Pursuing a career

Types of internships

Internship programs are different at each university or college with respect to timing within the degree program, duration of the internship, design of the placement, goals of the participants and the focus of the requirements.

Internships can vary significantly, from a truly educational, career-building experience to one of just being an extra hand in the labor force. A good experience should be a combination of practical, hands-on participation coupled with a focused educational goal that complements your professional aspirations.

The three essential people in a successful internship experience are the student, the faculty member acting on behalf of the institution (usually the faculty advisor/program coordinator) and the member of the golf course staff (usually the superintendent) acting on behalf of the golf course. Each plays an equally important part in the success of the experience and all must work together to direct the internship.

The three most frequently encountered internship placement programs are:

  • Curriculum
  • Required
  • Optional

Each of these programs carries some academic credit value.
Schools that offer curriculum internships are usually ones that own a golf course or are closely associated with area golf courses. Normally, the school handles all arrangements for the internship. Schools with required or optional internships may have job placement assistance to coordinate this training with non-affiliated golf courses for you. Other schools leave it up to you to make all of the arrangements.

If your academic program does not have an internship or cooperative work program, it is strongly recommended that you work on a golf course during summer breaks or whenever possible. If the school offers a work program but the amount of credit that can be earned is limited, you are encouraged to gain as much varied work experience on a non-credit basis as possible during your school years. Experience makes a difference when competing for the more attractive positions and locations. In addition, people you meet during your practical training can become sources for character and work references. It is also an excellent way to build a network of contacts within the profession.

The following is detailed information about each type of internship:

Curriculum placement

Longer segments extend the time for completing the degree, which helps the student gain more extensive, valuable work experience.

  • Designed to be an integral part of a degree program.
  • One or two extended work placements required.
  • Does not substitute for classroom work. It is in addition to the full course requirement.
  • Results in adding a year to the standard two- or four-year program.
  • Consists of two parts:
    • Academic project requirement: Student has to produce a study or prepare a paper.
    • Work placement requirement: One placement for approximately 12 weeks and another for 36 weeks.

Required placement

Usually occurs during the student’s junior year (four-year program) or two 12-week summer internships (two-year program).

  • Students are released from a spring semester of classroom work to join a golf course staff for an extended summer season.
  • Placement is a requirement for degree completion.
  • Students keep a log of experiences and golf course operation’s daily activities.
  • Student and the golf course representative - usually the superintendent or the assistant - evaluates internship.

 Optional placement

Students should work closely with their advisor in order to ensure that the program is complete, practical and academically based.

  • Encouraged when students have either completed all required internships or the program does not have an internship requirement.
  • Allows for a greater degree of creativity and can be tailored to meet the direct needs of the student.
  • Usually is not granted academic credit; therefore, you should include an academic project for consideration as credited work.
  • Students design the project and generate ideas to take to the golf course.
  • Project must be realistic in focus and meet agreed upon academic requirements.