Golf Academy of America graduate and U.S. Marine Eric Jordan makes transition to assistant golf pro
Sep 30, 2015
In many ways, golf is a deceptive game. To the outsider, it seems pretty straightforward — after all, how hard can it be to hit a ball that isn't even moving as in baseball or racket sports?
Those people are mistaken. Playing golf competently is difficult, but starting from scratch in the industry, moving through the ranks and forging a promising career is an arduous task. Success in the golf industry requires immense passion for the game and equally demands a large measure of raw work ethic.
Sounds like the perfect second act for a U.S. Marine, doesn't it?
It's no wonder that 26-year old Eric Jordan, an alumnus of Golf Academy of America's Myrtle Beach campus, currently finds himself in a rewarding position near one of golf's great destinations: Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Jordan is an assistant golf professional at Knollwood Fairways & Driving Range in Southern Pines. Knollwood Fairways isn't mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Pinehurst No. 2, Pine Needles and Mid Pines — it's a blue-collar golf facility through and through, and Jordan loves working there. It's a nine-hole, par-35 layout that measures a sporty 2,500 yards from the longest set of tees.
Whereas some larger facilities tend to pigeonhole their employees, Jordan's job at Knollwood Fairways is more immersive.
"I teach, help with clinics, fit clubs, do club repair and help customers," he says. And that's just the way he likes it.
"I knew I wanted to be a real golf pro," says Jordan. "And when I say that, I mean I didn't want to be the guy who stood behind the counter and folded sweaters and took in green fees. I want to teach people, fit clubs, do club repairs. At the job I have now, I do all of those things."
But it required a lot of sweat equity after graduation just to get Jordan to where he is now. His first post-grad position was with outside operations at the popular Tobacco Road Golf Club, located just north of Pinehurst in Sanford, North Carolina. There, Jordan's fascination with golf cart fleet management came in handy, among numerous other skills he acquired in his 16 months at Golf Academy of America.
His experience since then has reinforced what he has known all along: That no matter what you do, hard work pays off. When asked what advice he would give current and future students, Jordan first recommends beginning one's job search during the third of four semesters.
"Do not wait until graduation to find a job; be proactive," he says. "Also, be realistic and know that you may not land your dream job right out of college. You may have to pull your time running carts for 30 hours a week, but stick to it."