Thanks to reader John for John Paul Newport's Saturday WSJ column on the increasingly eye-opening world of college golf, where massive sums are invested to prepare golfers for, as Newport points out, either the PGA Tour or country club life after college.
(The article became more interesting after seeing 60 Minutes profile the stakes involved with college football and the overall money involved in running an athletic department.)
Lacking a home course, Northwestern players spend four years playing and practicing at a half-dozen or so private clubs in the Chicago area. There they are treated like royalty, play frequently with members and acquire polish. Goss ticked off for me the names of several former players who, after chasing their golf dreams for a while, quickly found jobs through the golf team's alumni network. Several got their start, for example, at the New York investment banking firm owned by Eric Gleacher, a Northwestern alum who donated the team's indoor practice facility.
Eh em, not for much longer. Sorry, go on...
Newport actually calls them "old boy networks" and ends with this on Oklahoma State's facilities.
In the heated practice shed at the main driving range, two current players, Kevin Dougherty and Talor Gooch, were being fitted for new clubs by Titleist using the school's high-tech motion-analysis system.
"Why wouldn't I come here?" Dougherty told me. "The facilities are part of it, but the tradition of winning counts for more. Not coming here would be like not going to Kentucky if you're recruited for basketball."
Later, back at the clubhouse, I saw Dougherty and Gooch chowing down with their mates at the training table—country-club-quality food served in, essentially, a country-club grill room. The current crop of golfers were getting ready for the afterlife, one way or the other.