Ken Kozak, Executive Management
Growing up in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Ken Kosak was always involved with golf. He had other career plans – namely, making a fortune in investment banking. Then Kosak got some wise advice from PGA Professional Gary Wilcox at Pinehurst National Golf Club.
“Gary could tell I liked the golf business, and he told me, ‘You’re not going to get rich, but you can meet the greatest people and have a really nice career in golf,’” Kosak says. “He was right, and I’ve had the chance to travel the world, too.”
Kosak decided to become a PGA Professional, and went to work for Hyatt Golf – where he met PGA Professional John Easterbrook Jr., now the PGA’s Chief Membership Officer. Easterbrook took Kosak under his wing and helped the young PGA Professional set a career path that led him around the world and into executive management.
“I was always pretty goal-driven, and John helped me establish goals that were short-, medium- and long-term,” Kosak says. “I also decided I need to learn from others, not thinking I was the smartest guy in the room, and be open-minded about the opportunities that came up.”
That attitude led to Kosak reaching his first goal – a head professional job by the age of 25 – at Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico, then on to general manager jobs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, South Africa and Malaysia.
Now back in the U.S., Kosak is PGA General Manager and COO at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina – site of the 2019 PGA Professional Championship. The private club includes two golf courses and a learning center, and a full array of activities such as swimming, tennis, multiple restaurants, a personal training and fitness center for members of the community.
“From a career perspective, I learned a lot from working internationally about general management and hospitality,” Kosak says. “I became a member of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) to show that I was well-rounded, and I think that gives you the best of both worlds – the ability to run a club and understand the golf operation.”
Kosak advises other PGA Professionals hoping to follow the executive management career path into a general management job to learn as much as they can about food & beverage, and to take the time to make a personal career plan.
“Get with a PGA Career Consultant and talk about what type of facility you want to be at, then start getting the experience you need to reach your goals,” Kosak says. “Your goals will change over time, but your experience can’t be taken away.”
For additional information and more career advice please reach out to your Career Consultant