Junior Open, the CIF-SS Team Qualifier to State Regional Tournaments, the SAFE Tournament and the Student Venture Tournament selected The Legends Golf Club to be their home. In addition to these events, The Legends has hosted numerous clinics from world famous clinician, and former PGA Tour player, Wally Armstrong.

The truth is, though it appeared to have been an overnight transformation, the course’s success can be chalked up to dedicated teamwork, every single day. Nick Bland, Head Golf Professional, shares that “One of the things I love about my job is pouring blood and sweat into a property and project and seeing not just the aesthetic results, but also how we’ve had a community-wide impact on re-growing the game of golf in the area.” The Legends has become a truly one of a kind course and Bland continues, “My favorite event highlights are anytime we hold our ‘Masters Experience’ events. No one in the country besides Augusta itself does this.” So what exactly is the “Masters Experience?” PGCC students caddie for tournament players, outfitted in white jumpsuits and green caps after greeting their players in the parking lot and carry their bags to the course. Over the last year this type of extra-mile service has earned the course a loyal following, and that’s one of the most important things to Bland, and everybody on staff.

“We want to strive to become known in the local and surrounding areas to have the best customer service and overall experience. Not only is our golf course improving, we continue to hear great comments from our members and guests that our friendliness and ‘above and beyond’ approach is getting noticed.” Community outreach has been a priority from day-one, Bland continues, “The impact to the community is the biggest and most positive response. Even now, a year into taking over the property, there are still homeowners that stop by the clubhouse to give us their heartfelt ‘thank you’ for improving the golf course, the reputation, and their peace of mind.” Sandi Somerville, Chief Financial Officer and First Lady of Golf at PGCC, agrees “The course is looking great, and our men’s and women’s clubs are growing. We are so grateful for the continued support of our community!”

Beyond the scope of what the course has come to mean to the community, is the role it plays in the education of students at the Professional Golfers Career College. Seniors host open golf lessons every Thursday as a means of giving back, and learning to become better teachers. “Our Thursday Lesson Program is still is a big hit in the area, and we are seeing newcomers every week,” Bland noted, continuing, “engaging students to get first-hand experience in teaching the game of golf is one of the best classes at the golf college.”

Alum Exemplifies True Sportsmanship on World Stage

AJGA One of the most appealing things about the game of golf is the sportsmanship; it’s a gentleman’s game. History has proven this time and again, and while there are individual hiccups here and there, you’ll never find another sport where players call penalties on themselves, in spite of the pleas of rules officials to do the opposite. It is because of this tenet that some of golf’s most notable moments have been recorded.

Take for example, the first round of the 1925 U.S. Open. Bobby Jones’ approach shot to the 11th hole's elevated green fell short into the deep rough of the embankment. As he took his stance to pitch onto the green, the head of his club brushed the grass and caused a slight movement of the ball. He took the shot, and then informed his playing partner Walter Hagen and the USGA official covering their match that he was calling a penalty on himself. Officials argued with Jones but he insisted and took a 77 instead of 76. His choice would cost him the Open. The one-stroke penalty obligated a playoff, which he lost.

How about Ben Hogan? In his first pro golf tournament, the Texas Open of 1930, he quit after making the halfway cut because he decided he wasn't good enough to compete at that level, which is nothing short of respectable. These are moments of true sportsmanship.

In a similar fashion, Maggie Budzar, a 2010 PGCC Orlando graduate, acting as a PGA Transport official at this year’s Ryder Cup, lent a hand to Rory McIlroy, European team player, and world No. 1. McIlroy would have missed his Sunday singles tee time were it not for the assistance of Maggie and another transport official, Erica Stoll. McIlroy’s error was chalked up to confusion over time zones; he had set his watch to the wrong time zone, throwing his timeline off by an hour.

AJGAIn an earlier published interview with The Guardian, Maggie shared her experience, saying “It was 10:30am, I knew [McIlroy's caddie] JP Fitzgerald had left about an hour earlier. I knew Rory's tee time was 11:25 and he was the third group to go off. And we still hadn't seen him.” She continues, "I started getting worried that something had happened to him or that he had taken a different ride to the course. There was only one room still in use when housekeeping checked and a male voice said not to come in. We figured it had to be him because by now we knew he wasn't at the course.”

At that point, Maggie made an executive decision. "I called the guys at the driving range to see if they had seen him. They hadn't so I called the European Tour officials to alert them. At first I was going to drive him to the course because I knew the way and we didn't want to put a volunteer under stress in the courtesy car. I then asked a trooper at the front if he could take him with the flash light on. He said that would be ‘OK’. I gave Rory the choice and he went straight to the front seat of the trooper's car. That was about 10:52."

Ultimately, had he arrived within 5 minutes of his 11:25 tee time, he would have lost the first hole; had he been any later than that, the match would have been forfeited to the United States team. Because the US later lost to Europe you might think that there would be some inner turmoil about the choice to help seal their victory, but there isn’t. That’s what sportsmanship is about; setting an example, and doing the right thing.

Deputy Chief of the Lombard Police Department, Pat Rollins, sped McIlroy on the 12-mile journey from his hotel to the Medinah course, and as thanks, during their celebrations on Sunday evening, Europe's team autographed two Medinah flags for Rollins. In an interview with "BBC Radio 5 - Live” Rollins shared that: "I took it as a job well done. I'm getting ribbed at work for this but in the end I am very proud of our force and our community. We did the right thing and of course I would have done the same for the American team."