The USGA welcomed its largest class of P.J. Boatwright Jr. interns to the annual Boatwright Summit held at USGA headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. on May 22-24, as the organization kicked off the 32nd year of the career development initiative that provides on-the-job training across the USGA’s network of 58 Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). Because of the pandemic, this was the first in-person summit held in three years.
Alex Gilley attended the summit, and has returned to the Northwest to resume his six-month Boatwright internship with Washington Golf (WA Golf), based in Tacoma, Wash. One of the USGA’s Allied Golf Associations, WA Golf has a long history of taking in Boatwright interns each year, mentoring them, and giving them a start in their career in the golf industry.
“Going into the summit, I didn’t have a lot of expectations but had heard only good things from others,” Gilley said. “The summit was a super cool, unique experience that allowed me to get an inside scoop about the USGA.”
Gilley grew up in Portland, and attended the University of Washington, graduating this spring with a degree in political science.
“I have played, been around, and watched golf for as long as I can remember,” he says. “I grew up doing a bunch of golf-related activities with my grandpa, who was involved in the golf industry. I worked at my local golf club in Portland (Rock Creek Country Club) throughout high school. I worked in outside services and in the pro shop, where I helped with tournaments during my last summer there. I love sports and being involved with them, whether it is playing, watching, or helping administer them, so I thought this internship would be a great opportunity to be involved professionally.”
As part of the USGA’s commitment to connect more individuals to careers in golf, the organization funds the program, in part through philanthropic contributions, and works closely with AGAs on intern recruitment and training. In 2023, the USGA is delivering a program-high $2.09 million to pay each intern, provide travel costs to the annual summit and support AGA operations to manage staffing locally.
Representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the 2023 class of interns includes undergraduate and graduate students, collegiate athletes, individuals who are new to golf and those looking to make a career change. The program is open to all interested in learning about golf administration, regardless of age, gender or religious belief, and no golf experience is required.
“The USGA Boatwright Program is a proven framework to identify and develop future leaders of the golf industry,” said USGA CEO Mike Whan. “Our collaboration with the Allied Golf Associations to host and train the next generation of golf administrators remains key to connecting more students to the more than 1.65 million careers in golf.”
The three-day orientation included instructional sessions led by USGA staff on Course Rating, agronomy, Rules, championship administration and the World Handicap System. Following the summit, Boatwrights returned to their respective host region for on-the-job training in all aspects of golf administration.
“Having the chance to interact with other Boatwright interns was insightful and made it fun to compare our seasons to this point,” Gilley said. “I am super grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this year’s summit.”
Since 1991, the program has helped launch the careers of more than 3,000 individuals with many alumni holding leadership positions throughout golf, broader sports industries and beyond. Among USGA staff, two executives and more than two dozen team members started their careers as Boatwright interns. Approximately 32 percent of AGA executive directors and 35 percent of all AGA staff are Boatwright alumni.
Research recently released by the American Golf Industry Coalition highlights golf’s $102 billion direct economic impact in 2022, an increase of 20 percent over its $84 billion direct impact reported in 2016. Serving as executive sponsor of the Make Golf Your Career workstream, Whan represents the USGA’s commitment to collaborating with partners across the golf industry to identify, attract and engage more talent from diverse backgrounds.
As the game continues to grow, the USGA is focused on offering intentional career-training programs that help funnel more individuals from underrepresented backgrounds into the 1.65 million jobs impacted by golf in the U.S. Annually, the USGA funds nearly 300 internships across the country through the Pathways Internship Program and students supporting our championship and headquarters operations.
Click here for more information about the USGA P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program.