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Posts Tagged ‘golf management program

Golf Club Management student takes an entrepreneurial leap

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Gareth Lewis Just Swing

Gareth Lewis, wearing some of his Just Swing golf attire.

Golf Club Management student Gareth Lewis knew that he wanted to run his own business eventually, but a family tragedy changed his timeline drastically. Last year, his first at Holland College, the 18-year-old’s world was thrown into turmoil when his father died suddenly of a massive heart attack. That, for the young man from Saint John, New Brunswick, brought everything sharply into focus.

“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but when my father died, I realized that you should live while you can. I decided not to waste any more time,” he said in a recent interview. “I’d been developing the Just Swing Golf business plan for a couple of years, so I started my own company.”

In September of last year, as he prepared to return to Charlottetown to begin his second year in the Golf Club Management program, Gareth drew upon the money he had saved over the summer and began to develop a line of golf clothing.

It seems as though things fell into place for him quickly. He was awarded a Donald E.M. Glendenning Scholarship by the Holland College Foundation this year. The scholarship is awarded based on a student’s abilities in the areas of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, and presentation skills, and provided seed funding for his business.

His vision for his company is simple.

“A lot of the big name brand golf shirts are loose fitting. My friends and I wanted something more tailored, that would look good both on and off the golf course,” he said. “I want to provide functional, stylish, reasonably priced clothing.”

Working with a designer and manufacturer, and drawing upon the knowledge he had acquired in his first year of business courses in the Golf Club Management program, Gareth prepared to roll out his product line. He has just received his second order of products, which are sold on his web site, and hopefully in pro shops around the region.

The products have developed an impressive following so far. Golf pros Brett Wilson and Eric Locke and provincial amateur champion Justin Shanks are all wearing them; and so are Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and Zack Phillips of the AHL Chicago Wolves.

This summer, Gareth will be an assistant pro at Riverside Country Club in Rothesay, New Brunswick, which is also going to carry his clothing line in the pro shop, giving him the perfect opportunity to receive feedback directly from his prospective customers.

In the fall, he’ll return to Holland College to take the one-year Professional Golf Management program, which focuses on developing students’ playing ability, honing their coaching skills, and providing them with the skills needed to perform the duties of a golf pro. It’s the first step on a path that will lead to membership in the Professional Golf Association of Canada, the national body that has gained international recognition for the rigour and quality of its training program.

Jeff Donovan, Holland College golf instructor and Class A professional with the association, says the Professional Golf Management program fulfills key criteria in the path to membership in the PGA of Canada.

“To become a member, applicants must have completed a three-year golf program. Our students complete the two-year Golf Club Management program, and then have the option of returning for the one-year Professional Golf Management program in order to fulfill that requirement,” he said.

When he graduates from the Professional Golf Management program next spring, Gareth intends to focus on becoming a member of the PGA of Canada, continuing to develop his product line, and launching a fundraising golf tournament in honour of his late father.


Written by Sara Underwood

April 27, 2016 at 8:25 am

Eric Young’s Irish Adventure

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Hands-on learning is an important component of all Holland College programs. By combining their classroom learning with skills development, students are able to enter the workforce prepared for the challenges of the job, making them much more attractive to employers than job applicants who have little or no practical experience.

For Eric Young, spending the summer between his first and second year of the Golf Management program on the job was more than a matter of course, it was a chance to travel and, as it turned out, to meet celebrities!

Eric is working at Old Head Golf Links, in Kinsale, Ireland, ranked The Most Spectacular Golf Course by Links magazine.

“I have wanted to visit Europe ever since I can remember,” he said. “On the first day of class, Paul Murnaghan [manager of Golf programs at Holland College] showed us pictures of past students on their internships all over the world. Old Head was one of the locations.

“Golf is a sport that is played pretty much all over the world, and I love to travel. Since I want to get as much experience out of this program as possible, I figured that starting my career in golf at such a world class course would open up great opportunities after I graduate.”

Sometimes, it’s not traveling that’s daunting; it’s making all of the necessary arrangements. Eric said Holland College helped with that.

“If it weren’t for the efforts of Susan Shaw, our college’s internship officer, I don’t think any of this could have happened for me,” he said.

The director of golf at Old Head, Danny Brassil, arranged Eric’s accommodations for him prior to his arrival. He’s staying in the home of the golf course’s accountant.

As a staff member in the Golf Services department, Eric’s duties vary from day to day. He could be working as a starter, a marshal, on range set up, greeting and checking golfers in as they arrive, assisting the director of golf tournaments, or on a variety of other tasks.

“On my days off, I also caddie, which is a great experience and an opportunity to meet people. I am glad Danny Brassil has me moving around all the various departments of the course, as it gives me a chance to learn about all the work that goes into running a golf club from day to day.

“The skills I learned from the Golf Management Program helped me a lot working here at Old Head. Having this internship program between the first and second year gives me a great opportunity to build on the skills I learned this past year in school. Learning the different methods they use to operate golf courses in Europe is knowledge I’ll be able to apply wherever I work.

“The game of golf over here in Ireland is much more difficult. With wind basically every day, and rain and fog most days of the week, there’s not much forgiveness on the golf course! Our caddies tell our North American customers, ‘You’ll add 5 or 6 strokes to your handicap when you play the Old Head’.”

Speaking of North American visitors, Eric met a couple of them recently: former president Bill Clinton and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger.

“The day Bill Clinton played Old Head I was assigned to drive around in a cart in front of the Clinton group with the head of Mr. Clinton’s secret service and his head of staff. When Mr. Clinton finished 18 and was heading back to his vehicle, they gave me the opportunity to meet with the former president before he left. I owe all of this to Jim O’Brien our course’s general manager. If he hadn’t assigned me to accompany Mr. Clinton’s staff, I don’t think this could have been possible.

“As for ‘Big Ben’, I was on the opening shift the following morning, and saw the last name ‘Roethlisberger’ on the tee time sheet. I thought it would be something if it really was the Steelers quarterback. Then the rain started, and I forgot all about it. About an hour before the tee time I was standing off to the side at the desk in the pro-shop and in walks the 6’5”, 240-lb Roethlisberger. I don’t think it hit me about who I met until I got home from work, because I was still shell-shocked from meeting Bill Clinton the day before!

“I would easily give my experience here at Old Head 10 out of 10. Having such great co-workers and friends to work with everyday makes going to work a great experience.”

Eric’s still got several weeks left of his internship before he returns to Prince Edward Island to complete the second year of his course. There’s no doubt that by the time he gets back, he’ll have some great stories to tell his classmates.

Written by Sara Underwood

July 12, 2012 at 10:37 am