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NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Associate Assistant General Manager
Sewailo Golf Club
How did you get into golf?
I actually did not pick up a golf club until I turned 20. I grew up playing baseball since I can remember until high school. I never thought I would like golf but my dad and uncles always played and tried to get me to try it out so I went out with them one day thinking it was easy. It was the single most difficult sport I’ve ever played. I was full on addicted after my first round full of chunked and thinned shots!
Who would you identify as your mentor(s) and/or individual(s) you credit for your passion for golf and the industry?
I would definitely have to say my dad and my two uncles, are the individuals who I credit the most. Without them being the first in our families generation to play the game I would not have picked up a golf club. My passion runs deep with my roots. Sewailo Golf Club (owned by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe) opened in 2013 and it was a very ambitious step for our Tribe to build the facility to accommodate the Casino Del Sol resort. I’m proud to say that I started as the Assistant General Manager in May of this year. I started as an outside services attendant in January of 2017. Learning about the operation from different perspectives, outside services attendant to an assistant professional, First Assistant then a full time teaching professional as an independent contractor I have been able to apply that knowledge and experience to my new position. The support, enthusiasm and love of the game that all of my colleagues that are a part of the PGA of America definitely keep me motivated in reaching my goals, making new ones and showing others how great the game that we love truly is.
Are there any obstacles you have had to overcome during your journey in the golf industry?
I think the biggest obstacle for me and probably for many of my peers is maintaining a healthy balance in my life when it comes to work, getting through the PGA Professional Golf Management Program, coming up with fresh ideas for the clubs, relationships, friends and family and working on my game! Sometimes you have to disconnect from this digital world that we live in where everybody is a text, email or phone call away. We are so passionate about our work and we all want our operation to succeed so it is very easy to stack up the 10, 12, 14 hour work days.
What would be your message to others like yourself, who are on the fence when considering a career in the golf industry?
There are many career opportunities in the golf industry. It is a great way to have the chance to really grow as a person with all of the different hats that you have to wear. Teaching, coaching, management, supervision, membership, marketing, turf grass management, cart fleet management, event coordinator, merchandising, club fitting, course design, playing and the list goes on. You will have opportunities every day to figure out what you are passionate about and run with it. To be frank it can also be very lucrative. The PGA of America is constantly working on new and improved ways to continue to compensate professionals for their hard work day in and day out either with benefits that apply to members or teaching/coaching programs.
When you think back on how you got involved in the game of golf, what have you found most beneficial (best practice, etc.) as a PGA Professional and growing the game?
Definitely the quality time that I get to spend on the course and at work with the people that I love. Whether I’m golfing with my friends or family, teaching Pascua Yaqui Tribal Member juniors or working closely with my coworkers. I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world.
As far as growing the game, there are tons of resources out there that have helped start and grow our programs at Sewailo Golf Club. From our PGA Junior League which started in the Fall of 2020 to starting our first PGA HOPE sessions in October of this year. The support for these programs has been overwhelming to say the least. It inspires me every day to see how much our members, companies like Titleist, Footjoy and Nike, and establishments like Waste Management who gave us tickets to take our juniors to many of what will be their first PGA Tour experiences, that is the Waste Management Open in 2023, contribute to make the game cool and fun.
What would be your dream foursome?
Tough question but I would say my dad, Cesar Balganon Sr, my uncle Angel Mendez and Uncle Eucario Mendez.