Charles Thrash of Conway has been named director of Coastal Carolina University's Professional Golf Management (PGM) program.
Since 1996 Thrash has been the general manager of Bay Tree Golf Plantation, a resort golf complex located in North Myrtle Beach.
Thrash, a native of Beaumont, Texas, earned a bachelor's degree from Lamar University in 1967 and a master's degree from Texas Tech University in 1969. He is also a 1991 graduate of the National War College in Washington, D.C. Thrash retired from the United States Air Force in 1995 following 26 years of service.
Coastal's PGM program, administered through the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, was initiated in fall 1997 in response to the Grand Strand's bustling golf industry, which has more than 100 courses situated within 40 miles of the university. Coastal's program, one of 11 in the nation accredited by the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA), is the only one with an international component. More than 20 students from the Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain, are enrolled in the program.
In Coastal's PGM program, students complete the requirements of a bachelor of science degree in marketing from the Wall College of Business and serve 16 months of internships at area golf courses. Students must also complete the PGA of America's Playing Ability Test (PAT), prior to their third year. One of the requirements for admission to the program is having outstanding playing ability with proof of a handicap of eight or less. Students must also complete the Golf Professional Training Program (GPTP), a three-level independent course on various aspects of the golf business. Those who complete the classwork, internships and GPTP are on course to obtain their PGA Class A certification, which is the critical credential for entering a career in the U.S. golf industry. Successful PGM graduates are qualified for a variety of careers, such as club or teaching professionals, sales representatives, general managers, marketing or public relations directors.
The PGA allows accredited schools to enroll up to 300 students per program. Courses include accounting, finance, production, and marketing practices and principles. Students also study basic business concepts such as pricing, promotion and distribution of goods and services and gain specialized knowledge in the areas of landscape design, turf management, and marketing strategy and research. Internships at local golf courses under the direction of PGA Class A professionals play an essential role in the students' development.