One of the greatest aspects of golf is the myriad of opportunities the sport, whether you play it or not, presents people all over the world. From playing to traveling from friendships to careers, golf is an game that can impact so many in different ways. The career aspect this upcoming holiday season is what has many of us so thankful. There are so many career opportunities in golf, many of which don’t even require picking up a club!
On this Thanksgiving, here are people from all over the world, who work in many different aspects of golf and golf-related hospitality that share why are thankful for the game that has helped them carve out a career, create lasting memories with friends and family and much more!
Director of Golf, Velaa Private Island, Maldives
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – The raw genuine aspect golf brings along with its flexibility. Genuine in that with so many variables it is always a fresh challenge to maintain or develop your level of play. Flexible in that you can make golf however you wish it to be. Golf can be a personal endeavor you absorb yourself in or equally a social one sharing rounds and on course experiences with fellow players. You can have sound technique or a unique swing, you find your way of doing it. The only limitations are the ones you put on yourself.
The role golf as played in your life – I have always been physically active with golf being a pleasure and a sport at the same time. The challenge is never stale. Golf has also given me my ‘career’ and while there are moments when looking after a golf operation can be very full on I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to say there aren’t many days where I feel I have really worked in my life. The good days are simply great while the full on days are taking place at a well-manicured course with a team all pulling to give a great guest experience to people playing during their leisure time. I count myself very lucky.
Assistant Golf Professional, BallenIsles Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – Being a people person, I’m most thankful for the thousands of people that I have met through golf.
The role golf as played in your life – I love to serve and what better way to do it around the game of golf. To be able to work in an industry that allows me to utilize my skill set in a positive environment is a dream come true.
Tournament Coordinator, Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa Valley, CA
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – I am thankful for the game of golf for giving me so many great opportunities.
The role golf as played in your life – Without golf I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have a career because of golf. I have my friends because of golf. I have learned patience, honesty, being respectful and so much more all because of the game of golf.
Michael Castillo, PGA
Head Golf Professional, The Plantation Course, Kapalua, Maui, HI
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – The holidays has always been special for our family and so has the game of golf. The one person that has brought the game to the forefront in our lives is our hero and mentor my dad Ron Castillo Sr. a PGA professional of over 60 years. His influence has produced my three brothers all PGA golf professionals and my sister an LPGA Member retired.
The role golf as played in your life – The game has given more than I can give back, over the last 50 years it has been given me so many life lessons, I have worked with and under many talented professionals, I have met so many successful and well known individuals that have influenced how I preform at work every day. Having the opportunity to just say “THANK YOU” means a lot to me.
Golf Sales Manager, Ocean Course Hokuala, Kauai, HI
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – I’m grateful for learning the game of golf, it teaches patience, skill, technique, respect, keeps one focus, it’s peaceful and most of all….. Fun!! The views of golf course are amazingly stunning.
The role golf has played in your life – I started off as a golf guest service agent working in the golf shop to assisting in marketing and now I’m a golf sales manager doing what I enjoy….. selling golf to those who love the sport.
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – I am thankful for how the game of golf brings people together from all walks of life. You can look out on the first tee of any golf course and see a CEO of a large company playing along with a schoolteacher, or a navy pilot playing with some local firemen. Out on the course, everyone is just a golfer having fun. We are all equal within the game.
The role golf has played in your life – My earliest memories of my family were sitting around the dinner table listening to my older brother recount every shot he hit that day. I was enamored with the detail he would describe every shot. I wanted to be part of that magic. Every day since that time I have been involved in golf.
Operations Manager at Dubai Hills Golf Club, Dubai, UAE
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – I am most thankful to work in an industry that started and still is, a hobby. To provide extraordinary member and guest experiences at a Troon-managed facility, where people spend their disposable income and time, is a very rewarding thing to do.
The role golf as played in your life – Focusing more on how the game has shaped my career, working for Troon – the largest employer of PGA Professionals around the world – has allowed me to work in several countries including, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Malaysia. As the company continues to grow at a rapid pace, there will no doubt be more opportunities to work in other countries.
