A PGA Advisor: Kendall Murphy
By Keith Stewart, PGA
The life and career training of a PGA Professional is built on the Mentor-Apprentice relationship. In a modern sense, there’s nobody better to exemplify both sides of this synergy than Kendall Murphy. Once a PGM program participant now a leader in golf’s great ecosystem, Kendall’s first impression makes an impact. Like Rory ripping driver he doesn’t hold back. His infectious nature and passion for helping others permeates from his persona.
His current role as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Troon is completely new. Much like other PGA Leaders we have featured, he’s actively developing his own job description. That’s really where Murphy’s PGA journey begins even before his days at UNLV. At eighteen years old we all hold so many answers, problem is we have no idea what the questions are going to be.
Take a moment and listen to a brief conversation with Kendall Murphy on The PGA Show
That’s where Kendall strongly believes in the power of partnerships. When it comes to the decision- making process, the more information you can gather, the better. Even more important, the more partners you include in the conversation. Well, that’s an even bigger key to success. When it came to determining a career path prior to college, he sought out advice from his most trusted advisors. Throughout his tenure at UNLV as a student, this life principle remained at the forefront of determining his path.
While at UNLV, Kendall explored every golf industry discipline. As he moved from Tournament Operations to Coaching, Management to Business, he did a very “Kendall” thing. He approached more mentors. Murphy’s example should be a lesson in any walk of life. Never be afraid to interact with the leaders of your industry. By accepting all these apprentice roles throughout his formative years, a true understanding of the power relationships can create became important to him.
Soon after UNLV, Murphy went and earned his Masters in Kinesiology. When you speak to Kendall, you are instantly aware of how important his education is to him. It’s no wonder he quickly became an integral part of the PGM Program that helped shape him. For the next nine years, Murphy took his alma mater’s program to new heights. In that time, a transformation of sorts was taking place. In the same spaces where Kendall reached out, he was now being solicited.
Of all the lessons Kendall Murphy can teach us, here’s the most important. All mentor relationships are a two-way street. A great mentor will gain as much benefit from the mentee as that apprentice will gain from them. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You can see it clearly as Kendall’s quick career turnaround took place. Where he once was the student, he now walked the same sidewalks as the advisor, the mentor. His willingness to always engage others gave him a very strong appreciation for mentor relationships. In doing so, he was perfectly trained to lead an award-winning PGA Management Program.
Golf career paths share a lot in common with the game itself. They can be varied and complex, rewarding, fun, and most of all unique. There’s a theme to Kendall’s cool chronicle. Never stop interacting with others along your journey. Getting to know others and build relationships, creates keys, tools to open doors in the future. As Kendall set himself apart as a young PGA Leader at UNLV the executive world began to take notice.
After nearly a decade on his resume at UNLV, another career question was placed on Murphy’s mantle. The PGA of America was offering a great opportunity on the national team. Kendall had been trying to expand his network nationwide and this role might be the answer. Every decision involves others. Kendall keeps to his values. In doing so, he’s able to make important decisions through thought rather than fear. An important distinction and one Murphy shares often with others.
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Working as a PGA Career Consultant this year was a very fulfilling opportunity for this lifelong advisor. Most people think all advisors do is give out sage wisdom, but the true essence of a great counselor comes from their willingness to listen and observe first. Then work together with another person toward a successful solution. His appointment as a member of the PGA Career Services team followed a very logical career storyline.
Golf is a global game and there’s no doubt it needs more thoughtful leaders like Kendall in its ecosystem. This industry is a people first community. Kendall has excelled at all levels because he understands that. If you love the experience of working with others as a coach, colleague, or competitor you must contact someone like Kendall. He continually makes golf cool in everything he does. As a result, he draws more people to the game. Careers in golf can be modern and they can be developed.
Just when it seems this story might be over, here comes the best part. Kendall’s commitment to this advisor’s way of life earned him a call recently. Executives from the largest company in golf reached out to him. They asked Murphy to run one of their divisions. There was a catch… it didn’t exist yet. Imagine Kendall’s excitement and fear in receiving this amazing offer. Knowing fear wouldn’t shape his decision- making process, he chose to be excited.
Starting in November, Murphy became the leading director of DEI for Troon. He’s tasked with making golf’s largest experience company more inclusive going forward. It’s an immense undertaking, but rather than get easily overwhelmed, Kendall quickly remembered his roots in the industry. By calling upon not only his mentors but apprentices too, he’s building a strategy to succeed. In many ways, the coolest aspect of his story might be that it is truly just beginning.
All leaders perform certain actions every day. When asked his, Kendall responds with, “The common denominator for me is prayer.” Most people pray when they are in need of something. When they are searching for help. In Kendall’s case, he prays because even at the highest level we can develop a mentor relationship. This advisor’s life is just getting started, yet when you talk to him, he maintains so much perspective.
Let’s all learn from his example and do our very best to build better personal and network relationships. After all, that two-way road just might lead you down the highway to success!