Each year, the TGA gives select high school
students opportunities to earn a paycheck while working at local golf courses
or clubs during the summer as part of the TGA Foundation’s Bill Penn Internship Program.
These paid internships connect ambitious young
people to potential mentors and offer networking
opportunities and experience in various areas of club operations. They’re able
to grow personally as the program allows interns to gain self-confidence, learn
how to work in teams and develop positive, professional skill sets for the
The three interns and their respective club associations for
the 2021 program were Kennedi Lee and Golf Club of Dallas, Meer Patel and Gleneagles
Country Club in Plano and Meredith Speer and Cimmaron
Hills Golf & Country Club in Georgetown.
Golf Club of Dallas Head Professional Keith Coppedge said he
was introduced to the program this year by Managing Director of TGA Foundation
and Director of Outreach Kelly Kilgo.
“We had her do a little bit of
everything: pro shop, golf cart staff, drink cart, bartend, and food and
beverage service,” Coppedge said of Lee’s intern experience. “Plus, I had her
work on a summerlong project of making a club marketing brochure.”
Lee learned about the Bill Penn Internship Program through
her coach Gladys Lee, who encouraged her to apply.
“I applied because as a golfer, I thought having job
experience at a golf course would be a lot of fun,” Lee said. “After
practicing, playing and competing at many different courses, I thought this
internship opportunity would allow me to learn about the other side of the
With her future goals set high in media and design or
business, Lee said being a Bill Penn intern showed her new pathways for her
“I didn’t realize there was a need for people in media and
design until an opportunity was presented to me,” Lee said of her eye-opening
time. “Getting experience in the field now through the golf industry will help
me in the future.”
Even though this was his first year being involved with the
program, Coppedge said he isn’t sure he could’ve started with a better
“My goal is to get Kennedi back
next summer and hopefully be a landing spot for summer interns for years to come,”
“Kennedi was a great
employee. She brought a great attitude each day and took on any task we
gave her with enthusiasm,” Coppedge said when asked how Lee did this summer.
Lee said as a longtime lover of golf, she appreciates learning all she can about the
industry through the Bill Penn Internship Program.
“My favorite part of this internship was the people I met. I
enjoyed learning about the different aspects of keeping a golf club running. It
was a great learning experience as a golfer and I’m so glad I took the
Patel and Speer also had equally rewarding experiences and
said they would cheerfully recommended the internship program to other high
schoolers who are interested in golf.
“I would have to say my
favorite part of the internship at Gleneagles was greeting and meeting the
members,” Patel said. “Everyone was extremely friendly and easy to talk to. I
managed to build a few relationships with some of the members which honestly
made working all the better. I was lucky enough to see people such as Tony
Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback at the range and even got
the chance to speak with him!”
The TGA extends a sincere
thank you to each of the interns and clubs that participated in the internship
program this past summer. Impactful experiences and connections were made that
will last far into the future.
The Bill Penn Internship Program was
started in 2016 to introduce high school golfers to the professional side of
the golf industry. The program honors the late William “Bill” Penn and his
legacy. Penn served as the TGA’s first executive director from 1988-2000 and
was a mentor to countless young golfers on and off the course.
To learn more about the Bill Penn Internship Program, click here.