Crown Golfer Spends a Semester Interning with Partners of the PGA

By Olivia Dols

There is value in doing what you love, and it takes courage to chase your dreams. Austin Coyne, a senior at Crown College, turned his passion for golf into an internship with the American Junior Golf Association, a PGA partner.

The AJGA is a path junior golfers take in hopes of making it to the Professional Golfers’ Association tour (PGA). The internship consists of traveling all over the country and assisting in tournament operations. This typically translates to some cachet in the world of golf, meeting professional level players, and learning how pro golf works. Coyne started the internship in March and has traveled to Texas, Georgia, California, and Arizona as part of his internship.

Coyne started golfing at the age of five. After many rounds of golf with his father, he picked up on the technique of the game and the language that comes with it. However, because Coyne grew up in California and sports are played year-round, baseball and football took priority over golf.

“My mom really got me back into golf the summer before my 8th-grade year. I joined a youth program at David L. Baker Golf Club where I discovered the friendships and competitive side of golf that I only saw on TV,” says Coyne.

It wasn’t until his freshman year of high school that Coyne passionately pursued golf and started playing competitively. After attending different golf camps all over the country in high school, he decided the opportunity to play golf was the main selling point in the decision for college.

During his senior year in high school, Coyne traveled to the Midwest where he was impressed by the beautiful tree-lined courses and the vibrant greens. The previous head coach of the men’s golf team at Crown College, Mike Gmetro, reached out to Austin in hopes of having him come play for the team. Because of his excitement to combine education with golf and his previous adoration of the Midwest, Austin decided Crown would be his new home.

While attending Crown, Austin worked at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, and Island View Golf Club in Waconia, Minnesota. The knowledge he gained from working at these courses equipped him with the confidence and reassurance that golf was his passion and was worthy of turning into a career.

Coyne vividly remembers a time when his mom advised him at a young age.

“My mom told me to never have ‘just a job,’” says Coyne. “Have a career, because a job can become something you don’t enjoy. My mom taught me that a career is something you love and you can become passionate about.” This advice carried him through college and landed him an internship in his dream career.

The basics of this internship require problem-solving skills in difficult situations, a team player mindset, and traveling to tournaments around the country. The main tasks involve setting up tents, transporting volunteers, meeting with staff, and controlling the pace of play.

Ryan Doheny, Head Golf Coach at Crown, described the kind of player and person Coyne is.

“Austin is always meticulously working to get better at his craft as a golfer and help his teammates improve as well,” says Doheny. “He is a great student of the game and has been such a joy to coach. His mental approach to the game has impressed me a lot as well as a senior who understands course management and when to be aggressive. It has been an honor to coach Austin.”

The process of receiving this internship was a very lengthy yet rewarding one. Coyne applied for the internship the last day he could submit an application and did not expect the outcome that unfolded.

He first submitted an application, resume, and an elevator pitch (a brief soundbite explaining who you are, what you do, and the position you’re seeking). The selected applicants were then instructed to complete a personality assessment and an interview. After completing these steps, the American Junior Golf Association accepted him as an intern in November 2018. The interns selected were asked to submit a three-year state-issued driving record as well as a background check.

“I was very proud of Austin when I found out about his internship. He deserves these great opportunities that he has worked so hard for,” says Coach Doheny.

Coyne is looking forward to gaining the knowledge needed to perform these tasks through hands-on experience. Coyne is aware of the platform he established for himself while attending college, and realizes that dreams come true when we go after what we want rather than sit back and wait for them to happen.  

“What I did during the last three and a half years of college really prepared me for what I am about to embark on,” says Coyne. Through the experience, he realized his talent for working in the golf industry.

Coyne’s mother, Christina Coyne, recognizes that her son is making huge strides forward in his career and constantly reminds him that each blessing in life is God-given.

“When Austin called to tell me that he was selected to participate in a golf internship program, I was — and am still — over the moon with pride,” says Christina Coyne. “Throughout Austin’s life, we have lived through every experience, every moment, and every person that touches his life as part of his journey. Austin knows he is on an adventure in this one life that God gave us.”

Coyne owes a lot of his success to his mother’s constant support and advice throughout the years. One piece of advice from his mother is to always make choices that align with who you are by keeping God at the center of your decision-making.

Coyne learned the key of preparing for the future so you are not stuck wondering what to do after college. He gained hands-on experience in the field, listened to his mother’s advice, and turned his passion into a career. Coyne’s dream is about to become reality.

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