UCF will be teeing up a new two-year program beginning next spring, a Golf and Club Management Certificate to focus on golf course operation and player development.
UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the Lee Westwood Golf School in Apopka are teaming up to help students prepare for careers in the industry, including the 1,200 public and private golf courses in Florida – more than any other state.
The program is a natural fit for Florida, said Dr. Jill Fjelstul, a Rosen College professor in the Department of Tourism, Events and Attractions, and a member of the LPGA.
“The weather is great all year and this will be an exciting program because we’re partnering with a major brand such as Lee Westwood,” she said.
Classes for this non-credit certificate will cover topics such as club management, events, leadership, food and beverage, equipment analysis, club fitting, and tournament preparation.
Students will take academic classes at Rosen College and add player-development activities at the Lee Westwood Golf School, which started last year at Errol Estate Golf & Country Club. Lee Westwood has other golf schools in the United Kingdom, but this is his only school in the United States.
Westwood, one of the world’s top players, is from England and moved to West Palm Beach last year. He has been a pro since 1993, has had victories on the PGA and European tours, and has represented Europe in several Ryder Cup matches versus the United States.
“The program is designed to enhance UCF’s position as a partnership university,” said Dr. Youcheng Wang, a professor and associate dean at Rosen. “Rosen College is designing and delivering a tailor-made program to serve the needs and interests of industry professionals.”
Fjelstul said some of the targeted students for the continuing-education certificate are graduates just out of high school and international students who have not decided whether to pursue a college degree. She also has met with UCF’s Veterans Academic Resource Center about promoting the certificate because she said many veterans are interested in pursuing golf schools after leaving the military.
The World Golf Foundation based in St. Augustine says the golf industry supports about 167,000 jobs and generates about $13.8 billion a year for the economy.
And what is the key to becoming a good club manager?
“Understanding why a member joins a club and exceeding those expectations. Every member is unique and with varying needs,” Fjelstul said. “What will set us apart from the other golf schools are the faculty credentials at Rosen College, the Rosen College educational offerings, and the golf training facility at Errol Estates.”