Our Students

Preparing for a golf management career through internships, international trips, and student clubs

Matthew Bird is on his way to becoming an expert in golf management through opportunities in the College of Health and Human Development and at Penn State.

A student in the Professional Golf Management (PGM) option of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Matt is passionate about playing golf and helping others improve their game.

As the vice president of the Professional Golf Management Student Society (PGMSS), Matt helps bring in high-profile speakers to speak with other PGM students. This opportunity gives him a chance to network with some of the golf industry’s top corporations, sales representatives, and golf professionals, as well as find out about unique internships. In this role, he also acts as a liaison between the PGM advisory board and the PGMSS.

Like every other PGM student, Matt will complete five internships during his time as a student. Through these internships, Matt says he’s able to “see all aspects of operation” and get a better handle on the behind-the-scenes side of the game. In one of these internships, he took charge of a junior golf program (age 5-11) at Hershey Country Club for eight weeks. He set up activities for the children, including a rules clinic, and received feedback from mentors during the process. “It was challenging until I got to know the children,” he says. In addition to making these connections, Matt learned about how to tailor his teaching strategies to be age appropriate.

Matt also traveled with a group of PGM students to Scotland over spring break on a faculty-chaperoned, educational trip. There, the students learned about the history of golf, met with golf pros at world-renowned courses, and explored the meaning of golf in a different country.

 “It was a really special opportunity to study abroad, because we had the chance to see what golf means to people in a different country,” says Matt. “We were able to see differences in their operations and find aspects to incorporate into our own management styles when we begin our careers.”

A minor in Business is helping Matt prepare for a career in many different aspects of the golf industry. He is learning more about the financial side of golf, from marketing to managing personal finances.

What has made Matt’s experience at Penn State is the faculty. “The faculty are the most amazing people on campus. They’re always willing to stop whatever they are doing and give us their undivided attention, and they’re always happy to make sure that we know what we need to do to graduate.”

With all of the preparation he is receiving, Matt is confident that he will be able to excel in his career after he graduates.

Matt graduated during the 2009-10 academic year. Learn more about current students in the College of Health and Human Development.