The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

May the course be with you: PGAM program creates new leaders in golf

David Castañeda
Professional Golfers of America Marketing (PGAM) is a college degree program that strives to help its students learn the ins and outs of marketing in the golf industry, and turn golf into a career.

The PGA Golf Management Program not only consists of playing golf, but is a unique avenue to a specialized marketing degree available to students at New Mexico State University. To be specific, it is a four, to four and a half year, marketing degree available through the College of Business and has graduated over 1,500 students since its inception in 1987. The program also requires 16 months of summer internships done at courses across the country – sometimes resulting in an extra semester to complete the degree. 

Pat Gavin, the director of the program and a college professor in the Marketing Department spoke on the history of the program and his story. He took the job as the first full-time director in 1993 when the position first opened. 

“My best friend at the time, his dad was the director… at the golf course here,” Gavin stated. “I just started playing golf at 10/11 years old and just got hooked and started playing a lot.” 

Ben Ario, a freshman from Manchester, Vermont, said he came to NMSU because the university has the best PGA program in the country “by a long shot.” Ario also discussed why golf is important to him.  

“Overall, the major’s beautiful, because for me golf has kind of always been my way out…it’s always been more than a sport,” he said.  

The program has a rich history that dates back over 35 years, and NMSU was the third university in the country to adopt the program, behind Ferris State and Michigan State.  

“Back in 1987 Guy Wimberly and Herb Wimberly, who are two golfing PGA legends in New Mexico…they went to the upper administration of the University of New Mexico…and pitched it to them and they weren’t interested,” Gavid said.  

He said that after UNM rejected the Wimberleys’ proposal, they traveled down to give their pitch to NMSU. Curtis Graham, the dean of the business college at the time, loved the idea.  

As of today, NMSU is ranked number one among the other 17 schools in the nation with a PGA marketing program.

“They have a 100% placement rate, which means after four and a half years people have finished it and they always get placed,” Ario said. “They always find a club.” 

Top-of-the-line facilities also play a major role in the university’s top position in the country. 

“We stay up with the latest technology in the golf industry,” Gavid said. “We call it the track man studio, so we have TrackMan technology with state-of-the-art technology.” 

A majority of students within the program live on the second floor of Piñon Hall within the PGAM Living Learning Community where they can socialize and help one another build community.  

“Last year in the program, we kind of learned just like the history of golf…how it was formed, how it was created in the U.S.,” said Joseph Coil, a sophomore and resident assistant in the PGAM LLC. “Now this year we’re getting more in depth about with teaching and coaching.” 

Coaching is a big component in becoming a member of the PGA and is the primary reason for students “working on their game.”  

Gavin discussed the incredibly diverse and powerful sense of community in the program and with the alumni. “We survive on our alumni, we’re a family,” Gavin said. “In fact, this week, I probably had 30 or 40 alumni reach out just to say hello.”  

Ario and Coil agreed with Gavin’s statement, remarking on how the program “feels like a family.”  

Once they graduate, every student earns a bona fide affiliate PGA membership. Gavin remarked that the membership is meaningful and a primary reason that the program exists. 

“We’re educating tomorrow’s PGA golf professionals,” Gavin said. 

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About the Contributors
Kaden Martinez
Kaden Martinez, Staff Writer
Kaden Martinez is entering his first year at The Round Up as both a staff and a sports writing intern. This is his first time writing for a local publication (or any publication for that matter!). He is also entering his first year as a freshman majoring in Cybersecurity with a minor in Computer Engineering. Since his dad is in the military, he has moved all around New Mexico, having lived in Albuquerque, Springer, Maxwell, and finally Rio Rancho where he graduated. He is the oldest of three siblings. Kaden has always enjoyed writing, whether it was school related or as a hobby. He decided to become a member of The Round Up both to broaden his horizons and step out of his comfort zone by trying something new. Some of his interests include exercising, playing sports, video games, TV shows, and movies.
David Castañeda
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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