Employment in the sport management industry is expected to grow up to 13 percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, faster than the average for other occupations. Colleen Cully of Parsons Xtreme Golf is a PXG evangelist and a proud Jacksonville University (JU) Master of Science in Sport Management (MS-SM) graduate, Class of 2017.
“The industry is constantly growing and changing. New products, new companies, and new technology for the golf industry is launching and premiering almost as fast as you can dream it up.” Cully has been working with PXG for a little more than a year and says that even companies with long histories are changing how they operate to cater more to consumers.
“Retailers are changing what brands they carry and the way they do fittings. Golfers are ready and want the product fast. It is very exciting to watch how the sport industry, and golf in particular, is expanding.”
Teeing Up Her Passion
Cully grew up playing golf and spending her after school hours, weekends, and any other free time on a golf course. “PGA Tour events were always on our TV at home. It wasn’t just something I enjoyed but a passion.”
Playing competitively elementary through high school, she continued to play during her undergraduate years at the UNC-Wilmington. Then an injury forced her out of the game which led to transferring to the University of Dayton.
“Golf taught me etiquette, integrity, and business skills that I didn’t even realize that I’d picked up until after college.”
Cully’s first job after graduation started with a connection made on the green. “Little did I know that, six years later, I’d go back for a Master in Sport Management, intern for The Valspar Championship, and land an amazing job at PXG.”
JU’s School of Applied Health Sciences, through the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, aims to prepare students for leadership roles in sports-related fields in as little as 12 months. Marketing, finance, management, sponsorship, public relations, and communications are key positions where MS-SM graduates have found success.
“The classes I took helped me understand everything from licensing to finances,” said Cully. Six years after completing her Bachelor of Arts in History, she decided to make a career shift and get back into sports. “I’d been working in the dental industry, which I loved, but was ready for a new challenge, a change. The thought of going back to school was intimidating, but my childhood golf coach and mentor, Bill Hughes, who knew about JU’s program, encouraged me to try.”
Finding Her Online Fit
Access to online classes sealed the deal for Cully and gave her the freedom to ease back into higher education without giving up her full-time job. She completed the 12-course (36 credit hours) business-focused program in one year. “It happened in the blink of an eye. Most importantly, despite being online, the program helped establish connections that allowed me to grow in both business and sports knowledge.”
She understands the hesitancy of students who avoid online options out of fear of detachment. But at JU, that scenario was the opposite of what Cully experienced. “I was able to call my professors, email classmates, and participate in video conferences as needed. My cohort became close. None of us felt awkward about contacting one another, whether to reach out for help or to ask a quick question.”
JU has developed strong relationships over the years across a variety of sports industry niches, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, the PGA Tour, NCAA, and other premier organizations. The ideal location of the University provides faculty members regular interaction with professional, collegiate, and community sports organizations while offering opportunities for students to gain hands-on industry experience.
Based out of Jupiter, Cully is now part of PXG’s South Florida sales team and helps custom fit golf clubs for PXG customers from all walks of life. “Everything from putter to driver can be custom fit to a player’s game. We work directly with players or through their respective clubs. Nobody makes golf clubs the way we do. Period.”
Though PXG is still relatively new to the golf industry, Cully said it is growing daily. “It‘s exciting to be a part of the PXG family and brand. I hope to be here for a long time.”
For Cully, it’s PXG and JU Dolphins all the way.