To many modern golfers, St. Andrews, Scotland, is considered to be the birthplace and home of the game of golf. However, historians have been able to date the game’s origins to other European locations before the 15th century. In those days, a similar stick-and-ball game called paganica was played in Holland and France. Other historical records have shown that university students were playing this social game as early as 1415 in St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. Origins aside, the game became popular in the early-15th century-Scotland and gained a large portion of its current shape, structure, and rules as a result of Scottish participation and infatuation. At that time, golf was mostly a game for the kings, queens, and noblemen, hence the reason for the familiar moniker, The Royal and Ancient Game.1
Golf did not become popular in the United States until the 1600s, and the first course on record was not built until 1888, in Yonkers, New York. Appropriately, it was named the St. Andrews Club and originally consisted of a crude three-hole layout. As a testament to the game’s appeal and growing popularity as a game for everyone, over 1000 courses were built in America by the year 1900, with each state possessing at least one golf course.1 To give the reader some perspective on the immense popularity of the game, consider the following: (1) 503 new golf course construction projects were completed in 1999, (2) golfers spent over $30 billion on golf-related products and services in 1998, and (3) 60% of golfers reported that they have played golf with partial snow cover.2 In 2000, in United States there were almost 17,000 golf courses and boasts a playing population of 26.5 million golfers.2 In the early 2000s, the number of golf courses began to shrink.3 In 2011, there was 25.7 million golfers down from a high of 30.6 million in 2003.3 In 2012, only 13 new golf courses were opened compared to 154.5 that were closed.3 In 2015, there were approximately 15,500 golf courses in the United States.
Golf is a service-oriented industry, and it needs individuals with a diverse background in business, hospitality, golf, and people skills. Also, if one is going to be involved in the sport itself, it is important for them to join and become a member of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America.
There are two ways that individuals may become members of the PGA. One is by self-education and training with some help from the PGA. This method is known as the apprentice program. The second method is through one of the 18 accredited PGA Golf Management Programs located at different universities. These students need to meet both the requirements of the University for a bachelor’s degree and the PGA requirements for an accredited program.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has ...