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Holland College grads and interns hone their skills at Big Sky

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Imagine enrolling in a golf program in Prince Edward Island and three years later finding yourself standing on top of the world…or at least, standing on top of Mount Currie (alt. 8,000 ft.) teeing up to hit the longest drive of your life at Big Sky Golf and Country Club’s breathtakingly beautiful 19th Hole.

For almost a dozen students and graduates of Holland College’s Golf Club Management and Professional Golf Management programs, it’s no fantasy; it’s just the way they roll. They think it’s the ideal place to start their golfing careers and hone the skills and theory they learned at Holland College.

Woody Bishop, Golf Operations Manager and Golf Professional at Big Sky, graduated from Holland College in 2008. He says that his training prepared him well for the golf business.

“I would have to say that over 90 per cent of my daily duties would be related to the Golf curriculum at Holland College. Things such as inventory ordering, open to buy plan, merchandising, controlling inventory levels, financial statements, creating flow plans and budgets, sales projections, record keeping, staff training, customer service training, Jencess training, lesson plans, junior programs and the daily operations of the golf course are all part of my job description that would be definitely all related to courses I took at Holland College.”

Corry Butler, Woody Bishop’s classmate, agrees.

“The three years in the golf program really prepared me to be a well-rounded employee and a jack of all trades when it comes to day to day golf operations.”

Located in Pemberton, British Columbia, Big Sky is the kind of golf course that golf writers love to review. It’s been named One of Canada’s prestigious top twenty golf courses and Top 10 Places to Play in Canada by Golf Digest Magazine and one of the Top 100 Courses In Canada by Score Magazine. Last year alone, Big Sky received ranking in Rolex’s Top 1000 Golf Courses in the World and in the Top 36 Courses in Canada. For Patrick Boles, an intern who will be returning to Holland College to complete the second year of the Golf Club Management program, this is the kind of OJT students dream about.

“To be the best, you need to learn from the best,” he explains. “Holland College and Big Sky gave me that opportunity. Working at Big Sky is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Only a few women enrol for the college’s golf programs, although Program Coordinator Paul Murnaghan hopes that more will in the future. For women considering a career in the golf business, Murnaghan points to Professional Golf Management 2010 graduate Jess Norris, as an example. Norris, who also works at Big Sky, is thrilled with the training she received.

“I never imagined being so successful in the golf business,” she says. “I have Holland College and Big Sky to thank for that. Holland College laid the foundation and gave me the tools to be successful while Big Sky taught me to implement them and is helping me build my career in the golf industry.”

One wonders why so many of Holland College’s golf programs end up at the same place, so far from Prince Edward Island. The answer’s simple, according to Chris Wallace, General Manager of Big Sky.

“Holland College students have helped set our standards above and beyond in the golf business in western Canada. The students arrive well prepared to handle all the challenges that the golf business presents,” he says.

For more information about Holland College’s golf programs, contact Paul Murnaghan, Golf Program Coordinator, by e-mail at Holland College grads and interns hone their skills at Big Sky or by calling (902) 894-6823, or visit hollandcollege.com. For more information about Big Sky, visit bigskygolf.com.

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Written by Sara Underwood

June 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

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