Sports Pro: Schaack lands gig with Women's PGA Championship
Amber Schaack came from a North Dakota hockey-loving family and thought the sport would be part of her career.
Little did she know her hockey stick would be exchanged for golf clubs, as Schaack currently serves as the volunteer operations coordinator for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The 2019 championship, won by Australian golfer Hannah Green, was held June 20-23 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
"I never really thought I would be working in golf if I am being honest," said Schaack, who earned the North Dakota Miss Hockey Award for Jamestown High School in 2013. "I definitely would not have guessed that I would be here. It's definitely a great start to my career."
Schaack wrapped up her days playing competitive hockey at Concordia College (Minnesota) in 2017, graduating that spring with a degree in exercise science. She'd go on to earn a master's degree in sports administration from the University of Northern Colorado and began applying for careers and internships in the Twin Cities area.
It was during that application process when the opportunity with the Women's PGA Championship presented itself.
"I knew I liked working in events, planning, organizing (and) things like that," Schaack said. "It popped up online and I applied for it.
"I didn't know if I even stood a chance, but I got the call ... went in for an interview and it was a good fit."
Schaack played golf recreationally when she was younger, but said she never had an interest in pursuing the sport as an athlete. As volunteer operations coordinator, Schaack explained she was responsible for approximately 1,500 volunteers at the women's championship in Chaska back in June.
The 66th KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be held June 23-28, 2020, at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. Schaack said she plans to move to Philly in October to begin preparing for the event.
"You follow the championship wherever it goes, so that's a little tough," Schaack said. "Right now it's definitely something I am able to do since I'm not tied down to any specific city or state."
Although Schaack says the job can be challenging, the former athlete explained working for an organization that focuses on opportunities for women in athletics makes the job worthwhile. The championship's title sponsor -- KPMG -- hosts the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit as a part of each tournament.
"They offer high school senior girls the chance to go to the event and they'll have keynote speakers," Schaack said. "They promote women in sports. I easily bought into that."
In her graduate program, Schaack said she saw a gender disparity in the classroom. But while helping to coordinate the 2019 championship she said many of the volunteers were women and that it was nice to see her field -- sports -- growing to include more females.
"We're definitely getting more of a voice," Schaack said in regards to women in sports. "It is happening slowly but surely. But it's not going to happen unless we go out there and prove ourselves."