Having hosted U.S. presidents and congressman as well as golfers such as Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Ernie Els, the Congressional Country Club has a very selective hiring process, according to Trine University graduate Lauren Burns.
“They always look to pick the right candidate, not fill the position,” said Lauren, who earned a golf management degree in 2013. “I had never been through anything like it, and it made getting the position that much sweeter.”
Lauren has served as assistant director of retail at Congressional in Potomac, Maryland — ranked among the top 100 courses in the nation by Golf Digest — since August 2016. She is responsible for purchasing children's wear, accessories and gifts while assisting in all other aspects of a $2.1 million operation in Congressional’s golf shop.
“We provide superior customer service to more than 3,300 members and their guests by assisting with their retail experience at the club,” she said.
It’s a big step from her days as a high school golf player in Wooster, Ohio.
Lauren chose Trine because it was close to her family, “but not too close,” and because two high school friends were attending the university. She also was drawn by Trine’s beautiful facilities, faculty and small class sizes, and by the opportunity to play on Trine’s women’s golf team, where she would finish among the Thunder’s top 20 for career scoring average.
When she came to Trine she knew she wanted to major in business, but wasn’t sure what the best degree would be for her interests.
“Then I found out there was a golf management program, which I did not originally know was a major, and thought it would be a great fit,” she said.
After graduating she took a position as merchandiser at Cattail Creek Country Club in Glenwood, Maryland. She worked there for three years and then looked to take the next step in her career, and heard Congressional was looking to hire.
“I had been to Congressional once before, when they hosted the Quicken Loans National tournament. The place is absolutely beautiful,” she said. “There is a very strong pride in belonging, and with such a rich history at the club, it feels like the right place to be.”
Eventually, Lauren hopes to become retail director at a private club. She said she still finds the education she received at Trine valuable in her current work.
“Trine’s golf management curriculum is up-to-date and relevant to the workforce,” she said. “Even though I have since narrowed my focus, it is still very useful to have the broad background of the industry. I also really appreciated how the professors all took interest in my future, career path and well-being. Without them, I certainly would not be where I am today.”