January 10, 2003
Micah Vugrinec knows exactly what he wants to do when he finishes college. His choice of academic program after he graduates from Cape Henlopen High School this June is aimed directly at that goal.
The Cape senior, a member of his school’s varsity golf squad, recently learned of his acceptance into the selective Professional Golf Management (PGM) Program at Methodist College, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Upon the successful completion of the five-year process, Vugrinec will qualify for his dream job as a PGA professional.
“I’m really excited about this,” Vugrinec said in a recent interview.
The process started with a campus visit this past spring. “Brad Schneider and I went south during spring break and toured three of the schools that offer the PGM program—Coastal Carolina, in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina State, and Methodist. I liked the program they offered at Methodist, and I was also more comfortable going to a school where the total enrollment is not as big. Methodist has about 2000 kids total for the whole college.”
The admission requirements for Methodist College’s PGM program are quite a bit different than most colleges insist upon. The standards reflect a search for kids who are truly committed to working in a golf environment.
For example, the applicants are ranked for admission to the limited number of spots available based on SAT scores, grade point average, and golf handicap. Vugrinec met the minimum USGA handicap requirement of 8 or less, and said he had good grades and decent SATs.
In addition, Vugrinec needed a letter of recommendation, which he received from Shawnee Country Club golf professional Devon Peterson. “He was a great help to me,” Vugrinec noted. The Vugrinec family are members at Shawnee, and Micah says his scores on the Milford course tend to range from the “mid to high 70s, and every now and then in the low 80s.”
The admission process also included an interview at the school, which Vugrinec held with Methodist’s PGM Recruiting Director Dave Durham.
Successful completion of the program earns the students a bachelors degree in business administration, but major elements of the process also touch upon golf during each semester of the four-year academic calendar.
For example, the freshman year courses include classes in golf car fleet management, customer relations, tournament operations, and club fitting. Sophomore year PGM classes continue work on the rules of golf, business planning, and accounting basics.
During junior year, Vugrinec and his classmates will take additional classes in turfgrass management and swing concepts. Senior year completes further training in food and beverage control, merchandising and handling inventory, and supervising and delegating employees.
In addition, the PGM program also requires a minimum of four separate internships totaling 16 months in duration, at a variety of different types of golf courses. These internships continue the training, while also meeting the experience requirements for certification as a PGA professional.
After each of the first three years of classes, the program participants work three-month stints at private and public courses. Resort courses count toward the public course requirement. In addition, the program forces the students to work in different locations rather than stay in one place.
After the fourth year of coursework, the students must then complete a seven-month internship. All of the assignments must be approved by the school, which takes advantage of its close proximity to Pinehurst and Southern Pines. Vugrinec said, “A lot of the interns work at the Pinehurst area courses, but they can work other places, too.”
There will be plenty of golf competition opportunities during Vugrinec’s time at Methodist. The PGM program includes a total of 46 different tournaments throughout the academic year for its participants, in both men’s and women’s divisions. In addition, Methodist College fields its own NCAA Division III golf teams, and PGM students can play their way onto the squad.
The PGM program looks like a great way to develop well-trained PGA professionals. It’s nice to see a Cape Region junior golfer take this step toward a potentially rewarding career in the sport.