To future PGA TOUR summer interns
November 04, 2019
By Veronica Chen, Special to PGA TOUR
- November 04, 2019
- PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan (center) with the 2019 summer interns.
Veronica Chen was one of the 14 interns at the PGA TOUR during the summer of 2019. For application details on the 2020 summer internship program at the PGA TOUR, click here.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Reflecting on my 10-week internship at the PGA TOUR headquarters, I’ve asked myself two questions.
Why was I chosen?
What have I learned?
I suspect the 14 other summer interns asked similar questions. In seeking the answers, we framed the responses in a way that accentuates various dimensions of our identity.
At the start of my time at the TOUR, I tended to incorporate my love for books and traveling into conversation. Studying abroad for a year in Europe and absorbing canonical English literature lays an essential foundation in my individuality, and it helped create unforgettable memories and find lasting relationships.
I have been fortunate to have lived in cities such as St. Andrews and London. From growing up in Los Angeles, to becoming a Colgate Raider in upstate New York, to embodying the role as a Communications intern in Ponte Vedra Beach, my morals and values have changed in addition to where I called home. With the help of the PGA TOUR, my priorities and professional goals have been shaped. Exploring and living in unfamiliar environments has brought me one step closer to realizing my career aspirations, and it is a vital component that I considered (and do not regret) when applying for this internship.
For someone who has had a myriad of summer experiences, I can wholeheartedly say that the PGA TOUR is not like any other organization. Not only does each employee bring their own unique sense of positivity and excitement, the PGA TOUR has fashioned one of the most prestigious internship programs in the nation.
While my role in Communications contrasts from the other interns’ positions, each department makes sure to assign tasks that involve hands-on experience. In the Communications department, I worked on multiple projects that affect the TOUR’s future as an impact corporation.
Since the Communications department revolves around storytelling, I helped bring these stories to life and share them with the public. From writing “catalyst briefs” – multi-page notes highlighting a golfer’s background, interests, and hobbies – to pitching podcast ideas to Senior Vice President of Media Content and Communications Laura Neal, I learned what it takes to bridge the gap between average golf fans and professional golfers.
Furthermore, I worked on a long-term project featuring professional golfer Scott Stallings, who lost 55 pounds in a year. While multiple articles have stressed Stallings’ fitness regimen and weight-loss journey, none addressed the importance of wellness and self-help. It was my job to pitch his unorthodox story to different sports, health, and fitness publications. This experience equipped me with the necessary tools of understanding the inner-workings of a big sports company. After working closely with my supervisor and other employees in the Communications department, I realized that my assignments contributed to the success of the TOUR.
By emphasizing the importance of networking, the PGA TOUR has exposed me to a wide range of staffers outside of my department.
Joining various employee resource groups, attending meetings, and setting up lunches with countless managers, directors, and executives taught me the importance of each department and what they do. I realized that each section works together to accomplish different projects for upcoming tournaments.
After meeting people from Communications, Marketing, and Digital, my interests gravitated toward Community Impact in the Tournament Business Affairs department. This team works closely on making a difference in fans’ lives and bringing them and professional golfers together. After I met everyone in this department, I knew that I wanted to continue working in the golf industry and specifically working on volunteer initiatives that give back to the community. The PGA TOUR is not just about golf but learning how to be an impactful leader.
I was also invited to curriculum events throughout the internship. From attending various Learning Insight Series (LIS) sessions, to figuring out what it means to be an “influential communicator,” I learned about my strengths and weaknesses as an individual and as a working professional. For someone who is still trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do, the PGA TOUR has done an amazing job of guiding me and the other interns in our career paths and personal endeavors.
Outside of work, the interns and I visited various places around Ponte Vedra Beach and the Jacksonville area. After long work days, some of us took advantage of playing the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, as well as Dye’s Valley; it’s one of the perks we receive as PGA TOUR employees. Whether it was on the golf course, at the beach, or at a Jumbo Shrimp baseball game, I was able to form one-on-one connections with each intern.
So what about those two questions I asked myself? Perhaps I can combine them into one simple question:
Did I grow during those 10 weeks?
I will take the knowledge gained during my time at the TOUR and transfer it to my future career path. For example, I’ve learned the importance of learning and listening, whether it is to a peer or a mentor. In addition, the advice gained from those in Communications and other departments has been invaluable in raising my confidence level as I enter the work force.
So the question you should ask yourself now while evaluating your internship options:
Should I apply at the PGA TOUR?
Absolutely. Even if you are not looking for a career in sports or have a background in golf, it is a great place to learn how big companies operate.
For now, I will forever miss the optimistic atmosphere and the team I have been a part of. No matter where I end up in the future, I know that what I have learned from the PGA TOUR will be with me every step of the way.