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How one man’s dedication to golf helped start thousands of businesses

PJ Boatwright III caddies at the US Amateur Four-Ball on Saturday.

Jonathan Ernst/USGA

Earlier this week, outside the USGA Golf Museum and Library in Liberty Corner, NJ, a lifelong golfer named PJ Boatwright III stood before a crowd of kindred spirits, talking about his late father of the same name.

“I told them that whatever path they take in their careers, I hope they will be fulfilled like my father was,” Boatwright said in a phone interview.

Boatwright is 68 years old. Most of his audience was about a third of his age, too young to have met his father but old enough — and focused enough — to benefit from his history. The event was a welcome dinner for this year’s PJ Boatwright Jr. entrants. The Internship Program, a powerful launch pad for golf careers, is named in honor of the man who paved the way for the game.

His son said: “There is no better way to remember him.

Raised in South Carolina, the elder Boatwright was a novice golfer who won two Carolina Opens, qualified for four US Masters and played 72 holes in the 1950 US Open at Merion, won by Ben Hogan. But his technical future was beyond the course.

After serving as head of the Carolina Golf Association, Boatwright joined the USGA as an assistant director in 1959, and was named executive director 10 years later. In that role, he was recognized as the world’s foremost expert on the Laws of Golf, which he helped revise in 1984. He also oversaw course planning for the US Open and other USGA tournaments.

Boatwright died of cancer in 1991. He was 63 years old. The USGA established an apprenticeship program that year. What started modestly, with 20 interns helping 13 golf clubs across the country, grew rapidly, nearly doubling in size by 1997. Today, there are more than 3,300 golf alumni working in golf and other sports management.

Among them is Anna Kittelson, 23, who was introduced to the sport by her grandfather, a professional golfer, at the age of 12 and went on to compete at the University of Delaware. At one point, Kittelson considered trying to play for a living, but after college, while working on a course in Delaware, he encountered a golf swing that inspired him. A different vision for his future began to emerge. Encouraged by a mentor to apply to the Boatwright program, Kittelson received a scholarship, which funded an internship at the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP). That position, which Kittelson started last May, has been replaced full-time as GAP’s manager of flexible golf.

“The internship was very important because it gave me the runway I needed to learn,” Kittelson said. “It opened my eyes to all the different career opportunities that exist in golf.”

Anna Kittelson turned an internship into a full-time career in golf swings
Anna Kittelson did a Boatwright internship and worked on a flexible golf course.

Courtesy of the USGA

It’s a sentiment echoed by many who have trained at Boatwright, including Emily Furderer, 31, who shared her experience working with First Tee, Florida, which led to an opportunity on the PGA Tour, where she works today as a coach. senior community manager and installation.

“As a young person, when you think about sports and leagues, you don’t always think about all the different ways you can get into this industry,” Furderer said. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe how much I’ve learned about golf, and how many amazing places this game has taken me.”

The USGA support that helped him isn’t just for young beginners. The Boatwright Program is open to applicants of all ages and backgrounds. In recent years, scholarships have been awarded to several people in their 40s and 50s who were looking to change careers. Last year, a former high school teacher and military veteran went through the process.

Golf is like that. It takes root and spreads. As the son of a prominent USGA official, the younger Boatwright grew up in Connecticut with the game all around him. As a successful young player, he played one year in college, but, he says, “I never had the desire to play well.”

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He worked in magazine publishing instead, starting as a writer and becoming a marketing manager before spending seven years as a financial adviser. His working life now behind him, he has established himself as a singer, writing and performing under the stage name Purvis (his initials, like those of his father before him, stand for Purvis James). One of his songs, “Retirement,” includes soldiers explaining how he plans to spend his time.

I’m going to play golf, a lot of golf, even though it pisses me off. I will play again and again, because I always have.

Incidentally, Boatwright is on the course this weekend, although not playing. You’re kidding. In a fitting fit, his sons, Graham, 30, and Jack, 23, both qualified for the US Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which began on Saturday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Boatwright takes care of Graham, while his daughter, Casey, arrests Jack. His wife, Cathy, a former USGS law enforcement officer, is also there.

For the Boatwrights, golf is a family affair that connects them to a wider community of people who love the game and, in many cases, earn a living from it. Boatwright’s reminder came earlier this week, as he addressed an audience that included veteran USGA officials and fresh-faced up-and-comers alike.

“I was very happy to see how successful this program was and to hear the stories about the positive impact it had,” said Boatwright. “I know that my father is highly respected. He spent 35 years on the golf course, and loved every minute of it. That’s all he wanted to do.”

Josh Sens Editor

Golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a contributor to GOLF Magazine since 2004 and now contributes to all areas of GOLF. His work has been honored in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Have Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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