Tee Time: A Conversation with a Golf Club Fitter
Ben Freundt graduated from the College of Natural Resources’ PGA Golf Management program in 2017. He is now in St. Simons Island, Georgia, working as a club fitter for The Golf Performance Center (GPC) at Sea Island Golf Club. We asked him what this role is like and how his time at NC State prepared him for the industry.
What is a typical day in your job like?
I am a club fitter at the Golf Performance Center at Sea Island Golf Club, which means I help people assess their current golf equipment and help them choose new equipment specifically for their swing. I am one of three full time club fitters at the GPC. We also have 12 full time instructors, two fitness specialists, a putting specialist and a sports psychologist to help people improve all aspects of their game.
A typical day for me would include fitting for most of the day. I could have two three-hour sessions or six one-hour sessions, depending on the client’s needs. The best part about my job is that I fit people of all skill levels, from PGA Tour Players to true beginners. When I am not fitting, I spend most of my time in our workshop where we service club orders for clients we already fit, build/repair golf clubs, re-grip clubs and adjust lofts/lies just to name a few.
What inspired you to study Professional Golf Management?
Golf was one of the last sports I picked up as a kid, but it slowly became more and more a priority for me. I am the only golfer in my family and I picked up a club for the first time the summer before high school. I knew I wanted to do something in golf, but had no idea what that might be. I did some research and came across the PGM program at NC State. Once I sat down with Andy and Susan, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
Where did you complete your internship(s)? How did the experience prepare you for work in your field?
I did four internships covering 19 months during my time in the program. I worked at Greensboro Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina (my hometown) for my first three-month internship. My second internship was for seven months at Oakcreek Country Club in Sedona, Arizona. My final two internships were completed at Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club in Cashiers, North Carolina for a total of nine months. Immediately following graduation, I was an Assistant Golf Professional at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Georgia for a year, before moving to the GPC in 2018.
The internships were crucial in preparing me for the real world. You can learn about the golf business from a classroom and get a general understanding, but actually being in the field with hands on experience makes a huge difference. Not only are you learning the skills to become a golf professional, but more importantly making networking connections along the way.
What was your favorite experience in the PGA Golf Management program?
The lifelong friendships I was able to create with other students in the program. Some of my best friends today I met in the program on my very first day of college. I always wanted to go to a bigger school for sports, which NC State provided, but the smaller size of the program allowed me to make a ton of friends and create networking connections for the future.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a current College of Natural Resources student?
Complete an internship, even if you’re not required to do so! I would not be where I am today without my internship experience. The second part of this would be to try something completely new or take a chance and try something far away! You will learn more about yourself than you think and worst case if you don’t like it, it has an end date. I would bet that most of the time it proves to benefit those who take the risk over those who do not.