PGCC and UW Stout Partnership Still Growing Strong

When Dr. Tim Somerville launched the Professional Golfers Career College he had several ingredients in mind. Basically,"Doc", as he is affectionately called, wanted to build a school where students of all ages and backgrounds could earn an associate degree in Professional Golf Management, learn the games’ important fundamentals, and all the while, let golfers play the game.

“Golf is a lifetime passion, and in some cases an escape from the world, “ Doc says. “The positive experience one gains from golf can be based on many things like how a course is managed, operated and maintained.”

“As we were constructing our three campuses in Temecula (California), Hilton Head (South Carolina), and Orlando (Florida) and fine tuning our two year associate degree I realized that in time we would need to find a partner so students and families could explore a four-year golf management degree. We needed an educational relationship.”

Enter the University of Wisconsin Stout, and Kris Schoonover.

In 2005 the School of Hospitality Leadership in Menomonie, Wisconsin introduced a golf management curriculum at the request of golf industry leaders and The National Golf Course Owners Association and the board of the NGCOA unanimously endorsed the Golf Enterprise Management degree. The program needed a director and someone who could implement the vision of UW-Stout. That director is Kris Schoonover.

Kris has spent a lifetime in the world of golf as a player, coach, and consultant. When she finds time to break away from the rigors of directing an educational golf program she spends many hours on the administrative staff of Erin Hills, a southeastern Wisconsin facility that hosted the 2011 United States Amateur and is poised to be the stage for the U.S. Open in 2017.

Somerville and Schoonover began talking about a partnership in 2007 and in 2008 it became a reality. The University of Wisconsin Stout welcomed PGCC as a full- fledged educational associate and it enabled PGCC students to further their golf education, transfer credits, and work towards a four-year college degree in golf management.

“We were so supportive of this proposal,” explains Schoonover. “PGCC offers a terrific faculty and staff and first rate facilities at all three of their campuses. Because their curriculum was so conducive to success in the golf industry, and the challenges that are ahead for us, this proved to be a total fit for both of our institutions.”

UW-Stout formatted its golf curriculum to enhance the PGCC experience. Credits from a student’s 16-month program at PGCC transfers to UW-Stout and enable a student to earn a Bachelor Degree in Golf Enterprise Management. Following the completion of the PGCC Professional Golf Management program, students can begin their golf career and take the UW-Stout classes online, advancing their career while continuing to work.

“It makes for terrific educational flexibility,” Schoonover says. “After taking the classes at PGCC and jumping into the golf industry, we enable students to earn and learn with online study.” UW-Stout offers extensive study in human resource management, country club management, retailing and merchandising products, and member services and development, just to name a few. Mike Hughes, Executive Director and CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association, endorsed the PGCC UW-Stout relationship and agreed it is the perfect match.

Hughes shared, “Because of the hospitality programs, the excellent customer service offerings and the emphasis on applied learning this is a very beneficial association.”