Bonneville Golf Course
Coral Canyon Golf Club
Fox Hollow Golf Club
Hobble Creek Golf Course
Sand Hollow Resort
Sky Mountain Golf Course
Solider Hollow Golf Club
SunBrook Golf Club
Volume 23 • Issue 1 • March 2014
March 2014 Issue
Official Monthly Digital Magazine
of the Utah Golf Association
Utah Golf Alliance
Growing and Protecting the Game of Golf in Utah
by Kurt Kragthorpe
Utah Golf Community Mourns Passing of Long Time Volunteers
Join the Trend
by Bill Walker
by Mike Sorensen
by Joe Watts
Bringing New Ideas to
75th Provo Open
by Dick Harmon
Better Than Ever
Park Meadows Country Club
by Brady Bingham
by Mike Sorensen
View the March 2014 issue below
Cover Feature • March 2014
Golf Alliance Utah Growing and Protecting
the Game of Golf in Utah
by Kurt Kragthorpe
Golf is much more than a game in Utah.
It is an industry, an economic driving force and an environmental steward.
Utah Golf Association members and other golfers should feel part of a major, important component of Utah’s lifestyle. That’s the message the newly created Golf Alliance for Utah is hoping to broadcast, with an organization that’s intended to protect and enhance the game. And the founding members want to show how a formal, professional study validates golf’s status in Utah.
The numbers reported by the study are impressive, indicating that golf produces an economic impact of more than $800 million annually in Utah. The findings should get the attention of government leaders at all levels, and golfers should find them very interesting. The study conducted by the Stanford Research Institute, based in Menlo Park, Calif., makes the point that golf’s footprint actually is bigger than skiing’s, citing 250,000 participants. And as mostly as participatory sport, golf generates more economic value than all the professional spectator sports in Utah combined.
What’s just as important to understand at this stage is that there’s now one, united voice for golf in Utah, and this alliance is designed with golfers’ best interests at heart.
Each organization remains distinct, operating as it always has on a daily basis. Yet there are times when it becomes necessary to “speak as one voice,” said UGA executive director Bill Walker, “and all of our groups are learning more about each other than we ever have before.” As an example, during the State Legislature’s 2014 session, the Golf Alliance for Utah opposed a bill that would privatize the operation of Utah’s State Park golf courses. That’s not a stance that applies to every case in regards to golf courses operated by private management groups or owners, there are plenty of public play courses in Utah successfully operated by private management, but rather a specific opposition based on a recent National Golf Foundation study determining that the state parks’ current operation is more than adequate.
“I was very pleased how the GAU came together so quickly to help defend the Utah State Parks owned and operated golf courses. As originally written, we felt the bill wasn’t in the best interest of the courses or Utah golfers,” said Walker. “We enjoy our relationship with many public-play, privately managed courses and the quality of golf they offer. We just felt the Utah State Parks’ courses should not be forced into a change that didn’t make economic and environmental sense based on the study already conducted.”
Administrators of the UGA and the Utah Section PGA have worked together remarkably well, compared with the amateur and professional organizations in other states. Yet when it comes to lobbying in the State Legislature, for example, there was a need to unite. The formation of the Golf Alliance for Utah (GAU) has been a long time in the making. In addition to the UGA and the PGA section, the founding members include Utah State Parks, the Intermountain chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Salt Lake City Golf, Salt Lake County Golf, St. George City Golf and Fairways Media.
Dave Terry, Salt Lake City’s golf manager, is the GAU’s first chairman. This particular initiative started nearly seven years ago when Terry assembled some key figures for a meeting in the Forest Dale Golf Course clubhouse. It was apparent to him that an umbrella organization would help promote and protect golf in Utah and, eventually, it all came together.
Going back even further, Terry remembers how Jeff Beaudry, then the Utah Section PGA’s executive director, staged a Utah Golf Summit in 1994, examining golf facilities with this question: “profit center or recreational amenity?”
Specific to his former job as St. George’s golf manager, Terry later gauged the economic impact of the city’s courses. Based on the recent study’s findings, “I was way conservative,” he said.
Terry hopes the study “can do some good” in terms of making government officials aware of golf’s impact, concluding, “You’ve got to look beyond the bottom line.”
Terry’s idea all along was to gather and present information that would illustrate on a statewide level how vital golf really is in Utah. Golfers themselves don’t need to be persuaded about the game’s importance in their lives, but they likely would be surprised about golf’s importance.
