The COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation greatly disrupted America’s labor force. Nearly 50 million workers quit their jobs in 2021, and romance with remote work still makes it difficult for in-person, hands-on positions to be fulfilled.
The golf industry is no exception. Who wants to work 70 hours a week, all away from home, when work-life balance has never been higher on priority lists?
A solution: Golf companies are turning to On Course Foundation.
The organization is a blessing for wounded, injured and sick military veterans. Living in society is hard enough and assimilating back into society after years or even decades of service in faraway, war-torn lands is even harder. There are physical disabilities like lost limbs, and invisible wounds like PTSD, flashbacks, anxiety and depression.
This is where On Course Foundation comes in. It conducts programs in 15 regions nationwide, teaching golf and golf business skills to its more than 2,000 “members” domestically as a successful means of recovery and rehab. It then places them in full- and part-time golf-industry jobs for lifelong careers.
“Service members are known to give it their all, demonstrating unparalleled work ethic, dedication and commitment to the sport and business of golf,” said Shauna Snyder, a 32-plus-year military veteran who directs employment placement for On Course Foundation.
In the golf course, country club and resort segment of the industry, Troon, Invited, Century Golf, TPC, Topgolf Callaway Brands, Marriott Golf and Landscapes Unlimited lead the class on employers matched with On Course Foundation members. Positions have included work in golf shops, on maintenance and construction crews, outside services, food and beverage, marketing and sales, human resources, technology, accounting and overall facility management.
And these companies are happy as military training — and the discipline it can instill — means they’re gaining high-performing workers with the right attitudes to learn proficiencies. Veterans are accustomed to putting in a hard day’s work, wearing their jobs like badges of honor. They don’t quit until it’s a job well done. They understand teamwork. There’s an inherent sense of responsibility and problem solving. And safety? Security is what the armed forces is all about.
Craig Richardson, a proud On Course Foundation member who lost a leg below his knee in Afghanistan, worked for VPAR, Callaway and is now full-on at the famous Baltusrol Golf Club. Jesse Williamson, who lost both legs below the shin and suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, is a productive employee at Black Gold Golf Course in Yorba Linda, California. Ty Campbell, who blew out his knee jumping from a helicopter against terrorists in the Arabian Sea, continues to rise through the ranks at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Those are just three examples of so many placements and lives transformed thanks to On Course Foundation and golf at large.
“On Course Foundation is lifesaving in helping me transition to a new life, post-discharge,” Richardson said. “It gave me a purpose and a great career in golf. There’s nothing more I love than family and golf.”
Like most organization members, Richardson never really paid attention to or picked up a golf club prior to introductions to the organization.
After military service, everything else in life can become relatively easy — perfect for golf business owners, superintendents, and On Course Foundation members.