PGCC Is Gateway to Bachelor's Degree

PGCCThe Professional Golfers Career College is thrilled to join the University of Wisconsin-Stout in offering graduates a unique chance to further advance their golf education. Through this partnership, golf college graduates have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Golf Enterprise Management, through UW-Stout’s online GEM program.

So why was PGCC selected to partner with UW stout in offering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? The answer is simple, GEM Program Director, Kris Schoonover, notes that PGCC offers “excellent facilities with a very professional approach by faculty, staff, and students in an applied learning environment.” She continues, “The faculty and staff associated with PGCC, working professionals attached to the golf industry, provide excellent understanding of the challenges and rewards of the golf industry.” President and founder of PGCC, Dr. Tim Somerville shares in Schoonover’s excitement, “This is such a tremendous opportunity for our students. Because of this program they’re able to continue working, developing their career, and earn a Bachelor’s degree at the same time. It’s a win-win.”

Students can experience the program in two different spheres; on campus, which features a more traditional campus experience, or online. Those who choose to pursue their degree online can participate at the pace and schedule which best suits them, leaving room for work, family and other responsibilities. Distance learning also offers the chance to interact with classmates and faculty that span the globe, and bring along their unique backgrounds and experiences. All GEM students receive professional instruction from UW-Stout faculty, and financial assistance is available, including dedicated GEM scholarships.

Schoonover maintains, “The intention of the degree program is to provide skilled management leaders for golf businesses, in particular, management leaders for golf course facilities.” She also shares that “this four-year degree program was developed in close consultation with key leaders throughout the golf industry, to include representatives from the PGA, LPGA, GCSAA, and most importantly our own National Golf Course Owner’s Association.” It is worth mentioning that the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse the development of this degree since its inception in 2005.

Schoonover’s vision and goals are clear, “The mission of the program is to provide students with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary education with emphases on business, marketing, customer service, food, beverage, and retail management, in addition to content specific to the management of golf facilities such as turf management and golf operations.” And has that mission been accomplished? In a word...absolutely.

The GEM program has been the fastest growing program in the history of the university, enrollment in the program quickly grew to about 200 students. To date, 74 students have graduated with the GEM degree, and 96% of those graduates are employed. PGCC has exceptional credit transferability; over 60 of our 72 credits are transferable. At the end of the program, students will receive a University of Wisconsin - Stout degree, and be further along on their quest to be a future leader in the world of golf.

Grad Recalls CPT As Important Step

Bryan Pirruccello When Bryan Pirruccello, a recent Professional Golfers Career College graduate, was approached by Randy Shannon, PGCC Temecula’s Director of Placement and Golf, about attending a press conference for the 18th annual State Farm Collegiate Players Tour, he happily agreed. “It was simple. Randy knew George Fisher, the man who was running the tournament, and asked me if I wanted to.” And just like that he was on his way to Empire Lakes Golf Course, where the tour would be making its California debut, to play a free round of golf with a slew of State Farm agents following the press conference.

“After learning about all of the details of the tournament, I thought it was a great deal and a chance to gain some experience.” he notes, quite simply, “I paid the entrance fee, and I was then registered to play.”

The cornerstone of the State Farm Collegiate Players Tournament mission statement is centered on providing enthusiastic support, and a venue, for young golfers to refine their competitive skill. It is designed to provide affordable, convenient, and above all, fun, summer golf competition for the college-aged men and women who participate. Collegiate Players TournamentThe focus is on summertime play because when spring dies down, and summer heat begins to punish golfers, it is easy to want to stay off the course and out of the sun. It also happens that in these moments it is more important than ever to stay focused and keep progressing.

Bryan recalls that participating in that competition further fueled his passion to play professionally. After the SF Collegiate Players Tour, he tried qualifying for the US Amateur at Big Canyon Country Club, in Newport Beach. “It was my first time playing the course and it was very difficult.” Difficult or not, he shows no signs of slowing, “I usually play in about 4 tournaments a year. The tournaments I play in are all qualifying tournaments for amateur events.”

Like every great player, he looks to the future with a guideline in mind. “My future plan as a player is to keep playing tournament golf and hopefully qualify for the US Amateur.” He also wants to play collegiate golf for Cal State Fullerton, where he is slated to graduate in 2014. With a fledgling amateur career developing, he understands that every shot works requires physical skill and acuity of vision, the latter of which can be the most difficult of all skills to master.

Empire Lakes Golf CourseAt the CPT his first two rounds were a little rough and, speaking to the importance of refining his mental game, he recalls a vivid memory. “Barry Rodenhaver, the Executive Director of the Collegiate Players Tour, made a bet with me right before the round. He wanted me to bet on myself, that I would shoot better than a 75.”

And what happened?

“I went out and shot a 72 to qualify for his national championship, held in Texas.”

Dennis Walters at The Legends Golf Club

Dennis Walters' Lessons on Golf and Life

The Dennis Walters Golf Show strikes an inspiring balance, with equal parts spectacle and sincere outreach Dennis uses his strength of character, forged in the wake of a fluke accident to drive home the importance of never giving up on your dreams. Your life’s purpose can sometimes have a funny way of finding you, in 1974, shortly after turning pro, Dennis was in a golf cart accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, which is why he is performs all of his shows, and executes each of his trademark shots, perched alongside his specially outfitted golf cart.

Dennis visited the Professional Golfers Career College to spend some time talking with students about the obstacles he’s overcome and how they can do the same with any challenge that arises in their path. The product of many years of tireless practice Dennis has mastered how to hit golf balls using everything from a radiator hose to a cell phone, but more importantly he’s mastered how to overcome mental obstacles.

After a Q&A with the student body the presentation was taken to the Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills, for the trick-shot show that has become his trademark. Once on the course Walters can fully display the customized golf cart with a swivel seat that allows him to create a natural looking and feeling swing. On a sunny southern California afternoon students sat out and enjoyed the show, and Walters’ sidekick, Bucky, a dog that knows golf trivia!

At the end of the day perhaps the biggest lesson gleaned from his presentation is that with focus and dedication, nothing can keep you from achieving your dreams, and accomplishing what you set out for yourself.