PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (July 12, 2017) – On Sunday, July 16, CBS Sports will present “Turning Passion into Profession”—an hour-long special narrated by PGA Professional Gary McCord, which introduces viewers to PGA Professionals nationwide and highlights the diverse roles they play as experts in the game and business of golf. The program will air on CBS at 2 p.m. ET, prior to final-round coverage of the John Deere Classic.
The show is designed to inspire men, women and children of all ages who are enthusiastic about the game to turn their passions into careers in golf. PGA Member career paths of Instruction, Golf Operations and General Management are showcased, along with other opportunities to enter the industry, such as an entrepreneur, college coach and golf foundation executive. Among the featured PGA Professionals and their highlighted career paths are:
Joe Assell, PGA - President/CEO, GOLFTEC, Denver – In 1995, Assell took a leap of faith into golf instruction based on technology and computers to help people play better golf. From there, he built GOLFTEC into the world’s largest golf instruction company and one of the top employers of PGA Professionals.
Alison Curdt, PGA/LPGA – PGA Director of Instruction at Wood Ranch Golf Club, Simi Valley, California - The youngest woman to ever become a PGA Master Professional, Curdt qualified for the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, her fourth appearance in this major. The 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year and one of Golf Digest's “Best Young Teachers in America,” Curdt inspires others to play the game and pursue a golf career.
Scott Davenport, PGA – PGA Head Professional, Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte - Davenport is only the second PGA Head Professional in Quail Hollow history. He offers a preview of the upcoming 99th PGA Championship and what is involved in hosting the Club’s first major. Davenport also enjoyed a special day of coaching Carolina Panthers players Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly and Greg Olsen.
Eric Eshleman, PGA – PGA Director of Golf, The Country Club of Birmingham (Alabama) - A PGA Member since 1995, and the recently elected Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section President, Eshleman is featured with his most recognizable student for the past five years, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and European Tour player Paul Dunne.
Quincy Heard, PGA – Founder and CEO of Summit Golf Foundation; Warner Pacific College Head Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach, Portland – After serving in the U.S. Navy, Heard entered the golf profession as one of the first African-American PGA Professionals in the Pacific Northwest. He coaches the Warner Pacific College men’s and women’s golf teams; started the Summit Golf Foundation, which introduces boys and girls to the game, including kids in foster care; and mentored nearly 1,500 youth through the Portland Golf Association.
Stephanie Jennings, PGA– Assistant PGA Professional at Meadowbrook Country Club, Northville, Michigan - Jennings is making her mark by growing the women’s golf program at historic Meadowbrook Country Club. Throughout her career, she has been involved in all aspects of golf from working as a PGA Assistant Professional to executive management at the Executive Women’s Golf Association to program administrator with the Middle Atlantic PGA Section.
Michael Leemhuis, PGA – President, Ocean Reef Club; John Lyberger, PGA – Vice President, Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, Florida – Beyond their club’s size and scope—more than 5,000 members and nearly 1,200 in-season employees across 98 departments—these two decorated PGA General Managers also oversee the operation of an airstrip, marina, hotel and three golf courses, making their operation on-par with the management of a small city.
Sherri Pla, PGA – PGA Head Professional, Sandhill Crane Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – Pla is the popular PGA Head Professional at a City of Palm Beach Gardens-owned public golf course. This year, she became the first PGA Member to establish a PGA Junior League Golf program in South Florida, with more than 80 boys and girls. Pla’s passion for junior golf is extraordinary, as she leads innovative programs that are attracting new players to the game.
Jessie Walker, PGA – General Manager, Cypress Lakes at Travis AFB Vacaville, California – Walker, who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, has guarded generals, ambassadors and heads of state during his military career. Now, a PGA Certified Professional, he brought the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program—which teaches golf to military veterans— to Northern California in 2015, earning the Section’s Patriot Award in 2016.