Mozingo Lake and Recreational Park Head Golf Pro Kyle Easter completed his professional certification in March, earning the title of class A-1 head golf professional with the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA).
The certification is an intense and challenging course. Individuals are given eight years to complete all the tasks before their application is void and they have to start over. Easter completed the coursework in four years, stating it was more challenging than either of his college degrees.
He began working at Mozingo as part-time seasonal help seven years ago while attending Northwest Missouri State University, graduating with degrees in business management and marketing. He worked his way up to the head golf pro position which he has held for the past four years. Easter said it was a goal of his as well as the city’s to earn his PGA certification when he was hired full-time.
Before he could enter the program, he had to pass a series of tasks. He had to play 36 holes of golf at a course in Kansas City where he scored 76/76. Easter stated there were approximately 20 people who played that day and he was the only person who passed the criteria. From there, he took a qualifying written exam outlining the bylaws and rules of PGA golf. Upon passing, Easter was eligible to sign up for the first level of courses.
There were three levels of courses and tasks. Each level was constructed and functioned the same. He would fly to Florida to spend a week in seminars. Once done, officials would open his portfolio of subject material to be completed which included approximately 500 essay questions and evaluations to be submitted for review. When the review committee approved of his answers, he was allowed to sign up for the exams over the material.
In level one, Easter learned about business planning, customer relations, golf cart management, intro to teaching, tournament operations and other subjects. In level two, Easter studied golf operations, intermediate teaching, turf management and merchandising and inventory management. Level three focused on player development and teaching business, human resources, supervising and delegating, food and beverage control, golf club fitting and more.
He also had to take videos of himself teaching multiple golf lessons that met the requirements for each of the levels. He recorded approximately 24 beginner’s lessons, group lessons and advanced lessons showing different portions of lessons such as correct form, skills, techniques, opening and closing lessons, feedback, maintaining focus, assessing the client and many others.
After submitting his videos and passing his exams, he was able to go back to Florida to begin the second level of coursework.
“Doing it while working full-time and running a golf course was challenging,” Easter stated.
After completing all three levels of material, exams, videos and essays, Easter was able to submit for election into the PGA to become a member.
Future plans for Easter and Mozingo
“I’m appreciative of the opportunity and the support of the city and of Ryan (Heiland, assistant city manager,) and Greg (McDanel, city manager). There’s no way I would have been done without them. Matt VanCleave and I went through the program together. It really helped to rely on each other and push each other. I would have taken longer than four years if it wasn’t for him,” Easter said.
Easter stated he plans to use everything he learned, putting it to use in growing Mozingo’s golf programing. He has partnered with St. Joseph Country Club and Moila to offer a junior PGA golf league for boys and girls ages eight to 13. Each golf course will have two teams of 12 golfers, team names and jerseys and will practice and compete throughout the season.
Registration is now open with practices beginning in May.
The Watson 9 Foundation offers scholarships to interested youth who apply. The scholarships cover the cost of the league. Scholarships are also available to fund other youth programs and events at the Watson 9. Those interested can apply at https://mozingolake.com/golf/junior-golf/junior-golf-assistance/.