Grad Plays The Ball As It Lies; In Golf and LifeTo exemplify something, you must fully inhabit it, know it inside and out. Not everybody can do this, which is why it is all the more noteworthy when someone sets a truly great example. Lisa Noble, a PGCC Orlando alumnus is well on her way.
“I discovered a love for the game as I began to learn the game. As I began to spend time working on my game, it was equal to spending time with myself & learning who I am” she continues, “It also shows me how it equates to life. Like every round of golf, everyday of your life will not be the same.”
While the game of golf does offer us a mulligan, life isn’t always so willing to oblige. Sometimes you’ve got to keep the ball rolling. Over Lisa’s tenure at PGCC Orlando she made it a point to keep that ball rolling no matter what. “I always had a love for golf & always sought avenues to continue my learning experience." This is what brought her to PGCC, however, finding her way here was one thing; getting to school was an entirely different animal. Complications resulting from a car accident, including car trouble and rehabilitation, placed a strain on Noble, who was already busy being a single mother to two young boys; but that stumbling block merely became an opportunity for her to offer up a different perspective.
”It was a 2.5 hour commute” she recalls, “I looked forward to the drive because I was finally on a career path that I loved!” she continues “8 - 12 was a very sacred time of imparting golf knowledge & exchanging information” she concludes that “It was the time of my life because golf is the love of my life!”
Her love of golf, the result of groundbreaking participation in her college’s golf team, ran deep and was clearly a guiding force in her life. “Playing on a high school team was not afforded to me because women playing on golf teams did not exist in the area where I lived. I had the opportunity to be the first female on the "first" Pitt Community College Bulldog's Golf Team. It was a men’s team, of course, but because there were no women’s teams, I was granted full play and practice privileges.”
No matter how much things change, it can still be a difficult adjustment to be a woman in a male dominated sport, but Noble used golf as a means of connecting to other golfers, because that’s her bottom line, and this is no understatement; PGCC provided a platform for her to learn and grow.
“The greatest lesson I learned at PGCC is that I really love golf! Despite the many obstacles during the 16 months, I realized my life was like a round of golf and I just learned to play the ball as it lies. My dedication, drive and passion help me to see obstacles as opportunities. I could not have completed those 16 months if I did not have that love! The love is what continues to make the difference.”
Noble’s experience cannot be summed up in a single word, but her enthusiasm for golf certainly can be; it is nothing short of...effervescent. She's currently dedicating her time to expanding her breadth of experience as a volunteer at Lauden Golf of Ponte Vedra Beach and she’s still got her eye on the future. “I've been building my career for years, so it is shaping up nicely. However, I'm still awaiting my dream job.”
So, what is that dream exactly? “My dream job would be to become a professional golfer and be a touring pro on the LPGA. Someone once said that I was not to have an amateur career on my resume because I was always meant to play as a professional. I thought that was the one of the kindest and highest compliments ever.”
She may play it cool, but Noble isn’t short on fans, she’s got at least two at home. “As a single mom, my kids attended my first day of orientation” continuing, “as we sat in orientation they drew pictures of the PGCC seal, I have them to this day because I want to frame them. Just when you think kids are not listening, our director asked the question "Who thinks they're the best golfer?" My boys looked at me and said, “You are mommy, you're the best golfer!"
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.”
PGCC Alum Builds App, Scores Jim Furyk EndorsementAt PGCC we educate the future leaders in the world of golf; it is our motto and our purpose. Technology is the future; that’s not an arguable opinion anymore. That is a fact.
Technology revolutionizes every sphere of our life that it touches, and golf is, a major part of our lives. When televisions found their way into our homes we were suddenly able to watch our favorite golfers and root for them as if we were in the gallery at The Masters tournament; with the advent of the internet we were able to go to a website and see every hole at every course, and check weather conditions to see how the greens were going to play that day; now that the internet has gone mobile, the next wave of technology will teach us how to manage and track our game while we’re on the move by using a leaderboard that we keep in our pocket.
