The Brightside: On the Green
Jamila Johnson was raised on the green.
At the tender age of just four years old, her mom, a super-athlete introduced her to the game of golf.
“She found a professional that was willing to take me on at four years old and I started competing by the time I was six, I competed nationwide.”
Present day, Johnson is the academic coordinator for the PGA Golf Management Program and coaches the women’s golf team at UMES. She says her students are working as pros all over the country.
“When my students graduate, they are actually class A PGA professionals or at least eligible to be elected as Class A PGA professionals.”
Johnson says the program prepares students to work at resorts and country clubs or for top-tier athletic brands. Part of her job is to educate everyone about the game, which she says earns more money than any other sport in the country.
“Golf makes 76 billion dollars as an industry annually. That’s more than professional baseball, basketball, football and like NASCAR all put together.” , says Johnson.
But there are other perks of the game too, even if you’re not a golf pro and just enjoy playing. Johnson says there are no age limits for the game and it has broad appeal.
“Realistically, how many 70 year old men that are out there …24 …34 …hike…hike.. hike? You just don’t see that and let alone some people do the cross and they’re not going to do the over (demonstrates). I’m hesitating on that at 40 so at that point, golf is that game that allows people to take the whole family out.”
The golf program at UMES is one of only a few of its kind in the country.
The school even has a lab where students can practice on a mock course and learn how to repair equipment for the sport.
Jamila’s dream for the program and her team is pretty simple, she says she’d like her students to compete on a higher level.
“To be able to acquire enough young ladies with the talent and have the experience to be able to compete on the level of the NCAA championship.”
She plans to do some recruiting over the summer and plans to keep sharing her passion for the sport with others.
If you’d like to learn more about the Women’s Golf program, click the link below: