When Bruce Fleming graduated from high school in British Columbia, he earned a gift that would transform his life: a college scholarship from the Kelowna Golf and Country Club. This gift enabled Fleming to play collegiate golf, as well as begin an academic career that led to his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Washington State University.
And it’s something that has stuck with Fleming ever since.
Today, in his spare time, he operates Play Collegiate Golf, helping talented, college-bound high school golfers identify the best universities for them to accomplish their academic and athletic goals.
High school student-athletes can become so preoccupied with their athletic pursuits in college that they give short shrift to the academic environment of a university. Thus, Fleming offers these students consulting services focusing on the scholarly aspect of a student-athlete’s life.
“My goal is to help them forecast where they want to play, with their academic goals in mind,” says the Office of New Student Programs’ director of experiential and residential programs, who is also the director of iCharleston, which helps students study abroad their first semester of college. “I try to fit what their goals are into several different options across the U.S. and Canada.”
He also tries to emphasize to his young clients and their parents just how much of a commitment in time and energy is expected from a varsity college athlete.
“It’s like a job,” Fleming says of the constant practice, playing, training and traveling endured by college athletes. “Playing collegiate golf requires a commitment to a coach, a team and an institution that is much different than playing junior golf tournaments as an individual.”
Always mindful of the scholarship help once extended to him by his hometown country club in British Columbia, Fleming gives two in-kind scholarships each year to an American and a Canadian, donating 30 hours of his time to help those golfers discover the perfect college for play and study.
“It’s the reason I went back and started this business,” says Fleming. “It’s a good way to give back.”
And maybe even transform a life.
This story appeared in the fall issue of Portico.