Rosana Gomez Valdor
Senior Assistant PGA Professional, The Grove, United Kingdom
What are you thankful for in the game of golf: I am grateful to the game of golf because it has given me the opportunity to live and study in different countries. First United States thanks to two golf scholarships followed by the United Kingdom where I live and have completed my PGA qualification. I truly believe that living in other countries has allowed me to mature faster and enrich myself as a person at many levels. I have gotten to know and explore other cultures, make valuable friendships and live wonderful experiences.
The role golf has played in your life: Golf is a very technical game that truly test your physical and mental abilities and it has taught me very important skills and values in life from an early age: hardworking, teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship, communication, time management and ethics among others. Of course, I have faced good and bad experiences but both have helped me to become a stronger person. Furthermore, the failures I have experienced have actually led me to different paths where I have been successful.
Director, Data & Analytics, Troon Corporate, Scottsdale, AZ
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – I’m thankful that the game of golf has provided me the ability to meet new people that I might not normally cross paths with in everyday life. There’s a lot that can be learned from hearing about a stranger’s life in 4 hours.
The role golf as played in your life – Golf has impacted nearly every aspect of my life on and off the course… from one of my first jobs being a cart girl to my current role and the friendships I’ve made to even the somewhat useful information I’ve come to learn about grass!
General Manager, Al Zorah Golf Club, Ajman, UAE
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – Reachable par 4s and downwind par 5s have always been a thankful moment during my round; however, the lifelong relationships that have been created with people from every walk of life and, most importantly, the time the game gave me with my father were invaluable. Being able to spend most of my childhood outdoors, particularly those long summer days on a Scottish Links golf course, was something I will always be thankful for.
The role golf has played in your life – Golf is immersed with core values; honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and sportsmanship are the ones I value most. These morals shaped my life as I was exposed to them day in day out from an early age, and I was able to take these into my personal and professional life in adulthood. Golf gave me an incredible career with Troon, and being able to live and work in countries like Egypt, Greece and Azerbaijan are remarkable life experiences.
Robbie Kearney, PGA
General Manager, Cimarron Hills Golf & Country Club, Georgetown, TX
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – First and foremost, I’m thankful for all of our members, fellow PGA professionals and anyone that supports and helps grow this great game
The role golf as played in your life – Golf was an easy way to bond with my father at a young age for 4 hours. I have friends to this day that I played junior golf and competitive golf with or against all these years later and now golf affords me the opportunity to get out, relax, and decompress after a long work week. I now have zero expectations when I play and just enjoy the peace a golf course provides.
Assistant General Manager, Classic Club, Palm Desert, California
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – Shaping my perspective on achievement and process. Golf has taught me the value of pursuit, knowing that perfection is unattainable, but the pursuit of perfection is still worthy and a goal in and of itself. Golf has also taught me humility and to celebrate the gains while they last. Finally, golf has taught me the value of being able to laugh at myself.
The role golf as played in your life – It’s hard to quantify as my life outside of the industry is now impossible to envision. I started playing relatively late in life and entered the industry in a roundabout manner. What I do know is that golf and the golf industry has allowed me incredible personal and professional growth and opportunity and that I could not imagine a life without it.
First Assistant Golf Professional, Alpine Country Club, Highland, Utah
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – My dad taught me how to play golf when I was 16 years old. I have so many great memories with him ranging from learning the game to going on some incredible golf trips as well. My dad unfortunately passed away unexpectedly a month ago at only 53 years old. Even though our time was far too short, I am especially grateful to have so many amazing memories and experiences with him because of golf. Everything from backyard chipping and putting competitions or trips to Bandon Dunes, I am so blessed to have those memories.
