Andrea Ballou, PGA; On How She Leveraged an Internship into a Fulltime Career
July 16, 2019 by Charles Dillahunt
As PGA Member Andrea Ballou, 23, of Larkspur, Colorado begins to realize her dream of a long-term career in the golf industry, she’s proud to follow in the footsteps of PGA President Suzy Whaley.
Ballou, who is currently the PGA REACH Event Coordinator for the PGA of America, leveraged an opportunity to launch her own career path through a pursuit of excellence and professionalism.
“Suzy likes to say, ‘If you’re kind and come to things with joy, and you’ve prepared in a way that’s substantial, opportunities will always present themselves,” Ballou explains. “I believe in myself and what I can accomplish in this industry, because there have been others, like Suzy, before me.”
That confidence is a big reason why Ballou has impressed many people in the golf industry on her way to securing a career in one of the world’s largest sports organizations.
A 2018 graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) Professional Golf Management University Program, Ballou majored in Service Management. She also played on the women’s golf team for a year, before deciding to solely focus on the business side of the game.
“I could sing Andrea’s praises all day,” said former UCCS PGA Golf Management Program Director Adam Scott. “It didn’t take long to see how special of a talent she was, and her understanding of the PGA was at a cerebral level.”
Ballou’s impressive golf knowledge stems from being introduced to the game when she was seven years old.
“My father introduced me to golf, and I fell in love immediately,” added Ballou. “I started taking lessons from both PGA Master Professional Danny Harvanek and PGA Professional Reggie Sanchez. Shortly after, I started competing in tournaments.”
“I encouraged her to play golf because she excelled at it, but she became successful because of her work ethic, and ability to focus and plan ahead for tasks to come,” said Andrea’s father Mike Ballou.
Pros and Cons
Ballou was instilled with a process to analyze situations for their long-term and short-term benefits.
“Anytime I asked to do something, my parents had me put together a list of pros and cons, which helped me process different ways in which I could accomplish my goals,” stated Ballou. “It taught me how to set goals and learn to be independent from an early age.”
Ballou’s ability to focus on the tasks ahead served her well in making a strong first impression within the golf industry.
Since Ballou was previously PGA HOPE [Helping Our Patriots Everywhere] trained, a former PGA Jr. League co-captain, and heavily involved in the UCCS PGA Golf Management Program, PGA of America Chief Operating Officer and Nextgengolf CEO Darrell Crall believed she’d be a great fit to intern with PGA REACH, the PGA’s foundation.
“Andrea made a most compelling impression regarding her drive to have a positive impact on the lives of others using the sport of golf as a conduit,” said Crall. “I was confident she would be a great addition to our evolving culture and become a highly valued teammate within PGA REACH.”
Ballou’s dream of working for the PGA of America fulltime became a reality at the conclusion of her internship, following a presentation she delivered to headquarters staff and leadership. In attendance was PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
“During Andrea’s presentation, she was incredibly poised, passionate and articulate, said Waugh. “She had been made to feel welcomed, and I think it’s hugely important to curate good experiences among those exploring our industry, like she was. It’s critical to both our brand and mission to attract the best and the brightest of the next generation, if we hope to mirror America.”
“I treated my internship as a seven-month job interview,” said Ballou. “I helped wherever possible, even if it went outside of my job description, and that mindset paid off, as our leaders took notice of my passion for the industry.”
Ballou offered advice for future interns who hope to work in the golf industry fulltime, following an internship.
“You need to love what you do, and be open to any opportunity provided to you,” said Ballou. “Don’t turn something down because you don’t think you’re ready for it. Ask for help if you need it, and you will learn as you go.”
If you’re interested in exploring internship opportunities within the PGA of America, visit careers.pgahq.com. For more stories on people who are making an impact in golf, follow @PGAWORKS on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. To learn more about PGA REACH, visit PGAREACH.org