Scott Whittaker, the current executive director of the Utah Section PGA, likes to cite a comparison to skiing. Even non-skiers, he suggests, tend to think of the ski industry as important to Utah’s image, economy and lifestyle. Yet golfers may not view their game as being on the same level as skiing, in that regard.
The alliance is spreading the word that golf is a genuine industry in Utah, providing jobs and contributing to the state’s economy in a major way. The study cites how golf makes as much economic impact as fitness and recreation centers, medical devices manufacturing and basic chemical manufacturing combined. Golf provided 9,625 jobs in 2012, with direct economic impact of $400 million and overall impact of $805 million.
Those figures come from golf facility operations, golf course capital improvements, golf-related supplies, tournaments and associations, real estate with a golf-related premium and hospitality/tourism.
The findings are remarkable, even to insiders such as Whittaker. “We intuitively knew how important golf was,” he said, but the numbers give that viewpoint some concrete support, driving home “the true impact of golf.”
In 2012, the 3.7 million rounds of golf in Utah were comparable to the 4 million skier-days and the 6.5 million National Parks visits. For golf even to be “in the ballpark” of the National Parks is surprising to Terry.
And all those charity golf events add up, generating $11.2 million for various causes in 2012.
It helps that golf is a lifetime sport, and Utah’s unique niche with so many municipal and public courses firmly established golf in this state.
“We’re here to stay,” Whittaker said, “and we’re serving a high percentage of our citizens.”
The evidence that golf course superintendents are taking good care of their resources is another critical element of the study, perhaps even the most important part, going forward.
Those numbers are as intriguing as the dollar figures, on the economic side. Golf courses account for 3.9 percent of turfgrass in Utah (300,000 acres), while consuming 0.8 percent of diverted water used for agriculture and 0.65 of all diverted water. Such efficiency with higher returns per acre-foot of water is made possible by soil audits, effective irrigation systems and the development of more natural landscaping off the fairways.
In other words, superintendents are very conscious of how much water they’re using and why they’re using it.
“Nobody knows the golf course better than the superintendent,” said Fore Lakes Golf Course’s T.A. Barker, president of the IGCSAA.
Barker believes that more than any other factor, the environmental issue could become the “killer of golf,” based on misconceptions about the volume of water and chemicals used to maintain courses. As the study determined, Barker said, “We’re not wasting water.”
That’s the kind of information the GAU wants the governor, legislators and local officials to understand. Gov. Gary Herbert has pledged to declare May as “Golf Month” in Utah, with the GAU staging various events to promote awareness of its mission and the study’s findings, while giving golfers an opportunity to join in the celebration.
Department • March 2014
Join the Trend
by Bill Walker
No, I am not writing about trending on Twitter or joining some of the unique golf fashions seen on the PGA TOUR. What I am referencing is a movement that avid golfers in the “Beehive State” have been following for 48 years; membership in the Utah Golf Association.
Since 1966, the UGA has been Utah’s steward of amateur golf. Over the years our association is well known for providing top notch championship golf competitions for amateur players of all sizes, shapes, genders and handicaps. Members also receive helpful bimonthly handicap updates throughout the year via our handicap vendor, the Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN). These aspects of our association are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the member benefits provided to members of the UGA.
The Board of Directors and staff would like to thank all returning members for the many years of support. Your $32 membership not only gives you access to tournament opportunities and your USGA Handicap Index but also has additional tangible benefits of more than $1,150 in golf value as noted below.
From season to season the UGA prides itself on providing the most “bang for your buck.” This season we are continuing to offer over thirty “Two for One” green fee discounts to our members. Simply show your 2014 membership card at one of the participating clubs and get a free round of golf for you or a playing partner just for being a UGA member.
As always the UGA is excited to partner with Fairways Media with our member publications. Every UGA member receives quarterly issues of Fairways magazine and monthly editions of Fairways 18 digital magazine. These are just a few on the continuing benefits that are part of your membership this season.
New perks for UGA members in 2014 include a $10 off coupon at Uinta Golf and a free one year subscription to Golf Digest for all UGA members. The good news doesn’t stop there, another new benefit provides a discount of 20% off standard room rates for all 2014 UGA members at the Wingate Hotel by Wyndham in St. George, Utah.
