Mark Dusbabek was a golf enthusiast long before he became a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. So, it was not a shock that, when his NFL career was over, he chose to spend his time on fairways and greens. He wanted to do more than just play a few rounds a week. He wanted to really get immersed in the game.
He took an entry level job in player development with the Metropolitan (N.Y.) PGA Section. Dusbabek was at every one of the section’s junior tournaments, riding alongside staffers and learning about rules and course setup. After moving west, he went to work for the Southern California Golf Association.
Using the same diligence and persistence that helped him make the University of Minnesota football team and get drafted in the pros, he worked his way up. In 2006, he became a rules official with the PGA Tour and has been in that job ever since—often joking that it doesn’t hurt to be 6-foot-3, 232 pounds when you have to deliver bad news.
His journey is testimony to the fact that there are careers to be found in golf beyond being a tour player or club pro. New trends and technologies have opened unforeseen doors with jobs for club-fitters, golf-specific trainers, statistical experts, managers of year-round indoor golf simulation facilities.
With the right mix of imagination, savvy and knowledge, a person can create his or her own niche in their favorite sport by following the adage, “find a need and fill it.”
Peter Kratsios of Manhasset, N.Y. was working in digital advertising when a few buddies asked him about taking up golf.
They were inhibited when he told them they might be paired with strangers, and much more experienced golfers. Kratsios mulled their situation and developed an app to match golfers with others who have similar skills or experience levels or interests.
GolfMatch was so successful, quickly developing a national network of 30,000 people, that he was able to leave his job and work on the app full time. He ultimately sold it and became director of sales business development for the burgeoning Topgolf company.
A new app, TeeUp, has emerged to help set up connections for golfers, some of whom might just decide to make their livelihoods in the sport.
Wherever your golf journey is heading, let’s get you there. There are nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals ready to help. Find yours at pga.com/journeys