The role golf has played in your life – My favorite thing about the role of golf in my life is the amazing people I’ve been able to meet. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play Division 1 college golf at Weber State University. I met some amazing people during my time as a wildcat; as well as my time spent working at Bandon Dunes and now my home base of Alpine Country Club. I love that golf can be played at any age and we can all share the enjoyment of the game. I’ve only been golfing for 7 years and am so happy I get to enjoy this game for my lifetime ahead.
Eric “Eloh” Lohman, PGA
PGA General Manager, PGA Director of Instruction, Monarch Beach Golf Links, Dana Point, CA
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – Being outside, with friends, playing the game I love, on some of the nicest, most beautiful golf courses. Seeing the joy the game brings to so many.
The role golf as played in your life – I started playing golf at age 8, competing at age 10, played in HS, then college at Houston and UCLA and now play both recreationally and professionally. Golf is in my blood. I have been so fortunate to play on all levels, enjoy some success, teach hundreds if not thousands of players and ran some of the most successful golf clubs in Orange County, CA. Golf is life!
Golf Course Superintendent, Al Hamra Golf Club, UAE
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – Golf is where I met my wife!
The role golf as played in your life – I am grateful for golf because it is my career and my passion, and I have worked in the golf industry for over 25 years. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the game of golf. That is why I am grateful for golf.
Golf Course Superintendent, Karnataka Golf Association, Bangalore, India
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – I am thankful for the lifelong friendships I have made throughout my career, stretching from my time in the US to my current role in India. Luckily I am fortunate that I can move around in various positions and experience different cultures and religions. Golf has given me so many opportunities and allowed me to grow professionally and personally.
The role golf as played in your life – Golf has taught me to be patient and to solve problems effectively, and this skill is applicable in life also. It has taught me to maintain honesty and integrity, which are also essential in our personal and work lives. Golf is also a game of honesty. You are your own rules official on the golf course. Without being involved in this beautiful game, I wouldn’t have this opportunity to be working outdoors one to one with nature every day. You rarely get what you want in golf; it makes you work hard for everything and believe in yourself and what direction you are going.
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – It has created an opportunity for my sister and I to create life-long memories…
The role golf as played in your life – I took up golf to join friends after work as a fun activity, After a number of years, and playing golf in a few states with my sister Amy, and idea came to us that it would be fun to play golf in and visit all 50 states. As of today’s date, we have golfed in 49 of the 50 states. Hawaii, state number 50, was supposed to be the vacation in 2020, however the pandemic caused that trip to be postponed until 2022. I am looking forward to golfing in Hawaii and I am thankful that Golf has allowed me to visit almost all 50 states.
Kendall Murphy, PGA
Director – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Troon Corporate
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – From just the love of the game as a child to being a student athlete, and making it my professional career, it is the lessons I have learned through the game of golf that I have been able to apply to every aspect of my life that I am most thankful for.
The role golf as played in your life – Golf has provided me with countless lifelong friendships, lessons in every aspect of my life, and a career in something I have loved and been passionate about since I was a child.
Assistant Golf Professional, Yocha Dehe Golf Club, Brooks, CA
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – When it comes to the game of golf I have always been thankful for integrity and perseverance that come with the game. Golf is a game of integrity and perseverance because it teaches the player about accountability for oneself whether it is keeping your own score, calling a penalty upon yourself or putting in the work needed for improvement. Golf is a game that will teach you to never give up and to work hard towards the goals you set for yourself.
The role golf as played in your life – Golf has been an important part of my life as I have seen nothing but self-improvement and growth in myself since I started playing. I have learned valuable lessons about myself both on and off the course that have made me a more honest and responsible person. I look forward to my growth in both the game and industry of golf as it has become a passion of mine that I will always pursue.
Executive Chef, Fairwood Golf & Country Club, Renton, WA
What are you thankful for in the game of golf – The camaraderie
The role golf as played in your life – I spent the early years of my career working in hotels, but it wasn’t until I took a position at a country club that I understood how close a group of golfers can be. It is a pleasure to see the same group of friends and families on a regular basis, to get to know them, and to come up with new ideas for them.