Ryan Ripa graduated from PGCC Hilton Head in December of 2010, which means that in less than two years he went from student to co-founder of GTG Golf, a leading web based event management and real-time scoring system designed for the everyman; in other words, it is designed for you and me…and Jim Furyk. The 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year recently threw his support behind Ryan and GTG Golf by endorsing their leaderboard app; according to Jim “Leaderboard standings factor into just about every shot I take in a tournament. If you’re serious about your game; GTG Golf is the app for you.”
So what exactly does the app do and how does it work? According to Ripa, “A golfer logs on to gtggolf.com and signs in, from here they select where and when they are playing. Next they invite golfers, select their format, put them into teams and pairings and away they go.” These few easy steps remove a lot of the footwork from accurately tracking your game. Ripa continues “There is no limit to how many golfers are playing or how many phones can be connected. “It’s not just the golfers that get to participate” Ripa excitedly explains. “What’s cool is that you can see a real time leaderboard on your phone of every game format. Also, spectators, aka friends and families, can see a leaderboard from a PC on a Master's Style leaderboard. Spectators can also enter the unique event code from their mobile home screen and follow right from their Smartphone.”
The element of spectator involvement is, without question, a major perk for families who, while they wish to be supportive of their golfer, may not share their same passion for being on the course all day long. That faint sound you hear just might be the clinking of glasses from toasts in their honor. So how did GTG Golf get here? Good old-fashioned hard work. Ryan co-founded the company with a close friend and 3 other partners and after raising capital they built an “alpha version”, and then went back and raised even more money to build their current product.
“As a start-up company, we pretty much handle the tasks of 20 individuals.” Ripa’s responsibilities are centered on marketing, sales, and investments, as well daily activities such social media and business development with their strategic partners. He also handles customer inquiries and works with developers to lay out the product roadmap. Wearing all of those hats can mean only one thing. Ryan and the guys at GTG Golf love what they do. “I love that I am working on something very cool that has the potential to be very BIG.” Ripa says after enumerating a number of other things he loves about his job, and the list is not brief. “I love that I am a co-founder, and get to work with a technology that is so cutting edge. I have been able to play golf on some of the nicest golf courses just through people I have met. We have Jim Furyk endorsing the product, which means a lot to us."
If you think you may have heard of GTG Golf already, perhaps that's because they've also been featured in Golf Magazine, US Airways as well as the Peter Kessler Show on XM PGATOUR Radio. Ryan’s success in the golf industry is sending a message to other golfers, fellow PGCC graduates and current students; You can turn your passion into a profession.
Every success story begins somewhere, his began early in life and, unsurprisingly, on a golf course. “Golf was introduced to both my brother and myself at a young age. Every summer there was a 12-hole par 37 executive course where we would go when on vacation. I lost touch with the game as I pursued and played baseball which was in the same season as golf. Once in college I picked the game back up as my brother Chris, who was an avid golfers and a strong 4 year varsity high school golfer, started competing.”
Once he picked it up again, there was no looking back. “I started playing avidly about 6 years ago. I worked at Colleton River in Bluffton, SC during my time at PGCC. After my time at PGCC I went on and spent a season with the NJSGA (New Jersey State Golf Association) as a USGA intern. I learned the ins and outs of tournament set up as well as handicapping and how the governing bodies of Golf work.” Ripa continues “I wanted to attend PGCC to learn as much about the game while providing exposure to all the great opportunities that were made available.”
“PGCC gave me the ability to put myself in the right situations. I learned a lot about not only game of golf but about how the industry works.” Ryan took to heart some lessons handed down by PGCC Hilton Head faculty member Jim Hoff, “He tells you how it is. He taught you how to use minimum resources and make a course money earning machine. That's kind of how students are. You have a limited time to gather as much knowledge on every aspect of the game, refine yourself and ultimately put yourself in a position to become a money earning machine.
It looks like he certainly took that last lesson to heart, as evidenced by his last word about the business of golf. “Golf is a roughly a $70billion industry and it is only going to get bigger with more people learning the game.”
GTG Golf offers a Free Red Tee Membership, as well as monthly subscriptions to a White Tee, Blue Tee and Gold Tee.