My name is Chris Mari, I'm the NCCGA South Florida Regional Coordinator, an incoming senior at the University of Central Florida and total a golf nut. This Summer I had the chance of a lifetime to be a golf intern at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy at Mission Inn Golf Club, Florida.
Thanks to the NCCGA team, I was able to get in contact with the Director of Golf Bryan Mulry early on in the Spring Semester. A couple months later, I was informed I'd be one of the newest coaching interns for the 8 weeks of Summer Camp they have at the academy. Not only was I lucky enough to get be paid for this opportunity, but I was also given a bunch of other great perks. Free lunches, all expenses-paid furnished housing, frequent access to the training facilities and Mission Inn, heavily discounted golf rounds, and the opportunity to get certified as a coach for Gary Gilchrist.
If you aren't familiar with Gary Gilchrist, he’s a very well known coach for LPGA and PGA players including Lydia Ko, Paula Creamer, Shanshan Feng, Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn, and Morgan Hoffmann. To say his coaching resume is impressive is an understatement, and his playing experience on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa is just icing on the cake.
For those 8 weeks, I learned everything pertaining to total game improvement: full-swing, chipping, bunker play, putting, fitness and mental aspect, as well. Instead of getting coffee and donuts for the coaches, I was thrown right into the mix. I was given a lot of responsibility and learned how to get the most out of each player.
The hours were long. On paper the internship was 35 hours per week, but I was probably spending closer to 60+ hours on the course between lending an additional hand where I could and working on my game whenever possible.
I believe my hard work paid off as I was given a unique opportunity with Grant Balke, our Director of Training. I had the pleasure to work 1 on 1 with him and incorporate the latest technology such as Trackman and K-Vest once a week to transform my game. Thanks to him I brought my handicap down from 2 to 0 in only 2 months; a gap I thought would take years. Glad to say I am still working with him to this very day.
Each day was better than the next, and 8 weeks later, I was one of two interns that earned a Level I coaching certification from the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy. I still keep in touch with all the coaches and staff at GGGA, they've been terrific friends, mentors and hope to continue this great relationship. It was truly an amazing golf internship and summer.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy provides great opportunities for junior golfers and students seeking internships and/or careers in golf. If interested, visit their website to learn more and find current/future job opportunities.