Creating a Fairway to the Golf Industry for Everyone Through PGA WORKS
By Hayden Lewis, PGA
Over the last eight months, Destany Hall has served as the Georgia PGA Paul Millsap PGA WORKS Fellow in Atlanta.
During her time in Georgia, Destany Hall’s aspirations of making a difference for others has only grown to new heights.
Hall has created a lasting legacy all her own in the last eight months as the Georgia PGA Section’s Paul Millsap PGA WORKS Fellow, sharing a passion and drive for golf and the people it connects that hardly goes unnoticed.
Named in honor of the four-time NBA All-Star Paul Millsap, the PGA WORKS Fellowship is a year-long immersion into the golf industry and gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to work for the PGA of America’s Georgia Section in Atlanta. PGA WORKS leverages fellowships, scholarships and career exploration events across the country, as well as the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, to engage diverse talent, helping them pursue key employment positions across the golf industry.
Growing up in the Dallas suburbs, Hall was an avid junior golfer. From the Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour to the Texas Junior Golf Tour and Hurricane Tour, she spent most of her childhood on the golf course or going to golf tournaments.
“I actually grew up on hole No. 7 at my home club and was lucky enough to be introduced to the game at a very young age by my grandfather,” Hall remembers.
Her talents on the golf course would take her to one of the largest HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the country, Texas Southern University, to play for their women’s golf team. While Hall’s track in the golf industry was set early on, she’s now started seeing the impact that golf has made on her life.
“I know the reason I’m where I am today is because of other PGA Professionals,” she says.
After starting her Fellowship last summer in Georgia, Hall quickly came to this revelation of how she could instill the same values she’s learned through the game in young professionals and students, all by leveraging the same tool she used growing up: her local PGA Professionals.
“I want other young players and students who aren’t familiar with what a Section is or other careers in the golf industry to see there is something for them, too,” notes Hall.
In addition to engaging the next generation of young professionals, Hall also shares a passion for creating more representation in the golf industry. She says it was hard to find a PGA Professional of color – let alone a woman PGA Professional of color.
“It’s one of the biggest reasons I decided to pursue a PGA WORKS Fellowship,” says Hall. “I’ve always loved the game and what it’s given to me, but growing up I have also noticed the lack of diversity as a black woman in golf.”
As Destany’s golf journey was taking shape, her parents introduced her to Maulana Dotch, PGA, who she took lessons from at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas. Dotch, the second Black woman to receive PGA Membership — PGA Hall of Famer Renee Powell was the first in 1996 — helped guide and inspire Hall to think more seriously about her future career in the game. After graduating from Texas Southern University, Hall completed an internship with the PGA of America in the Career Services Department and served as an Assistant Professional under Maulana Dotch at Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston.
“At that point, I really wanted to start exploring other careers in golf – there are just so many paths you can take,” Hall adds.
With some experience under her belt now, Hall’s path seems to be crystalizing.
At the beginning of the year, she led the creation and launch of the first-of-its-kind Georgia PGA WORKS Mentorship Program, which offers students from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to develop meaningful professional and personal relationships with PGA Professionals and executives in the golf industry.
“I certainly would not have the same opportunities if it weren’t for the PGA Professionals who have nudged me along the path I’m on now,” says Hall. “I wanted to build the mentorship program in Georgia with the same focus so other students can have that steady person in their life. PGA Professionals have paved the way for me and sparked the whole idea behind the mentorship program.”
Right now, the Georgia PGA WORKS Mentorship Program is catered to freshmen and sophomores in high schools around the Atlanta metropolitan area. Hall has also recruited the help of other organizations like First Tee and AJGA to engage students who could benefit from the program. She says the program allows participants to choose flexible schedules that fit around the business of academic and athletic agendas, plus mentees can gain hands-on work experience through shadowing opportunities and expand their network at Georgia PGA Section and Foundation events.
“It’s allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and help build something that future Paul Millsap PGA WORKS Fellows can take charge of and call their own during the Fellowship,” says Hall. “I really hope this program can be picked up by other Sections. I think the transition from high school to college and college to young adulthood is getting tougher. I just hope more leaders, especially in the golf industry, can see this as a valuable tool for young adults.”
Hall’s time in Georgia has convinced her that she is ready for whatever comes next in her career, but one thing is certainly clear: her legacy will continue to shape the sport of golf and beyond for those following in her footsteps.
“I’ve really tried to be intentional with my time, “says Hall. “What I love about the Fellowship is that it allows you to see what all is out there – even beyond golf. Thanks to the partnership between PGA WORKS, the Georgia PGA and the Paul Millsap Foundation,I feel like I’m already equipped for my next career move.”
PGA WORKS is a strategic initiative, designed to diversify the golf industry’s workforce funded by PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America. To learn more about PGA WORKS, visit pgareach.org.