Students learned from industry experts and received a surprise visit from Buffalo Bills quarterback Allen and teammates
ROCHESTER, New York – As the 105th PGA Championship ramped up at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester last week, 100 Western New York region students attended PGA WORKS Beyond the Green to learn about a career in the $102 billion golf industry.
On May 16, youth from the First Tee of Western New York, East High School, Nativity Preparatory Academy and other local groups listened and participated in three panels from local leaders and golf industry experts about career opportunities available to them.
A career exploration event, Beyond the Green is held at various championships run by the PGA of America, inviting local students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to discover opportunities in the golf industry, along with the chance to hear from local business leaders.
“Whatever you want in a career, there’s a good chance that it is available within the golf industry,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh in his message to the students. “If you can see it, you can be it. Golf needs your ideas and your perspectives.”
“We want your voice to be heard because there is, without a doubt, a place for each of you within golf,” said PGA of America Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Price. “We strongly believe that you can make a positive impact on the future of the game.”
A fan-favorite surprise guest panelist was Buffalo Bills Quarterback and Oak Hill member Josh Allen, along with teammates Tyler Bass, Matt Barkley, Kaiir Elam and Kyle Allen.
“Since I was a little kid, it’s the only thing I’ve wanted to be,” Allen said when a student asked if he’d always wanted to be a quarterback.
The panels provided thought-provoking insights about building connections, taking challenges and capitalizing on opportunities. Following a welcome from Price, the “Stand Up and Stand Out” panel focused on building purposeful relationships. The “Get on Par” panel illustrated the vastness of the golf industry and the “From Whisper to Roar” panel educated students on finding their unique voices.
“I’m a true testament to the Beyond the Green story,” said PGA REACH Senior Director of Impact Kennie Sims, PGA. “Here I am, 40 years into a career in the golf industry because I was introduced to this sport very early on.”
Malachi Finley, 15, a member of The Boys and Girls Club of Rochester and a caddy at Oak Hill, appreciated the diversity among the panelists throughout the event.
“Specifically, I liked how Beyond the Green was mostly led by other African American people,” said Finley. “It’s changing the narrative.”
“It opens their minds to ‘Hey, I want to go to school to be an engineer, but I can be a golf club engineer,’ a lot of kids don’t think that, so we are able to talk about a lot of the career opportunities within the golf industry,” said PGA WORKS Program Leader Cameron Dinkins.