Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  SPORTS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Top Internship
Awaits Native Man

By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY — March 25, 2003 – Nick Yaun feels like he’s living a dream.
The 2001 Liberty Central School graduate has already found the job of a lifetime – and he’s 20 years old.
Yaun, a member of the professional golf management (PGM) studies program at Clemson University in South Carolina, has secured a seven-month long internship with Winged Foot, the eighth best golf course in the country.
“This is my dream,” he said. “I’m 20 years old, and I’m living my dream – everything just fell into place.
“I’m so happy.”
Golf is a major part of life for Yaun – it’s been such an influence he can’t even remember why or when he started playing.
“I just remember my dad laughing at me, and I hated that,” he recalled.
It wasn’t as though his father, Tim, was much better, Yaun said.
“He’s terrible,” he laughed.
So the younger Yaun worked on his swing until he could trounce his dad on the course.
By ninth grade, he was ready to join the Liberty golf team, making it to sectionals every year in his high school career. By senior year, Yaun was good enough to qualify for the state tournament.
Most of his skills, he said, come from four years working at Grossinger’s and the Concord – some of the best courses he’s ever played.
In addition to learning the ins and outs of a golf club, Yaun got to work one-on-one with golf pro Todd Barker, who helped him develop his game.
“He’s an awesome guy and really knows what he’s talking about,” Yaun explained.
After high school, Yaun was recruited by Campbell University, a Baptist college between Fayetteville and Raleigh, N.C., to play Division I golf.
Unhappy at the campus, Yaun decided to transfer to Clemson to join the PGM program and play in their tournaments.
The school itself has the number one ranked golf team in the country, and Yaun had a unique opportunity to face off earlier this year against the coach in a one-on-one match, something he’s been told never happens with kids who aren’t members of the team.
But Yaun has excelled playing just in tournaments and not on the golf team. Last year he won six of 11 PGM competitions, and he’s ranked number one in the program.
A sophomore at Clemson, Yaun has a 73 stroke average and he was named the 2002-03 player of the year for the program.
And it’s through PGM that Yaun has hit upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The college requires students to get some hands-on experience through an internship at a business in their field.
In Yaun’s case, that means a golf course. At first he was set up to work at Pebble Beach, perhaps the most prestigious course in the country, but when that fell through, Winged Foot’s assistant job came into play.
And, actually, Yaun is even more excited about this particular opportunity.
In addition to being one of the top courses in the nation (Winged Foot will play host to the U.S. Amateurs Tournament next year and the U.S. Open in 2006), the course is located in Mamaroneck, right over the Tappan Zee Bridge – which means he’ll be close to home.
“This is the most prestigious course in New York,” Yaun noted.
And instead of just working for a summer, Yaun will put in seven months on the job. That means he’ll get paid, and there’s the chance that he’ll be eligible for a full-time job at the course after graduation.
Besides, the internship offers him a chance to do something interesting outside of school.
“I get to run all the outside operations,” he said. “It’s not a bad job at all.”
After graduation, Yaun wants to move back to the New York area, which means the Winged Foot job might be his foot in the door of his future.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I just got lucky,” he said.
So why does he plan to devote his life to golf?
“It’s just a bug and you get it,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t even know why I like golf, I really don’t.
“But I’ll play any sport I can get my hands on.”
In fact, Yaun lettered in four sports in high school – he wrestled, played soccer and kept in shape during the winter on the basketball court.
But don’t expect to see him out on the baseball diamond anytime soon.
“I gave up,” he said. “It wasn’t very good for your golf swing.”
Yaun is the son of Tim and Cindy Yaun of Liberty. He has a sister Kate, who attends Liberty High School.

top of page  |  home  |  archives