Growing a Love of the Game: PGA WORKS Fellow Mackenzie Culhane
By Abigail Kasitz
A passion for the game that goes beyond the course.
Former PGA WORKS Fellow Mackenzie Culhane has been able to turn her casual love of golf into a career path that is sure to lead her to success.
Culhane grew up in the small New York town of Avalon. She would visit her grandparents down near Pinehurst, and that’s where her interest in golf stemmed. But as she grew up, her dreams were off of the golf course and more on the ice rink.
“I graduated from SUNY Brockport with a major in sport management and a minor in communication,” she shared. “Growing up I was a big hockey fan, so I always wanted to work for the NHL. That was my dream.”
However, a chance encounter with a PGA Member may have changed the trajectory of her career.
“Brian Jacobs, PGA, came in and did a lecture about what he does, how he coaches and how he came to the level of the game. I was intrigued and interested, so I sent him an email and I became his intern.”
That internship opened her eyes to the possibility of a role for her in the golf industry. She ran events, helped with communications, managed players, and pitched in wherever needed. Then she found out about an PGA WORKS Fellowship with Brian’s Western New York Section.
PGA WORKS Fellowships provide the opportunity for a one-year, paid immersion in a PGA Section’s Foundation operations. Mackenzie applied and got the position, and immediately thrived, being exposed to several aspects of the golf industry within one role.
“I helped out with anything and everything that I could,” she said. “I helped a lot with the junior tour,” she said. “I was the lead on Doubles Golf and Drive, Chip & Putt.”
To say her internship was a success would be an understatement. Mackenzie was offered a full-time position on the Western NY Section staff as Member Engagements & Special Events Manager. One that she happily accepted and will begin in January.
“I’ll be handling our extracurricular events, such as PGA HOPE, PGA Junior League, Drive, Chip & Putt, Special Olympics and more.”
And, returning to her roots, Mackenzie gets to take the lead on running Western New York’s charity hockey game.
But the parts of the job that she’s most excited about are the ones that extend beyond the course. The ones that make the game special. Helping the community, building relationships and growing the game.
“Golf is more than just a game to so many people. It’s really cool to see how golf affects people of all types, all ages. It's a lifelong sport that creates lasting relationships and experiences. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
What’s next for Mackenzie? The opportunities are endless.