Wow, I am officially old enough to be asked to do a feature in the Newsletter “Where are they Now!” If that doesn’t make me sit and think about the adventures the golf profession has provided me since 2009 I don’t know what does!
In 2005, I joined the UNL-PGM Golf Management program. I was one of two females to join that year and we were the second cohort to start the program. It was a such an exciting adventure that I was starting and had no idea where the business would take me as I had no idea what I wanted to do in the Golf Business. Therefore, I set out to have a different experience on each internship to help me better understand where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my career.
The first internship I embarked upon was split between Arbor Links GC, in my hometown of Nebraska City, and Oak Hills CC in Omaha. The next year I decided I wanted to travel. After some phone calls and emails I ended up getting hired at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland. This was in 2007 from April to August for the 137th Open Championship (Padraig beat Sergio in a playoff). Needless to say the experience was priceless and one of the best summer’s I have ever had!
The following year I decided to take my 8 month internship and head to Pinehurst Golf Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Again, another wonderful experience that showed me many different aspects to the golf business. My last internship was the summer I graduated. I finished my internship hours and was then hired on full time as a Merchandiser/Assistant Golf Pro at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Wilderness Ridge was such an important growth period in my career. I was interim Head Pro for a few months and then worked under Chris Thomson, PGA as his Assistant for two years. Chris really taught me what being a PGA member was all about. The dedication he showed to not only the PGA but also to Wilderness Ridge, the golfing public, his staff, members, etc., was exemplary. It was his leadership that impacted me as a Professional and in 2011, I received the Nebraska Section of the PGA Assistant of the Year.
In November of 2011, I took a position at The Kansas City Country Club as an Assistant Golf Professional. It was here that I fell in love with teaching! Not only teaching but how the body functioned during the swing and how each individual’s body function affected how they swung the golf club. While in Kansas City I taught more than I ever had in a season and also helped the Fitness Director with Golf Fitness classes.
That Fall, Chris Thomson offered me a position as his Head Golf Professional as he got promoted to Director of Golf. So, I moved back to Lincoln in December of 2012 to once again work for Chris at Wilderness Ridge.
During the 2012 season, I grew even more as a Professional in Operations, but also in teaching. I received my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Personal Training Certificate. I felt it was crucial for me to understand how the body functioned, not only during the golf swing but also in general, during everyday movement.
I ended up meeting my now husband in the Summer of 2013 working at Wilderness Ridge while he however lived in Kansas City. He talked me into taking a leap of faith and head back to KC to teach full time….So I did!
I received the Head Teaching Professional job at Blue Hills Country Club and started in January of 2014! I was able to do some Golf Fitness training at a local gym that winter and started teaching full time in March. That February, I went to Rhode Island and completed TPI Level 1 Certification. Blue Hills was such a wonderful opportunity to get my “feet wet” teaching full time. With Blue Hills being a private country club, I couldn’t teach too many outside guests, so I was able to concentrate on serving the members and their children needs when it came to private and group lessons.
That following winter in 2014, Curt Nelson, Master PGA Professional offered me a position to be the Director of Instruction overseeing two municipal golf courses located within 2 miles of one another. They do a combined average of 115,000 rounds per year. With 5 regulation 9 holes and a 9 hole Par 3 it is a BUSY place. I was hesitant at first, as I loved Blue Hills and had never worked at a municipal golf course before, but again, took a leap of faith and accepted the position.
My journey at the Overland Park Division overseeing the Instruction Department at St. Andrews and Sykes/Lady Overland Park Golf Course began in February of 2015 and am currently still there. Since I started, I have received Levels 2 and 3 for TPI Golf Certifications as well as becoming at US Kids and The First Tee Certified Coach. I was also recognized as the Midwest Section PGA Player Development Award winner in 2016.
Needless to say, I have found my niche in the golf business and couldn’t be happier. I teach over 1,500 lessons per year and my students range in age from 4 to 85! Every day is different and unique. I love being able to build relationships with my students and see them progress with their golf games. Not only are they playing better, but they are enjoying the game more but they are building their confidence and having fun!
My journey in the golf business has been a crazy one, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have met some of best friends (and now husband) through golf and made some amazing connections along the way. This game has brought me so much and I want to give back to it as much as I can.
My “Where are They Now” story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my family, as they put up with my crazy, tireless hours! My husband, Eric Olson, works for the GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America) which is headquartered in Lawrence, Kansas as the Director of Marketing and Communications. I have two stepdaughters, Sophia (13) in 8th grade and Maclaryn (10) in 4th grade. We reside just one mile from the golf course with our chocolate lab Scout who is 2 ½ and spoiled rotten!! When we aren’t involved with the golf world, we enjoy the outdoors (especially in Colorado) biking, hiking, rafting, zip lining etc!!
GBR from Kansas!!!
Please feel free to follow me on social media or contact me if you ever want any advice with your career or work experience:
Maureen Olson, PGA Director of Instruction
Overland Park Golf Division
FB: Maureen Olson Golf
More details at: https://go.unl.edu/oz5e