The most significant upgrade to our membership this season is the UGA’s partnership with the Golf Alliance of Utah (GAU). What is the GAU? How is the GAU a membership benefit? To examine this we need to start with the GAU’s purpose which is tasked with championing the economic, environmental, recreational and lifestyle assets of the game of golf in Utah. This organization is comprised of the major golf entities in the state (UGA, Utah Section PGA, Intermountain Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Club Managers Association of America, Salt Lake City Golf, Salt Lake County Golf, St. George City Golf, Utah State Parks, Fairways Media and many member clubs and individual members) and is unified and speaking as one voice to promote and protect the golf industry and keeping the game you love accessible, affordable and a community asset. An ongoing initiative will be to monitor potential negative legislation that could impact golf course operators and the Utah golfing public.
The UGA is excited about the 2014 season and what we have to offer our members this season. We are asking all members to invite a friend and “join the trend” in becoming a member of the Utah Golf Association.
Feature • March 2014
Utah Golf Community Mourns
Passing of Lost Time Volunteers
by Kurt Kragthorpe
The Utah Golf Association is mourning the recent passing of two volunteers, Clea Rasmussen and Gordon Sperry, who were ‘hands on’ in the functioning of key UGA programs. Their volunteerism included many hours assisting in golf fund raising projects for cancer research, the disease that took them both from us.
Sperry’s volunteerism is legendary. He volunteered, not only for all UGA tournament activities, but also helped the Utah Section of the PGA at most of its tournaments, including the high school championships, and all the professional tournaments that have been held in the valley. He was also an integral part of the men’s course rating teams. His volunteerism has taken him to all parts of the state, east to west, and north to south, and almost are of it at his own expense.
He gained the admiration of everyone who knew him because he did it unselfishly and dependably despite health problems that would have sidelined most people. He got up every morning and pushed himself to find ways to help others.
His years of service to golf began in the late 1970s and have been constant ever since.
The UGA recognized his unusual contribution and dedication by giving him the UGA’s highest honor in 1998, the UGA Gold Club Award.
He suffered from diabetes for many years and it may have hidden the fast growing cancer that took him suddenly, just a few days after discovery. He was 81 and was scheduled to be helping at Winterchamps.
Clea Rasmussen was another trailblazing volunteer. She was the first woman president of Hidden Valley Country Club and became the second woman to serve on the UGA board. She served for nine years, including two years as vice president.
She was a quick study in all aspects of the UGA’s business and was a versatile help to the organization. She was chairman of many events, including the Utah State Amateur. She served on the rules committee and after her nine years on the board continued helping the UGA as a rules official and on the women’s course rating crews.
Jim Harland, current president of the UGA, said, “the UGA and all its members have been the beneficiaries of their unselfish efforts and it now behooves us to ‘Pay It Forward.’
Feature • March 2014
by Mike Sorensen
When Steve Brinton flew back to North Carolina in February to receive the Grainger Award from the United States Golf Association, it marked a first for the 63-year-old insurance executive.
Being recognized for his 25 years of service to the USGA was obviously a first for Brinton. But it also marked the first time in that quarter century that the USGA actually paid his way to an event.
That may be surprising to the average person who may think that these USGA volunteers, who work at golf events all over the country, enjoy a free ride. The reality is they are true volunteers who travel on their own dime and receive little more than some discounted hotel rooms and an occasional meal at events they work.
Brinton estimates USGA committeemen can spend between $3,000 and $5,000 annually for various events, meetings and rules seminars. But he’s not complaining. He’s loved his 25 years with the USGA and is appreciative of his recognition earlier this year.
“You never try to join an organization, especially a volunteer one – to get an award,’’ he said. “It’s just nice that someday somebody recognizes that you put a little time in. It’s certainly nice to be recognized.’’
Brinton first got involved with the USGA back in 1989 when George Marks, a longtime USGA official from Utah, asked if he’d like to get involved with the USGA.
“I had so much respect for him that I said yes,’’ Brinton said. “It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met a lot of great people along the way. For me it’s been a labor of love, an enjoyable thing to give a little back to golf. It’s meant a lot to me.’’
Brinton’s first USGA assignment was being in charge of the Mid-Am qualifier in Utah. It was a natural for Brinton because he was in the right age group for Mid-Ams (25 and older) and was competing in local amateur events. During his time with the Mid-Am, he was proud to be able to grow the tournament in Utah from an initial field of 15 to 20 golfers to more than 100 when it was held at Glenwild a few years ago.
As one of a half dozen USGA committeemen in Utah, Brinton is involved with most USGA events in the state and has helped conduct local qualifying events such as the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open qualifiers in addition to the Mid-Am qualifier.
