Spending five or six days a week on a golf course might be a pretty good summer vacation for many college students.
Gordon Preddy, a 21-year old Mount Pleasant resident, would agree, except that he's all business when it comes to greens and fairways.
A student in Campbell University's Professional Golf Management Program, Preddy is on his third straight summer of working as an assistant pro at golf courses across the state.
After stints at Kannapolis' Golf Club at Irish Creek in 2009 and at Kilmarlic Golf Club on the Outer Banks last year, Preddy is spending this summer at the Country Club of Salisbury.
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Considered a professional golfer, Preddy occasionally plays in Carolinas Section events. Earlier this month, he played in the N.C. Open at Irish Creek.
Preddy graduated from Mount Pleasant High and was a well-decorated Tigers golfer from 2005 to 2008. He won the Cabarrus County high school championship in 2006, was the Rocky River 1A/2A Player of the Year in 2007 and was named all-conference all four years.
As a Campbell PGM student, Preddy is also a business administration major. During their freshman and sophomore years, PGM students learn the fundamentals of being a golf course pro: everything from cart fleet management to teaching lessons.
Preddy completed his Level 1 certification last December and will take a test to be a certified Level 2 pro at the end of the fall semester this year. This school year and next, Preddy said, his course load will consist mostly of business courses.
"We like to think we're the best of all the PGM programs in the country," Preddy said. "We're the only one with a player development and instructor development component. We're on the driving range and the course learning to be a better player, learning from some of the best."
Preddy estimates 170 students are in Campbell's PGM program, and they all participate in a program-sponsored tournament series at the university's own golf course. During the traditional school year, students play weekly tournaments and receive prize money funded by their entry fees. Preddy said he won about $800 in the spring semester this year.
As a PGM student, Preddy has landed summer internships in which he has functioned as a paid assistant pro. Last year's turn at Kilmarlic Golf Club led to his participation in the Carolinas PGA Pro-Assistant Championship tournament.
Playing at Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, Preddy and Bryan Sullivan, Kilmarlic's pro, tied for 11th place and split $904 in prize money. Sullivan played in last year's N.C. Open at Irish Creek while Preddy staffed Kilmarlic.
Knowing the tournament - considered one of the Carolinas PGA Section's four "majors" - would return to Irish Creek in 2011, Preddy vowed to compete in it. He shot 78 and 77 in the first two rounds and did not make the cut.
"I love playing in (tournaments) like that because it's such a great experience," Preddy said, "just to be able to play in tournaments and see how much different it is than playing recreational golf or with members of your club. But it's also about meeting others in the golf industry and building those relationships."
Preddy is not finished playing competitively this summer. In August, he and Troy Beaver, a junior player at the Country Club of Salisbury, will play in the Carolinas Section Pro-Junior tournament at the famed Rock Barn course in Conover.
Preddy plans to graduate from Campbell in December 2012, at which time he will be Class A PGA professional. His goal is to work his way up to being a club pro.