BY ED WRIGHT
July 28, 2010, 11:15 p.m.
When it came time to choose a college two years ago, Kyle Sanders followed the sun.
When it came time to choose a degree to pursue at Arizona State University, the 2008 Plymouth High School graduate followed his passion for golf.
Both choices are proving to be par-fect for the personable 20-year-old.
Sanders, who earned two varsity letters in golf and two in baseball at Plymouth, is pursuing a four-year business degree at ASU that is specifically designed for students who aspire to become Class A PGA professionals and work in management careers in the golf industry.
The professional golf management program is one of just 20 offered in the entire country.
"I've always loved golf, so this was an easy decision for me," said Sanders. "I'd like to be able to work in a tournament atmosphere or to run a golf course once I graduate."
Sanders said he isn't real picky about where he eventually lands once he's done at ASU, but his destination will have to pass at least one important test.
"I want to end up somewhere that has nice weather year-round, so that pretty much rules Michigan out," he said, smiling.
In order to attain the unique degree Sanders is chasing, students need to register low scores on the golf course as well as high scores in the class room.
Students must successfully pass a three-tiered ability test, the first of which Sanders hurdled in December of 2008 when he fired a 36-hole total of 150 (71 and 79), four strokes lower than the mark he had to beat.
"You have to be at least a 12 handicap to be accepted into this program, so you have to be a decent golfer to get in," he said.
Sanders secured the ideal internship this summer at Glen Mills Golf Course, a U.S. Open qualifying track that has been rated the No. 1 course in Pennsylvania.
"Some days I work in the pro shop, other days I'll work as a ranger," the former Wildcat said. "It's great because I get to learn about a lot of different things about running a golf course. Plus, I get to play whenever I want, so that's nice."
Sanders gained a few seconds of national exposure recently when his smooth, left-handed swing was shown on the Golf Channel.
"The Golf Channel was doing a 'Golf In America' piece on Glen Mills and how the course works with kids from a local reform school, and they asked me to hit three shots off the first tee," Sanders said. "One of the shots made it in the piece."
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.