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Rygelski Postcard

Members and guests of the Sankaty Head Golf Club, located at the far edge of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, can play golf on the few links-style courses outside of the United Kingdom. Nantucket, a seaport town known for its 18th and early 19th century architecture, is known for the lighthouses, seafood and fishing industry, celebrity sightings, and as famous vacation spot.

Rygelski Golf

Nantucket is also the home this summer for Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management sophomore Grace Rygelski. Grace is completing her first PGA Professional Golf Management internship with the Sankaty Head Golf Club.

The PGA Professional Golf Management option in RPTM at Penn State is accredited by the Professional Golf Management Association of America. Students are required to meet the admission requirements for the university as well as verify their golf handicap before being accepted into PGA PGM. To earn the degree, students must also pass a 36-hole Player’s Ability Test as well as the PGA training courses on facility management, teaching and coaching, and more. Embedded in the degree are five internships.

Originally from Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, Grace started caddying at the Pittsburgh Field Club when she was 13 years old. “My neighbor was the pro,” said Grace.  “At the bus stop in middle school, all of the boys were saying that they were going to caddy. I decided I wanted to do it, too.” 

Rygelski Shadow

Although she started caddying at a young age, she hadn’t really played the game. Grace played her first round of golf the summer before her freshman year of high school. She soon made the high school golf team at Fox Chapel High School. With prior experience in soccer, swimming, basketball, and cross country, Grace quickly found success on the golf course.

“In my junior year when I started thinking about college, I talked with our pro about competing on a college team and doing a business major. He talked with me about PGA PGM. I eventually decided not to compete. Both of my parents went to Penn State. The PGA PGM program at Penn State is great. I love it.”

Grace is spending the summer learning more about the golf industry with her internship at Sankaty. She is enjoying her summer on Nantucket and said, “It really feels like a small town. It seems everyone knows everyone.”

Rygelski Bottle

With her first year at Penn State under her belt, Grace is looking ahead to her golf career after she graduates. For now, the goal is to find a position in tournaments at the PGA Tour level with an interest in special events. She is planning to complete Penn State’s Smeal College of Business Fundamentals Certificate as an additional credential.

Golf as a game and as a profession is dominated by males, although the PGA and Penn State’s PGA PGM program are working to change that. Programs like PGA WORKS, an initiative to diversity the golf industry’s workforce, offer scholarships and events to promote golf to previously underrepresented groups. “We have five new women coming in this year’s incoming class,” said Grace.

And just like with the boys at the bus stop, Grace Rygelski is proof that women and golf are a winning combination.