The summer of 2016 provided a first for the EKU PGA Golf Management Program. Alex Martin, a 2011 graduate, qualified for and competed in the 2016 PGA Professional Championship held at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York.
The 49th PGA Professional Championship featured 312 PGA members from across the country and is the highlight of the tournament calendar for PGA Professionals.
Martin qualified for the PNC through the KPGA Section Championship at Olde Stone Country Club in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in September 2015. While his spot was not guaranteed, Martin was able to secure the first alternate spot for Kentucky after two days of solid play.
“I didn't find out that I was in the PNC until about a month out as one of the players in our section wasn't able to compete,” Martin said. “His spot was then passed on to me. There was a lot of luck for me there as I knew the likelihood of me getting in was slim to none. I'll never forget that phone call – my wife, son and I were dancing in the kitchen! This was a dream come true! I just couldn't believe it was happening.”
Martin called the PNC “a true major championship for PGA members. The way we were treated all week was second to none. You’re treated just like a tour player. The golf course is all roped off and the TV towers were on the back of nearly every green. It was very impressive. The equipment trailers were there fresh off of being at the U.S. Open at Oakmont. If you needed a certain club that week, they went right in the massive trailer and built it. As a Taylormade Staff player, it was awesome! The range was full of brand new balls of your choice, everything from Pro Vs to Taylormade TP Reds. Taylormade even had a swag bag for us upon arrival, complete with shirts, shoes, socks, balls, gloves, hats, and more. It was crazy.”
The Jackson, Mississippi, native is currently the Kentucky Section sales representative for Club Car. While a student at EKU, he represented the program on multiple Jones Cup teams.
“For me, competing and playing in these events is really important and something I take pride in,” Martin said. “I became a PGA professional because I loved the game and the business. I don't understand those that say they don't like to play the game anymore. I think if you’re going to choose this career, then it should be because you can never get enough of it. I love seeing all the other guys at Monday events in our section. It gives us a chance to share ideas or discuss problems we may be facing. In what other sport or industry can you have a chance to win money as well as pick the brain of a fellow expert for four hours? It's also something our members love to see and cherish, so I like to get out and play golf with them as much as I can. You'd be amazed to know how much it means to them.”
For more information about the EKU PGA Golf Management program, visit pgm.eku.edu.