“You can’t beat the drive into work, going by one of the nicest golf courses in the country, my wife and I even got married here,” Jeff Coleman says.
This 2012 Entertainment Business graduate is speaking about the World Golf Village outside of St. Augustine, Florida – a 6000-acre facility where he’s spent the past year working as ingest operator for the Player’s Golf Association (PGA).
“I was always researching careers in sports when I was at Full Sail and a couple months before I graduated the PGA showed up on my radar,” he says. “It helped that playing golf was my hobby, I’d been doing it since I was a kid, so it just made sense that I centered on that.”
Following a stint as production logger with the Golf Channel, Jeff got an interview with the PGA and joined their media asset management department in early 2014. Being an ingest operator has him overseeing the archiving of all the footage that they and their network affiliates have produced from the 1960s through today. It’s an overwhelming amount of material to keep track of, and a big part of his role is digitizing it into a searchable database where clips can be pulled for future broadcasts.
“It’s my job to quality control what’s ingested into our system, which kind of works like YouTube,” he says. “Having everything on our servers speeds up the process by which producers can retrieve and edit footage for shows, features, and teasers. It’s really fun for me as a fan, I’m watching golf eight hours a day, but there’s also a lot of work that comes with it. We have crews out there constantly filming each tournament, the b-roll, and interviews – all material that we need to be able to make available for our website and other outlets.”
Outside of his day-to-day responsibilities Jeff has enjoyed becoming a part of the PGA as an organization, whose efforts reach beyond what you see on the course. In addition to covering the regular four-day tournaments, they’ll stay at a location all week doing charities, working with sponsors, and engaging with the public, all before heading off to the next stop on the tour.
“Being involved with the PGA is amazing because it’s almost like you’re not an employee, you’re a family member,” he says. “There’s so many things you wouldn’t know unless you were inside – how charitable they are, what they do for the community – and you’re a part of that. It’s so different than anything I’ve done in the past. I don’t think I’m ever going to find a company that gives back like this.”
Turning your hobby into your career doesn’t always work for some people, but Matt’s love of the game and its history has made the PGA a rewarding fit as both a fan and a professional. He also admits to some unique perks of watching hundreds of hours of golf each week.
“It’s kind of like getting free lessons,” he says. “You see the best in the world swing their clubs 100 times a day, and I get to take that out of the building and onto the course.”