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Designed for Action: Sport Management Major Fosters New Experiences for York County’s Young Golfers

August 09, 2022
Ian Reilley and friend at golf outing

At York College, students aren’t just reading textbooks and listening to lectures. They’re working on community projects, solving real-world problems, and using their education to effect change. In Designed for Action, we meet the students who are making an impact outside of the classroom.

Ian Reilley ’23 used his connections and York College of Pennsylvania class work to help him take advantage of a hands-on opportunity to assist with the seven-week York County Junior Golf Association (YCJGA) tour.

Ian is an employee at Honey Run Golf Club. The Assistant General Manager there is Mitchell Beattie who became the new YCJGA tour director this year. Ian offered to help with the tour and says he knew it would be a good work experience.

Front-row seat to a career

He recalls watching the sun rise over the golf course at 6:55 a.m. on a Monday morning during the tour, knowing that in a few hours, two dozen children would play nine holes as part of the YCJGA 2022 tour.

Ian, a Sport Management major, spent the first part of his day moving tee boxes throughout the course. Once that was completed, he began registering his division of 8- to-12-year-old golfers before sending them onto the course.

For Ian, the experience has provided a front-row seat to a career in Sport Management.

“From the beginning, I needed to figure out what I needed to get my job done,” Ian says. “The entire operation, from getting people registered to getting golfers on the course, needs to run smoothly. These courses let us play the entire morning. You don’t want to come off late and extend the time of the afternoon’s golfers.”

Benefits of classroom skills

Ian worked with the YCJGA throughout the seven-week tour. He saw the benefits of the skills he has learned in the classroom.

“Although it’s a youth tour, it’s given me an outline on how tournaments are supposed to run,” Ian says. “If I wanted to do something in the golf world down the line, this gave me the chance on how to run outings and tournaments.”

Ian learned those skills as part of the Sport Management program’s practicum, a required 30 hours of work experience every semester. He spent the majority of his practicum working at York College basketball games.

“It was definitely an opportunity to see how an operation runs,” Ian says. “We were involved in ticket sales, dealing with customers, and the finance aspects of sports. That gave me the baseline on what it’s like to work with customers." 

Learning from the parents

The best part of Ian’s YCJGA service was meeting the young golfers and their parents and leaving a lasting impact on their experience on the course.

“Part of me was jealous watching these children on the tee box,” he says. “After a few weeks, I started to know the kids. I understood who they were and made connections with them and their parents.” 

Ian says the parents’ attitudes surprised him more than anything else during the experience. Growing up in sports, he became used to seeing parents argue with umpires or referees. He did not see that behavior among YCJGA parents, who he says helped him learn the game.

“I got a lot of help from the parents as they watched their kids play,” he says. “They might have asked a few questions, but they respected us and were there to cheer on their children.”

Ian isn’t sure of his career path after graduation, but the skills he’s learning in the Sport Management program are invaluable.

“No matter what I do, I’ll have the experience of dealing with customers and knowing how to bring in revenue in a business,” he says. “With all the practical experience I had in the program and on the tour, York College helped prepare me for wherever my next steps take me.”