Game-Changer: My Time as a Pathways Intern
Beginning in 2021, the USGA launched a paid internship around the U.S. Open. This is my firsthand account of being one of the lucky few who experienced the program.
It was an incredible honor to be one of the 20 USGA Pathways interns selected for the 2023 U.S Open at The Los Angeles Country Club. Throughout the course of the tournament week I experienced tremendous personal and professional growth in a short period of time.
I originally applied to the internship after learning about it in one of the SCGA newsletters (open those e-mails, folks!) and it seemed like a great opportunity. After summitting the online application, I went through a Zoom interview where I got to speak with USGA recruiters. Once I heard I was accepted into the program, I was ecstatic and knew it would be incredible.
The onboarding was extremely thoughtful and informative due to the diligent work of the USGA team. The program was led by DEI, Culture, and Community Director Kamille Ramos, with the help of Assistant Manager Morris Thomas and many other incredible people at the USGA and their partners.
Going into the internship, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But I was excited. My fellow interns and I were delighted with the schedule, which was jam-packed with networking opportunities, panels, workshops and events. The average day started early and ended late, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
We were also given a case competition, in which we were put into groups of four based on a business chemistry workshop we had with Deloitte. The prompt was to find a way to leave a lasting impact in the communities the U.S Open visits each year. This kind of critical thinking, big-picture planning and collaborative teamwork served as great professional development for all of us.
Even with the strenuous days and long nights, I can confidently say that the USGA Pathways Internship Program is, and always will be, one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I came into the internship thinking it was a great way to bolster my résumé and enjoy watching some of the highest caliber golf up close. But I came away with so much more: an expanded network, a deeper understanding of non-playing careers in golf, numerous soft skills and 19 incredibly talented peers.
Throughout the program, we had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look into the golf industry and meet professionals from the USGA, Deloitte and NBC Sports. We attended meaningful panels and visited incredible places around Los Angeles like SoFi Stadium, the LACC clubhouse, LA84 and NBC’s Universal Studios. We got to meet notable figures in the sports industry, including USGA CEO Mike Whan, former NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and many others.
Most importantly, I created meaningful connections and relationships with my fellow interns. All of them were vastly talented, and I learned quickly that they all had very bright futures. It was a tremendously insightful experience to be able to learn from — and with — my peers. We came from very diverse backgrounds and had many different aspirations. I gained so many new perspectives from each and every one of them. Moving forward from the internship, I know I’ll be keeping in contact with all of them, and I’m excited to see where their journeys take them.
Now that I’m home I’ve had the time to reflect on what those 10 days meant to me and what I’ll be taking with me into the future. I never thought that I’d experience so much personal growth in just 10 days. I learned the value of networking and the opportunities afforded to aspiring minds when you meet great people from different professional fields. I now have a better understanding of the golf industry and even the golf-adjacent careers that are available.
The USGA Pathways internship has left an indelible mark on my life, far beyond what I initially anticipated. It has instilled in me the value of seizing opportunities, embracing challenges and forging meaningful connections. As I move forward, I am confident that the lessons learned and experiences gained during this internship will guide me toward a bright and successful future.
I extend heartfelt gratitude to the USGA and all those involved for providing me with this life-changing opportunity.