Jordan Kubenik started watching her family play golf well before she picked up a club herself. When she did, however, it quickly became a key part of her life.
“I remember when I was nine or ten I would watch my dad and brother play golf,” said Kubenik. “I was kind of interested but they first said it was just their thing. So I kept watching them compete and when I was 13 my dad signed me up for a few summer camps.”
From there, Kubenik’s golf experience changed quickly. After learning the basics at camp, she was called up to the high school varsity golf team. Even though she was only in 7th grade, Kubenik cracked the squad.
“Most people who joined in seventh grade were just playing as a hobby,” said Kubenik. “The coach saw that I had a good swing I guess and that I knew the basics and called me up. It was mostly 11th and 12th graders I was playing with so I was a little intimidated, but it really helped my golf game grow.”
Though Kubenik had played with her brothers and father, she had never played competitively until the varsity team. Her first two seasons involved a lot of watching and practice. Her first chance to compete came in ninth grade.
“I wasn’t super competitive when it came to golf at the start,” said Kubenik. “But in general I am a competitive person so when I started to get better and learn the game I began to want to compete more. I loved playing in the matches right away.”
While the competitive juices started to flow as she played more and more matches, that aspect of golf wasn’t what stood out to Kubenik.
“For me the best part of golf was and still is the community aspect,” said Kubenik. “I loved my team and just being around them every day. From my high school coach to the head golf pro at Villa Roma, Matt Kleiner, to my entire family, golf has always been about connecting with the most important people in my life.”
Kubenik started working at Villa Roma Country Club in April of 2017 as a Starter and Pro Shop Attendant. She said that not only was it enjoyable to work at the club because it was a job in golf, but also that Kleiner was incredibly welcoming of women in golf, which is something very important to Kubenik.
“He has always been so supportive of me and the rest of the female staff at Villa Roma,” said Kubenik. “Growing up I definitely saw more men in golf, but having [Keliner] as such an advocate for women in golf was really great to see.”
That support system, which Kubenik said was amplified by her high school coaches and her family, also helped her make the jump into a major in college that she says is also largely a male-dominated field. Kubenik is currently a fifth-year senior at Penn State University, studying Architectural Engineering.
“It’s basically what it sounds like, bridging the gap between architecture and engineering,” said Kubenik. “I really like the aspect of it that involves being part of a team and working on a huge ongoing project. I love the building industry and there are so many technological advancements that I hope to be a part of in the future.”
Kubenik hopes to show that women can make inroads in the engineering space as the industry continues to diversify, saying her experience in golf gave her the confidence to succeed in what she has done so far. Though she doesn’t have as big of a platform in the sport of golf, she hopes that her story may be able to inspire the next generation of female golfers as well.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is it may be a bit intimidating at first, but everyone I met in my experience was very welcoming,” said Kubenik. “It’s a great community to be a part of and if there is anyone telling you that you don’t belong, there are five people who will welcome you with open arms.”
In addition, Kubenik preached the benefits of golf on her academics and how beneficial her caddie scholarship has been.
“I didn’t even realize that I could get a scholarship just by working in golf,” said Kubenik. “It has certainly helped me in my studies and especially since I’m taking a fifth year the scholarship has been a big boost.”
Kubenik’s fifth year is an intensive one, as it will set her up for a career in architectural engineering. The biggest hurdle in her way is a year-long capstone project. She said a team of ten, including herself, will be competing against other college students around the country.
“It is a big challenge and a lot of work, but I’m really excited for it,” said Kubenik.
While engineering is now her focus, golf is always a comfort that Kubenik can lean back on. To her it means community and family. It also has taught her plenty of life lessons that she is no applying in her major. As she continues to grow, Kubenik believes that the foundation she built through golf will serve her well in every aspect of her life for years to come.