During football season, Harvard senior linebacker Austin McLeod hits people, but this summer he's hitting golf balls as a PGA Tour intern. McLeod (who never played golf prior to this past spring) talks about being responsible for over 40 other PGA Tour interns, playing golf twice a week for free and chatting about golf with R&B singer Lloyd at a night club.
How did you get the internship?A family friend of mine had told me about opportunities with the PGA tour after I told him about how I wanted to get into the sports industry. So, I applied and got a call in March and did the telephone interviews. Then, I actually called them in late April on what my status was and she told right on the spot that they had a position for me.
Did you have any previous experience in the field?I have actually had zero experience prior to this. I've never played golf before this spring. I've never been on the corporate side of sports besides playing and coaching.
Why did you pick this job?I think for me, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door and gain experience in the sports industry. And also to step out of my comfort zone and venture out on my own and learn a sport that would be important for me later on.
What was your first day like?We had orientation for three days and we learned a lot about the golf industry and played nine holes of golf. The first day of work was informative. I got to meet the other members of the human resources department and got an overview of how it functions in the PGA tour.
Were you nervous because you weren't as experienced in golf as some of the others?It was actually a good mixture of interns that played in summer and that had never played before. And the ones that weren't as good, well, we were bad together.
What do you do on most days?My main responsibility is that I am the human resource person for all 42 of the interns. So if they have any issues for the housing or pay or hours they deal with me. And I basically take care of them. Aside from that, I coordinate projects, including the internship brochure, I am in charge of re-designing that and in charge of updating the website and in charge of getting current profiles of interns.
Where is the job? Where are you living?If you are not local, they provide you with apartment housing. We live in Jacksonville and travel to Ponte Vedra Beach. It's a 20-minute drive. We have to provide our own cars or carpool.
Any perks?There is basically all the golf that you can play. I am a beginning golfer but I place twice a week. I see it as a way to take advantage of it. If we don't rent a golf cart, it is completely free if we decide to walk. Since I've been playing so much lately, a lot of people can't believe I am a beginning golfer.
Have you met any famous people?A couple. We have met Fred Funk who lives down here and practices and Vijay Singh. We have also met non-golfers like Coach Coughlin from the Giants who was here on vacation and Tim Tebow.
What's been the toughest part?Pushing myself to constantly learn and get a greater understanding of the HR department. It is so easy to get focused on one or two projects and not really learn about the grand scheme of things.
What's been the best part?Just being around a really diverse group of individuals. I am getting paid to learn about golf and play it. And its one of those things I really enjoy doing. I probably would not have gotten into it at this age without this internship. I probably would have been in my mid- to late-30s.
Biggest down side?I guess for me being on my own and not being with the football team in terms of workouts. I am the only football player on the Tour. I have to workout on my own and find ways to stay in shape.
What is most unique about this internship?I would have to say the sense of community that the Tour emphasizes. You just understand immediately by spending time with the interns. It is about cultivating friendship and having that sense of community.
Is this something you want to do in the future?At first, I was using HR to see how the sports industry works, but now I have gotten so much real application for it and I really enjoy it. Through this internship I have realized that one of my strengths is dealing with people and coordinating events, so I can definitely see myself getting into this type of thing.
What's your dream job?My dream job is to be a sports agent and I have actually come in contact with a person in the legal department here who was a sports agent before. He had experience with teams and with players and now he enjoys being here working for the Tour. And I can totally see myself doing the same thing.
Any funny stories from your experiences at your internship?This past Monday me and another intern went to this club and hung out with R&B singer Lloyd in the V.I.P. And sure enough we were talking about golf. He was asking about the Tour and what we do and how it works. And he showed general interest in it. It was crazy; we are sitting in V.I.P. at a club talking about--golf!
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