Megan McDaniels graduated from OU in 2017 with a B.A. in Geography.
Megan grew up in Owasso and achieved salutatorian at Oologah-Talala High School. When she was 15 she joined her school's golf team and discovered her passion for the sport. "I fell in love quickly but practiced like crazy because I stunk at first," joked McDaniels. She chose OU because of the scholarships and the opportunity to be involved in activities such as the President's Community Scholars, a program aimed at immersing new freshman into college life through community service, outreach, mentoring, and more. She was also active in her sorority, which participated in many philanthropic and fundraising events over the years.
During her time at OU, McDaniels switches majors multiple times. Her path meandered through pre-nursing, international business, health and exercise science, and international security studies. She happened to take a class with retired geography Professor, Fred Shelley, and she cites him as the main reason for switching to a geography degree. "I had always had a fascination with geography, I just didn't know much about the phenominal program until my junior year at OU," said McDaniels. "Once I officially became part of the program, I realized how I should have been there the entire time."
While focusing on her studies and other activities, McDaniels continued golf as a hobby. She helped establish and govern the OU golf club team in 2014. Over her years at the university the team grew and regularly traveled to compete against other club teams in the region. After graduation, McDaniels was able to return to her passion and turn it into a career.
McDaniels said, "It's super rare for girls to work in golf management," and she feels lucky for the opportunity. She is currently an assistant golf professional at Bailey Ranch Golf Club in Owasso, Oklahoma. No two days are alike working at the Club. Her duties include sales and customer service in the Pro Shop, tournament operations, as well as coaching and teaching high school golfers. This past year, she was the varsity golf coach for boys and girls at the Rejoice Christian High School. The boys team improved their scores at almost every tournament of the season and made it to regionals. The girls team, which consisted of only four girls, qualified for the state golf tournament and their top player placed second at that event.
She is enrolled in the PGA's (Professional Golf Association's) Professional Golf Management program. It typically takes three or four years to complete it and become a PGA member. "The fact that I already have a bachelor's degree will help to decrease that time frame" said McDaniels. This is a rigorous educational program for aspiring golf professionals with focus on the people, the business, and the game of golf. There are a variety of courses within this program, from business and customer relations, to turfgrass management and advanced teaching and clubfitting. She travels to Port St. Lucie, Florida once a year for PGA seminars. This year 150 young aspiring professionals, about 10 of whom were women, gathered from around the country to learn the finer points of golf management.
This past year she played in tournaments around Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. Her favorite golf course so far is the Patriot in Oklahoma, but one day she hopes to play at St. Andrews Links in the UK or Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, where 2018 Masters were held. Her sports idol is Justin Thomas, one of golf's latest skyrocketing superstars. McDaniels goal is to be a Director of Golf and manage a course one day. For now she is extremely happy at Bailey Ranch Golf Course, mostly "because of the people who are genuine and kind," said McDaniels. She also likes that she gets to meet many different kinds of people of all ages, and it doesn't hurt that she can hang out with the Club's chocolate lab, Maggie, whenever she wants.
Story written by Kelly Jones