Beyond the Green shares golf industry opportunities with various student-athletes in Alabama for the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship

The day before the 2023 PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, presented by Chase Sapphire, began in Birmingham, collegiate golfers from historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic institutions and other minority-serving institutions from around the country prepared not only for the championship, but for it her career at PGA WORKS Beyond the Green at the city’s Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Held at various PGA of America championships, Beyond the Green, a career exploration event, invites local high school and college students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to explore the opportunities open to them in the $102 billion golf industry are available, and hear about the opportunity from local business leaders.

“The fact is, the PGA of America loves the game of golf,” PGA Vice President Don Rea said Sunday in his welcoming message to the students in attendance. “The truth is, we want to share it with everyone.”

Mackenzie Mack with the Callaway Golf Company at the Beyond the Green event in Birmingham. (PGA of America)

A networking and career-focused event like Beyond the Green aligns well with any championship, but is particularly poignant at the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, as collegiate athletes will soon join the workforce.

Beyond the Fairway podcast hosts Will Lowry and Doug Smith moderated the event and sat down with golf industry experts and local community leaders to offer panel discussions to help participating students reflect on their future careers.

They started with PGA and LPGA member Mackenzie Mack of Callaway Golf Company, Andrea Lattimore of Acushnet and Kendall Murphy of Troon – all directors of diversity, equity and inclusion for their respective companies.

“You belong in our company,” Mack told the students during the From Whisper to Roar panel. “Whatever you want out of your career, there’s a place for you. We need to hear your voice in these boardrooms and organizations.”

The Get on Par panel focused on understanding the vastness of the golf industry and included PGA Career Services Senior Director Scott Kmiec, Titleist Player Development Representative Jasmine Cunningham and PGA Recruiting and Member Engagement Specialist Dylan Gladney.

Doug Smith, Will Lowery, Kendall Murphy, Scott Kmiec, Jasmine Cunningham and Dylan Gladney during the Get on Par presentation at the PGA WORKS Beyond the Green event in Birmingham. (PGA of America)

Tyler Thomas, a freshman at Winston-Salem State University, already has plans to become a PGA member and after listening to the panels feels even more motivated to keep going.

“I learned that in this game it’s important to take initiative because sometimes there are doors that you don’t know are open,” said Thomas. “The most important thing I took away from Beyond the Green is knowing that there is a community out there that has open arms and welcomes me to work in this space.”

Utah Valley University senior Kai Iguchi just received a degree in finance, but the golf industry caught his eye.

“Beyond the Green was great, there are a lot of employers here that we can meet,” said Iguchi. “It was a great resource for learning about a variety of golf employment opportunities. Many of us would love to play professionally, but realistically not everyone. There is a lot of fulfillment in working in the golf industry.”

Finally, a panel entitled “New Birmingham” included local leaders including Bobbie Knight, President of Miles College, Deon Gordon, President and CEO of TechBirmingham, Isaac Cooper, Founder of IMC Financial Consulting, Rashada LeRoy, CEO of LRY Media Group, and Ralph Williams, director of community engagement for Alabama Power’s Birmingham Division, spoke to students about becoming transformation leaders and how they’ve seen the city grow and evolve.

Beyond the Green was sponsored by Alabama Power and CastleOak Securities. The 2023 PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship at Shoal Creek Golf Club and Bent Brook Golf Course ends May 10 and will be streamed live on and the Golf Channel from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Central Time.

Information for this story was provided by PGA of America.


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