I met Meghan at our Level 1 PGA seminar in November of 2019. With the women at the seminar making up just 15% of the 56 people in attendance, I knew getting to know each other and networking was extremely important. Meghan didn't start playing golf until high school and not only did she get a scholarship to play in college, she recently started a new position that represents her hard work and success in the industry at such a young age.
Here is her story:
What is your current position in the golf industry?
So, I actually just took a job as kind of a head pro slash a general manager at Lakewood Country Club in Salem, North Carolina.
At the time of this interview, Meghan was just starting her second week in her new position learning the ropes and meeting the members. The Sampson Independent also recently wrote an article about her in this position.
When did you first get introduced to golf?
The day before my high school freshman year of golf season started.
I played softball from the time I could hold a ball until my sophomore year in high school and that's a spring sport. My dad was like, "You need to be doing something in the fall." And he said, "Why don't you try golf?" He's one of those people that play once or twice a year. So he said, "Why don't you just try it and see if you like it?"
The dad of one of Meghan's best friends growing up was a pro at a course, so they went to see him and find out if Meghan would enjoy the sport.
He looked at me and he said, "Well, I think you got it." And so I went out and I shot a 59 in my first nine-hole match. I don't even know how it happened, but somehow I got to play regionals. I shot like a 121 which is, I mean, when you go from the red tees to the white tees and it's your first round, you don't really know what to expect when your average is 56 for nine every time.
My sophomore year of high school, I went from shooting high 50s my freshman year to averaging low 50s. And we went to regionals, we qualified for states, and since we qualified as a team, I got to go and play in states and that year we won. But I didn't have a contributing score. Around that time, I told my dad that I'll get burnt out with softball. I said, "I'm done with softball. I'm going to take up golf and I'm going to have a contributing score the next time." So, I got a job at a golf course that spring at Meadowlands, where I had worked before, instead of playing softball and pretty much worked my butt off. I was out there every day to practice.
The following year, I was averaging about, I think right around 40 to 43. We went to states, we won again, and I had a contributing score. And I told my dad, "I want to go to college for this." So, I just kept working my butt off, ended up averaging 38 I think for the most of my senior year season, went to states, won again, and had either the third top contributing score or second top contributing score, and that's when I got my scholarship to go to Pfeiffer and play there.
Meghan earned serious accolades as a Falcon at Pfeiffer, with several career wins and even more top finishes.
When did you know that you actually wanted to work in the industry?
When I first started working at Meadowlands when I was 16 I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to go into the golf business, this was awesome." And then about my junior or senior year of high school rolled around and I said, "No, I can't deal with people, there's no way I can do this."
But, my junior year of college, we made a transition from Division II to Division III, so that kind of changed the whole demeanor and the caliber of players that we had. So, I would really help my teammates on the golf course. And they would always come to me and I just loved the feeling of being able to help somebody. I had a pretty successful career in college and I thought, "I don't know if I can give this up."
I was on the path to do physical therapy. But in March of my senior year of college, I went to my coach because he's a Class A PGA member and I said, "I think I want to go into the PGA program, what do I need to do in order to do that?" And he said, "If you hold on, I have a job position for you as the associate head coach here when you graduate." So, that's kind of how I got into the program was my college coach pretty much having the job waiting for me and helping me go through this process to get into it.
From May of 2018 to May of 2019, I worked at Pfeiffer as the associate head coach and then June of 2019, I took over as the assistant pro at Meadowlands. And now, here I am at Lakewood.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I think the most rewarding part is touching the people that you come in contact with in some way whether it's teaching or just having an interaction with that person. For instance, today I had one guy come in here and he goes, "You know, I can tell you have a lot of joy in your life." And it's hearing things like that, it just kind of makes you feel good and it makes you feel like you brighten their day but really, they brighten your day.
What are some of the challenges you face in the industry?
A big one is getting a phone call and someone says, "Can I have the pro shop, please?" And I'm like, "This is the pro shop." Or when they walk in and a lot of them haven't gotten word that I'm the new pro and they're like, "Where's the guys? Are you playing?" They just don't expect a woman to be in charge.
How do you think the golf industry benefits from having women in leadership positions?
I think it gives a new perspective. And I feel like women touch people differently. You know, just because of that motherly instinct, women reach a bigger context and a bigger customer pool.
How do you think we can get more women working in the golf industry?
I know a lot of women that don't think women can be in the PGA program because they think of it like PGA Tour. Whereas the PGA program is men and women. And they say that they have to do the LPGA route. So, I feel like there's not enough knowledge out there to say that this is for women as well. I feel like there could be a lot more outreach for it.
What are your future aspirations in the golf industry?
It kind of changed a little bit. Ultimately, I wanted to get into the teaching and coaching route and just strictly do that. But the more and more I've gotten into doing this, I think I'm going to go with the golf operations route. Now, I don't want to be stuck behind a desk, by any means. I like having that interaction with people when they come into the pro shop and talk about the rounds, but also them coming in and asking for a lesson, I like that aspect of it too. So, what I'm planning on doing now is I'm going to do the golf operations route and then try to get certified in teaching and coaching after I get my Class A.
What advice do you have for women beginning their careers in the industry?
Don't be intimidated. This is not a man's industry anymore. It is out there for anybody, honestly. A lot of people think, "Oh, well, a woman can't do this job because it's a man's sport." Well, there's enough of us out there that I think more people will get excited about women being in this industry. I mean, there's so many more people that are pulling for women in this industry than we realize. You're always gonna have a few that are going to be against you, but that's only 1% out of the 99%. You just have to have confidence and don't be intimidated.