Worthwhile Class Acts; Canadian College Students Volunteer at the Players as Part of Education Tour

Article excerpt

Byline: FRANCINE KING

A college course that requires students to attend The Players Championship might make some golf lovers consider going back to school.

For the last two years, professional golf management students at Holland College in Prince Edward Island in Canada have volunteered at the Ponte Vedra Beach tournament as part of a mandatory educational study tour. It's an assignment few protest.

"Who wouldn't be excited to come watch the best golfers in the world?" asked Chris Lister, one of the students helping at the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course. "Getting out of the cold weather in Canada is kind of a perk, too."

Lister, 23, said he and his classmates -- all second-year students in the professional golf management program -- were wearing snowsuits when they left Canada. By the time they reached Florida, they needed shorts.

The weather shift was evident on the skin of several students on Thursday -- in bright pink.

"They do sell sunscreen in Canada," joked course instructor Blair MacPhail, "but some of these guys are reluctant to wear it."

"Some of us just forget to put things on sometimes," Lister said.

Twenty-eight students -- 26 men and two women -- made the trip to Florida from Charlottetown this year, and for many of them it was their first visit to the U.S. MacPhail said fundraisers and a portion of the students' tuition finance the study trip, which focuses on two courses in the three-year PGM program: event management and facilities management.

Along with the TPC at Sawgrass, the group will visit Grand Cypress, the World Golf Village, Champions Gate near Disney World and some smaller facilities in Jacksonville.

The highlight of the trip, though, is working at The Players.

This week, the students are assigned to either the practice range or one of the merchandise tents. At the sales tents they assist customers with their purchases, stock shelves and keep the store neat. …

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