A long, fulfilling day is what our first full Day of the LA immersion program was. We began the morning bright and early at 9:00 am and headed out to the home of Toshiba Classic. Jeff Purser provide great insight to us about what goes on when putting on an event like the Toshiba Classic. He emphasized whatever industry we try to get into in Sport Management that you need SALES and that will be consistent throughout our career. He even managed to make a quick Met Jokes about one of my confused comrades attire. After a delicious lunch, we enjoyed rare free time and the beautiful weather in LA. A little shopping, touring, and trips to the beach; who could ask for more? That was until a group of us went to In-N-Out burger and, take it from someone who just had it for the first time, the hype around the spot is well warranted. I am very tired from the walking but more than excited and eager about what Day 2-7 have left in store from us.
We started off the first full day in Los Angeles in full swing, arriving at the PGA’s Champions Tour – Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach at 10 am. We were privileged to meet with the Tournament’s Director Jeff Purser who described to us the uniqueness and overall quality of the event. We learned that the PGA is a non-profit organization and that the Toshiba Classic has raised fourteen million dollars for charity over the past fourteen tournaments which they are extremely proud of. Not only was the tournament raising a great deal of money for charity, but the tournament is also run by around 700 volunteer workers who actually pay for their own uniform in order to work the tournament. This unique aspect showed us how the Champions Tour might be more of a closer community event rather than the more nationally known PGA Tour. Purser also taught us many key business aspects of the tournament and gave us some key career advice for the future. It was truly a remarkable experience to listen to what Purser had to say.
After we finished our meeting with Purser and eating lunch while viewing the beautiful course, we were able to get a quick tour of the tournament’s TV truck, where we learned about all of the operations required for the Golf Channel’s broadcast of the Toshiba Classic. After that, we got back to the bus we were able to go sightseeing for the afternoon. We made two stops, first at the Santa Monica Pier followed by Venice Beach.
At night we toured Hollywood and were able to appreciate several remarkable landmarks. After the short tour, we then split up and were able to walk around and experience the grounds for ourselves before heading back to the hotel to get some rest for another full day Monday.
The first day of our wonderful Syracuse Immersion Trip to Los Angeles was full of excitement. After we all loaded the bus, we began our wonderful journey by visiting Jeff Purser, the Executive Director of the PGA Tour- Toshiba Classic. He was a very personable guy. We were very grateful to be able to have time to speak with him when he is a very busy man and the tournament is going on tomorrow. The Toshiba Classic as well as all other PGA Tour Champions Events are run by a non-profit structure.
Jeff told us that there was a difference in the PGA’s Golf Tours: there is the PGA Tour, Amateurs tour, and the Champions tour. First, this tournament is going to be held for the Champions Tour. This is different from the PGA Tour, which includes Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Phil Mickelson. PGA Tour- Champions events are a non-profit event where the event will make no money. All the revenue that comes in will be donated to Hoag Memorial Hospital. The PGA Tour- Champions event is for golfers who are 50 years and older. Jeff Purser also told us that the difference in marketing PGA Tour Champions Level event versus another PGA Tour event is media. It is very hard to attract fans from media without the high profile players like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. The majority of the money for the Toshiba Classic comes from sponsors. Jeff Purser’s biggest advice was that no matter what business you are getting into the most important thing is SALES!!! Another bit of advice he gave us is be very social and convincing. The experience with Jeff and the time we spent at the Toshiba Classic was unbelievable it was such a beautiful golf course. After we talked with Jeff, we were lunch on the golf course we then went walked around the facility and saw some of the media trailers. After the Toshiba Classic, we headed to Santa Monica where we all had a lot of fun. We saw the guy from the GoDaddy.com commercial during halftime of the Super Bowl that kissed Israeli Model Bar Rafaeli. Some of the things that we did were play those carnival games that rob you of your money because you keep paying cause you want to win so bad. The view of the beach was fantastic. The Roller Coaster was a lot of fun. Then we took the bus to Venice, where some of us walked on the beach, went into the shops, or got dragged into the big crowds watch the street performers. To finish off our first day, we went to Hollywood. First we got to see the big Hollywood sign, which was really awesome. It was a sight that you see in movies. Then, we were able to see the cement handprints of a bunch of famous actors. Then we went to a $10 shop that was having a huge sale for $5. Then a very good amount of us went to In-N-Out Burger, the food destination that everyone was looking forward too. We all received in-n-out burger hats. It was such a fun experience. After listening to the song “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake so many times on the radio the words are now stuck in all of our heads.