By Jessica Spencer

We are one of the only schools that offer it, and several students are taking part in it: professional golf management (PGM). The program began in June 2006 and is only the 18th accredited PGM program in the nation.

Twenty students were participating in the program in its first year at Eastern, said Kim Kincer, director of the PGM program.

Now, with a class of 62, the major has become popular at Eastern.

“This program is the reason I came to EKU,” sophomore Matt Frey said. “Not everyone can have a major like this that they really enjoy.”

Norb Elbert, former chair of the management, marketing and administrative communication department, got the ball rolling when he read an article in The Wall Street Journal in 2001 that reviewed the PGA/PGM programs in the nation.

Because there were no other PGA/PGM programs in this region of the country, and because Eastern is centrally located and already had several elements that would complement the program, the feasibility study showed the university would be a good fit for PGM.

Before the university established the program, students who wanted a profession in golf management had to major in marketing and pursue golf education on their own.

“It’s like a double major,” senior Heather Claytor said.

“People make fun of it, but they don’t realize that it’s really a lot of work.”

Students who graduate from Eastern with a PGM degree receive a bachelor’s of business administration degree with a major in marketing and the PGM option.

Students are required to work 16 months of cooperative education, and they must pass a PGA Playing Ability Test before graduating. They also must attend two national workshops hosted by PGA Career Services.

“The major is a good one and if you love golf this is the major for you.” sophomore Michael Dutro said. “You have to be willing to sacrifice the time because PGM is not an easy major.”

Junior Kyle Steinhauer said this program was the reason he chose Eastern.

“It is really exciting to be the first group to graduate with this degree.” Steinhauer said. “And it’s not all about playing golf. It is actually a lot of work and can be much harder than many other degrees offered.”

But students must meet certain requirements before getting into the program.

They must have a golf handicap of 12 or lower, or they must pass the PGA test prior to their freshman year to satisfy the golf handicap requirement. Students also need a letter of recommendation from their high school golf coach.

“At this point in time, we are on track to have 200 plus students enrolled in our program within six years,” Kincer said.

“We have every intention of this program being a vital part of this campus forever, and we expect to be one of the most sought- after PGA programs in the nation.