At Campbell University, Gabriella Story, PGA, is Shaping the Next Generation of PGA of America Members
By Abby Parsons, PGA
Gabriella Story (far right) is guiding future PGA Members every day at Campbell University.(Donnelly Wolf/PGA of America)
“I didn’t have the bug to play, but I knew I wanted to make golf a career.”
And that she did.
PGA of America Golf Professional Gabriella Story is currently the PGA Golf Management (PGM) Program Director at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and this week she's serving as head coach for the program's PGA University Championship team.
But not long ago, she was actually the one sitting amongst other PGM students taking notes in class just up the road at at NC State.
After several internships at top courses all over the country — Minnesota's vaunted Interlachen Country Club and picturesque Riomar Country Club on Florida's east coast to name a few — it took working at the PGA of America for a summer internship to help her understand her path.
“I just followed each internship to see where it took me,” Story says. “I never had an end goal. I knew it would fall into place.”
The PGM Student Services Coordinator position opened up at her alma mater and she had a gut feeling it was the spot for her.
“The position morphed over the five years I was there,” Story adds. “I did a little bit of everything and learned a lot. I knew I wanted to be a Program Director but there are only 17 positions in the country. I had to be patient.”
Then the position at Campbell opened up.
“It was like the perfect storm,” remembers Story when she saw the role get posted.
Story had just got settled into her job at NC State, her family moved to the area, and her and her fellow PGM graduate husband, Andrew Story, were happy. But Story knew the potential of the job and applied for the position in early July.
By the end of the month she was offered the position.
“It was such a fast process, but I knew it was the place for me," adds Story, who is now one of three female directors in the country and the youngest at 29. “Being a director came faster than I thought it would."
Story was overjoyed to start working as the new Program Director at Campbell University.
“They wanted me to bring energy to a program that means so much to its students, and I was ready to do that,” Story says.
Now you can find her at the front of the classroom, teaching the curriculum and working as a liaison with the PGA of America to make sure her students are progressing properly.
“The hardest part for students these days is actually a good problem to have in their shoes. There are so many jobs and internships available, but it can be difficult to envision their path,” Story says. "I enjoy helping them find that path. I like connecting with the students because I’m not too far removed and can understand their view.”
When asked what her own next steps are, Story chuckled.
"Well this was the end goal,” she says, “Now I’m just focusing on doing a good job and then working towards becoming a Specialized then Certified PGA Professional. I want to be more involved in the Section, too.”
Looking further into the future, however, Story envisions an ever bigger goal.
"Once I saw Suzy Whaley become the President of the PGA, it sparked something in me. I want to do that one day. That is something to shoot for."
Gabriella Story, PGA
For now, she's right where she needs to be — helping the next generation of PGA Members find their way.
“As PGA Members, we are promoted as the experts, which I think is awesome," says Story. "It is neat we have our own niche in the industry and there are so many career paths we can take to carry on this expertise and be influential."