KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

Local Students Look “Beyond the Green” at 84th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

May 23, 2024



High school students introduced to careers surrounding golf

Editors: For photos, click here.

BENTON HARBOR, Michigan (May 23, 2024) - The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores is more than simply a showcase for some of the game’s most accomplished golfers. Championship week also displays the many different industries that work in and around the game. Just before the tournament started, a group of local high school students attended PGA WORKS Beyond the Green, a career-exploration event.

On Wednesday, nearly 80 students from local schools and programs—including the Michigan Hospitality Foundation, Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan, the Benton Harbor Area Schools culinary program and the Boys & Girls Club—were given an exclusive opportunity aimed to educate and inspire people from historically underrepresented backgrounds about careers surrounding the $102 billion golf industry.

After a message from PGA of America President John Lindert, the day included tours of the Whirlpool Innovation Center and the Corewell Health Center for Wellness, as well as panel discussion led by hosts Doug Smith and Will Lowry on what it means to live a “Bold Life.” Students also had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with  VR gaming, golf and, of course, cooking.

“Golf is not just about hitting a golf ball around a course, there are so many other roles and opportunities to be involved in,” Lindert, the PGA Director of Golf at the Country Club of Lansing, told the students. “Find something you’re truly passionate about and then find a mentor, someone who will guide you to opportunities. Hopefully today will open your eyes a little bit as to what the golf industry has to offer. But, it’s really about looking yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘what do I love to do?’”

Students also heard from three-time Emmy-winning news reporter and 16 News Now Anchor Joshua Short; Realm Restaurant Group Executive Chef and Co-Owner Chris Covelli; PGA of America Director of Volunteers Rachel Wright; and Whirlpool Corporation Community Relations and Foundation Giving Leader Stefanie Harvey-Vandenberg.

“Be true to who you are,” Short advised. “I tried so hard to figure out who I can be like and what I can do to look like others I saw. Then I realized the most successful people are people who are just themselves. They have a talent and they use that talent to continue to grow themselves, their brand and those around them. As soon as I did that, things for me started to change personally and professionally.”

The day introduced students to careers in the culinary, hospitality, medical, engineering and tech industries. They even had the opportunity to learn how to make pasta with their own hands.

“I learned a lot from the panels and the different places we toured today,” said Benton Harbor High School senior Jaidon Lacy. “I definitely see myself working in golf. Right now I’m playing golf in high school and my plan is to hopefully play in college and get into sports management.”

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, PGA WORKS leverages fellowships, scholarships, career-exploration events and the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship to inspire and engage talent from diverse backgrounds to pursue key employment positions across the golf industry.

The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, golf’s most historic and prestigious senior Major Championship, will be contested May 23-26 and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC. The action can also be taken in through and by following @seniorpgachamp on Facebook, Instagram and X.

About PGA of America REACH Foundation

The PGA of America REACH Foundation is the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America. The mission of the Foundation is to positively impact the lives of youth, military and diverse populations by enabling access to PGA of America Golf Professionals, PGA Sections and the game of golf. For more information on the PGA of America REACH Foundation, visit, follow @PGAREACH on Instagram, X, formerly known as Twitter and find us on Facebook.

Media Contact

Jesse Dodson, PGA of America,