UMES First HBCU To Receive the PGA Professional Golf Management Program

University of Maryland Eastern Shore officials announced this week at a press conference that the institution has become the 20th university to attain the highly sought after Professional Golf Association’s Professional Golf Management University Program.

In attendance was Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA, as well as Earnie Ellison, the director of business development and community relations for the PGA. University president Thelma B. Thompson spoke about how proud she was of her staff for helping her carry out one of her most important goals for the university.

“When I first came onto this campus six years ago I remember thinking how pristine and beautiful it was and how it looked like a golf course. And that is really when I first had the idea that this university should be involved with the sport of golf,” said Thompson.

In 2004, the UMES Golf Academy opened, offering indoor training for UMES students and establishing its first golf for-credit classes. Never satisfied with the status quo, Thompson challenged her staff with the goal of becoming a PGA-accredited university.

Dr. Ronald Forsythe, UMES vice president for technology and commercialization, was contacted in 2005 by Ellison after reading about Thompson’s goals for the UMES Golf Academy. Recalling the 13-step process the university undertook to become PGA-accredited and awarded the program, Forsythe said, “We had to send faculty to various PGA training programs. And then we had to make sure we had all of our resources in place, such as access to golf courses. Because for every student who goes through the program to be PGA certified, they have to pass the PAT (Player Ability Test).”

The two-year process to get accredited is not the end of the story, said Thompson. “This is just the start for us. One day, we will be exactly what our bowling team was this past weekend, national champions.”

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