Ask Brinton about the highlights of his time with the USGA and he’ll mention certain events at places such as Bandon Dunes in Oregon, the Honors Course in Tennessee or the Stanwich Club in New York. It was also a thrill for Brinton, a scratch golfer for most of his life, to win a tournament of USGA committeemen in California a few years back.
But mostly it’s been about the relationships he’s formed.
“Going back to the national championships and meeting the quality of people running the national championships has been great,’’ he said. “I’ve also had a chance to see some great golf and great players.’’
When he was back at Pinehurst to receive his award, Brinton had the opportunity to play the No. 2 course which will host the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens this summer. He said he had a lot of fun in his first time at what some refer to as the “Mecca of Golf’’ in America. He was one of 18 individuals honored for their distinguished service to the USGA.
After playing the course with his wife, Joan, Brinton is able to weigh in on this year’s U.S. Open.
“I can’t imagine playing the U.S. Open from the tees they’re going to play,’’ he said. “And they’re the most diabolical greens I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be a most interesting Open to watch.’’
Brinton says he plans to continue working in his life insurance business for the foreseeable future and still has a few years on the Utah Golf Association Board of Directors, where he has served for three years. But he anticipates stepping down from his USGA duties in the next few years and enjoying his time with his wife and their two grandchildren.
“It’ll be fun to step aside and see someone else develop some new ideas,’’ he said. “I’m enjoying my work with the UGA and it’s a lot of fun working on a local level where you can accomplish some things. But I think I’ll always help conduct these (USGA) qualifiers. I want to stay involved.’’
Feature • March 2014
75th Provo Open
by Dick Harmon
It’s the names woven through seven and a half decades, plus a brand, that keep the Provo Open vibrant alongside the state’s great golf events heading into this year’s 75th diamond anniversary at East Bay Golf Club in June.
Along with the Utah Open and the Utah State Amateur, the Provo Open remains among the longest tenured golf tournaments in the region, according to executive director Gary Golightly. As he thumbed through a list of the victors, one understands why.
Equally impressive is the list of competitors who have not won, including former Master’s Champion Mike Weir, who lost in a playoff to college teammate Dean Wilson in 1998, or the year hall of famer Johnny Miller lost in a playoff to another BYU golfer, amateur John Evans.
The tournament began in 1939, although tournament organizers admit they cannot find the name of the champion from newspaper archives. “It could be it was more of an amateur event that year, but we know there was a tournament,” said East Bay assistant professional Brett Watson.
“Right after its first event, legendary Byron Nelson came to Provo for a clinic in 1940 or 1941 and we believe he played in the Open,” said Watson.
The list of victors is impressive and includes another hall of famer, Billy Casper, one of the most storied competitors in the sport and the second golfer to ever earn a million dollars.
In the early 40s, the Provo Open prize money was $100 worth of U.S. War Bonds. In the 70s, BYU golfers won seven of 10 championships including Jimmy Blair, John Fought, Joey Dills and Ray Leach.
The list of champs includes Utah legends Ernie Schneiter, Dick Kramer, Bruce Summerhays, Boyd Summerhays and some of the state’s most talented PGA Section members Steve Schneiter, Kim Thompson, Tom Costello, Brett Wayment and Todd Tanner. The 2012 and 2013 defending champion is Tony Finau, a Web.com Touring professional, who appeared on the Golf Channel’s Big Break.
Casper won the Provo Open in 1982, the year he also won two Senior Tour events, the Shootout at Jeremy Ranch, in Park City, and the Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Pro-Am in Newport, R.I.
You could pick from a number of historical relationship trees from many of the winners and find remarkable stories of golf and ties that bind. Casper fits into that category.
The 1963 Provo Open Champion was Don Collett, a three-sport high school star athlete from Murray who met Casper while in the Navy and played with him as acting captain of the U.S. Navy’s touring golf team while both were stationed in San Diego in the 1950s.
In 1955, it was Collett who dissuaded Casper from getting a job making rivets at a San Diego aircraft company and lined him up with sponsors to kickoff his PGA Tour career. Collet introduced Casper to a San Diego car dealer Dick Haas and construction contractor Russ Corey. At San Diego Country Club, the group came up with a sponsorship contract written on a napkin for Casper. It included a cash nest egg, a monthly stipend and a new 1955 Buick Roadmaster to pull a brand new 28-foot Spartan house trailer so Casper could take his wife and kids on tour.
