Student veterans are invited out for a round of golf to build relationships and network

Student veterans receive golf lessons and networking skills from PGA pros during "Veterans Golf Series"
Photo by Jose Sagal

“The mission is to connect them with guests who own companies and help them land internships and jobs during school and after graduation,” – Jose Sagal

The Office of Veteran and Military Programs and Services at Rutgers University–New Brunswick invites student veterans out  for a round of golf at the Rutgers University Golf Course this Friday.

Student veterans will receive golf lessons from PGA and LPGA professional instructors, while also learning vital networking skills that translate on and off the course.

The program’s goal is to help veterans adjust back to everyday life and to regain the support system they established while serving in the military. They will also learn how to build relationships with professionals on the course that will enhance career prospects after graduation.

According to Forbes , 90 percent of Fortune-500 CEOs play golf, and 80 percent of executives say playing golf enables them to establish new business relationships. Even though only 20 percent of all golfers are female, 50 percent of women in executive-level positions say being able to discuss golf has enabled them to reach higher career success.

 “Golf is a networking sport. The mission is to connect them with guests who own companies and help them land internships and jobs during and after graduation,” said Jose Sagal, program coordinator at the Office of Veteran and Military Programs and Services.

Lisa Jensen, PGA head professional/manager at Rutgers University Golf Course said that while career-advancement is one advantage to playing golf, there is also a calming aspect To the game that can be especially beneficial to veterans working to acclimate back into everyday life.

“The scenery and colors are relaxing and serene, and it really enhances the comradery between the players on the course,” said Jensen. “You don’t develop the same connection with your surroundings when playing tennis, baseball or basketball that you do on a golf course.  It can be very therapeutic.”

Each week the group meets on the driving range to warm up.  After everyone has arrived, instructors will work on different physical aspects of the game, such as the full swing, pitching, chipping, putting and bunker play.  The last two weeks have been dedicated to on course acitivites that included playing a scramble, discussion of etiquette, rules and course management. 

Jensen said the goal is to grow the program with the help of the NJ PGA and through the model of the PGA HOPE program.  This program introduces Veterans to the game of golf; the goal is to show them how the game can enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. 

“I hope we can grow the veterans event to one of the largest veteran opportunities in New Jersey,” Jensen said.

The Friday event is the final session of a weekly series that started September 14.