Dec. 14, 2001 by Jack King NMSU News Center
The Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) has recertified New Mexico State University’s Professional Golf Management program following a regular four-year review, said program director Pat Gavin.
A three-member PGA evaluation committee said the program shows a strong commitment to excellence by Gavin and College of Business Dean Danny Arnold, said PGA Chief Executive Officer Jim L. Awtrey.
Gavin said the committee found New Mexico State in compliance on most issues, but recommended that the program revise its policy and procedures manual to ensure students know certain program requirements beforehand. It also encouraged New Mexico State to proceed with its plan to hire a full-time assistant director for the program beginning in 2002, he said.
Gavin said the committee also encouraged the development of a club repair room, where students could learn club repair and attend club fitting seminars. A club repair room will open in Guthrie Annex in January 2002. The program’s faculty hopes to build a larger repair room later in the year and is looking for a suitable location, he said.
Created in 1987, the Professional Golf Management program is the third oldest such program in the United States. The program aims to provide the academic and practical preparation for a career in the golf industry.
Gavin said students in the PGM program complete approximately 130 credits, including 54 credits in general education, 32 credits in basic business administration, 27 credits in marketing and 17 credits in technical courses such as landscape design, turf management, anatomy, golf kinesiology and food service organization and management. Students also complete 16 months in cooperative programs, working at PGA courses around the country, he added.
The program has about 400 alumni working in courses all over the world, Gavin said. Among these are Tony Meeshai, director of a Jack Niclaus-designed course in Thailand and considered to be the top golf instructor in that country, and Chris Childers, who oversees the PGA’s junior tournaments nationwide. Childers hires three New Mexico State students every year to help in those events, he said.
“Word of mouth about our program is very strong,” Gavin said. “Anywhere you go in the country, if you go to a golf course, you’ll find NMSU’s program is considered tops.”
Shawn Gifford, a senior in the program and president of the Professional Golf Management Association on the New Mexico State campus, said the program’s high standards and a sense of camaraderie are key.
Noting that Gavin holds regular tournaments among the students to hone their playing skills to a competitive level, he said, “You have to shoot under par to win, which is a higher caliber of play than in tournaments at some other schools. Since Pat Gavin has directed the program it has done nothing but improve. You feel like he’s the kind of teacher that you could call him 20 or 30 years down the line and he’d be available to help you.”