Passion for Golf Drives Southeast Student Interning at PGA-Level Course

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Southeast Missouri State University student Adam Way is combining his passion for golf and the outdoors as a grounds crew intern at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, this summer.

Way, a senior majoring in agribusiness, horticulture option, of Jackson, Missouri, applied for the four-month internship online knowing Quail Hollow’s course is considered by many to be one of the finest courses in the southeastern United States.

“Once I saw the application online, I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” said Way, who worked with his professors to finish his spring semester early and begin working at Quail Hollow in late April.

His daily responsibilities focus on maintaining the course’s reputation.

“I take care of the golf course, whether it may be mowing, fertilizing or doing detail work to help keep the golf course in such a prestige condition,” he said.

Working at Quail Hollow was an opportunity to learn how to maintain a PGA-level course, Way said. The club’s location, climate and course requirements are all unique factors that govern his daily duties.

His previous experiences working at Forest Hills Country Club in Clarkson Valley, Missouri, and Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, helped qualify and prepare him for working at Quail Hollow.

Having experiences at multiple courses allows Way to gain insight into agronomy and the golf course management business, said Dr. Sven Svenson, professor of agriculture at Southeast.

“It may seem like one golf course is similar to another, but each site actually has its own unique issues,” he said. “By Adam learning about those various issues, it improves his ability to troubleshoot unknown future problems.”

One of the biggest highlights while at Quail Hollow for Way has been working during the club’s hosting of the Wells Fargo Championship. The national tournament brought new, additional challenges.

“To make the course look good in April and green during the tournament, we over-seeded it with ryegrass and other various grasses because the Bermuda grass doesn’t quite have the right conditions to pop up yet,” he said. “After the tournament, we sprayed out the cool season grasses, which allow for the Bermuda grass to take off.”

There were also increased hours, personnel and additional maintenance and clean up because of the surge in tournament spectators and pop-up structures.

“To have about 80 people on a golf course working at one time is truly amazing,” he said. “The normal staff size for Quail Hollow is about 30, so we had more than twice the amount of people working at once.”

Way also got to meet and get the autograph of the championship’s winner, Jason Day.

“Despite long days and sleepless nights, I got to see what it takes to run a PGA tournament and to see some of the golfers I grew up watching as a kid,” he said. “The experience was amazing, and I would love to do it again.”

Having the PGA tournament experience will greatly increase Way’s employment opportunities when he graduates this December, Svenson said.

“It really helps improve your confidence and makes leadership situations easier to complete successfully,” Svenson said. “Adam has also gone above and beyond his degree requirements by completing multiple internships working at three golf courses now, and he is clearly benefitting from these experiences during his time at Southeast and beyond.”

Way intends to pedal his experience and passion for golf into a career as a golf course superintendent.

“Golf is a passion of mine and has been for my entire life,” he said. “The first time I worked on a golf course, I knew this was the perfect industry for me. I enjoy going to work every single day no matter what I am doing. The job may get difficult, but because I am working on the golf course, it helps me forget all of that and soak in the fresh air.”