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Preparing for a career in golf operations

Marcie Whiston is getting ready for a career 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 the Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management degree program, Marcie is passionate about golf. She began playing when she was 16, and she quickly fell in love with it. “I knew right away that I wanted to focus my career on golf,” she says.

At Penn State, she is getting valuable preparation to achieve her career goals. She is assistant tournament director for the Professional Golf Management Student Society (PGMSS), a student club for PGM students. In this role, she helps plan between ten and twelve tournaments each year at the Penn State Golf Courses. She gets her hands on many aspects of the planning process, from soliciting students to planning score sheets and score cards to working with event coordinators and the golf professionals at Penn State. She’s able to further test her knowledge of planning tournaments through internships and her required courses.

In one of her required RPTM courses, Marcie was able to further test her event planning skills. In the course, students plan an event for a local organization, and Marcie and her group decided to plan a golf tournament. Although she had experience with planning events, she gained exposure in this class to different aspects of hosting the event, such as risk management—having a back-up plan in case anything goes wrong.

“It was nice to do everything on our own,” she says. “It really shows you how much an event costs, not just financially, but in terms of how many hours you put in.” Whiston and her group put nearly 200 hours into planning the event in the weeks leading up to the event.

Marcie wants to be a tournament director in a resort setting after she graduates. She has been able to prepare for this leadership role by helping to coordinate a trip for seventy-five PGM students to see the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida.

Marcie finds a great deal of satisfaction in getting to know her PGM classmates, who she says are like a family to her now. She is also taking advantage of the numerous networking opportunities available to her, and she connects with alumni who are leaders in the golf industry. She knows that the activities she’s involved in are giving her a foundation of experience that will help her begin a long career in golf management.