While it was Collett who introduced Casper to the LDS faith, he also was instrumental in pushing and encouraging Casper to gamble with his game, forsake the safety of a regular job and put his future in his putter.
Along with his Provo Open title, Casper ended up the United States’ most productive Ryder Cup point producer and tied Jack Nicklaus for the most PGA Tour wins from 1962 through 1970 with 33 – more than Arnold Palmer (30) and Gary Player (8), the best players of that era.
“We have a great history with this open,” said Golightly, who has administered the tournament the past 25 years.
“We’ve had hall of famers and winners of majors. This is a unique event with a lot of rich history.”
During Golightly’s early days with the tournament, in its heyday, the Provo Open featured a remarkable event, a skins game featuring some of the top names on the PGA Tour. It was even televised live by a local Salt Lake City TV station KUTV, complete with a boom camera, two roving handheld cameras and a helicopter.
“We’d like to bring back the skins game in the future,” said Golightly, who fondly points to photographs in his office of some of the participants which include Johnny Miller, Jay Don Blake, Dan Forsman, Weir, Wilson, Keith Clearwater and even a stint with former BYU and NFL quarterbacks Steve Young, Marc Wilson and Gifford Nielsen.
“That was a lot of fun and the players loved it.”
Golightly credits the success of the event to dedicated sponsors including loyal Novell Corporation and the late BYU golf coach Karl Tucker. “I keep hearing Karl’s voice, as if he’s right behind me, encouraging me to keep at it, keep it going,” said Golightly.
It was Tucker who got many of his former players, successful PGA Tour players to help. “He’s a guy who could approach people for sponsorship money and never get turned down,” said Golightly.
Over the years the Provo Open charities have included the EB Foundation, Care for Kids, Caring Program for Children and the Utah Boy’s and Girl’s Club to which checks totaling more than $1.2 million dollars have been directed.
The Karl Tucker Foundation, established while Tucker was still alive, benefits golfers under age 12 and involves gifting of clubs and instruction from the PGA Section.
The event itself has drawn golfers from all over the country, and from as far away as Australia. East Bay is a par-72 championship layout whose strength remains its venerable risk-reward par-5 holes.
Provo Open events begin June 10 and the 54-hole championship kicks off June 11. Registration begins April 26.
Feature • March 2014
Better Than Ever
by Mike Sorensen
From the time Jack Nicklaus first visited with the media in the summer of 1982 out on the double green of the just-completed course, until the last of 10 PGA Senior (Champions) Tour events was played in 2002, the Park Meadows Golf Course in Park City was a big deal on the Utah golf scene.
Thousands of Utahns walked its fairways watching the likes of Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino compete, while numerous local golfers experienced their own rounds on the Nicklaus-designed course with its 105 bunkers and target-golf, links-style layout.
However even before the final Senior Tour event was played at Park Meadows a dozen years ago, the course had become a private entity, re-named the Park Meadows Country Club and not surprisingly, has since faded from the minds of local golfers.
With more than 300 golf and social members, privatization was successful. Membership services director Eric Karshner says 40 percent of the members are from Utah – mostly the Park City area – while the rest are primarily from California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.
There are five private clubs in the Park City area, so it’s quite the task to stand out in such a market.
“We are the only in-town private golf club, which is a huge advantage for us,” says Karshner. “We are only five minutes from Main Street, so it’s really easy for members to come in, play golf and have their dinner and then go home.’’
Karshner says one of the best things about the club is the camaraderie enjoyed by the members.
“We have a very friendly and welcoming membership, which is something a lot of people look for,’’ he said. “They want to feel like they do belong in a greater sense of things and that’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed at Park Meadows.’’
As for the course itself, it looks better than ever with a few tweaks since its “facelift” in 2008. Nicklaus’ original layout has remained the same since the modernization with new greens, new tee boxes and new sand in the bunkers, as well as a new drainage system.
Bobby Trunzo has been the head professional for four years after coming from a club in Arizona and he’s been impressed with the area and the people at the club.
He said besides annual member events for both the men and women Park Meadows is happy to play host to outside events such as the U.S. Amateur local qualifying, which will be played at Park Meadows in July and the Senior Amateur and Mid-Amateur qualifiers that have been held in recent years. The club also hosts a Larry H. Miller corporate event and the Park City ski team fundraiser tournament every summer.
Besides the golf, the club has a fitness center open year-round for its members and a season swimming pool open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Dinner is served year-round, except for November and April lunch is available in the summer months. There is also a golf simulator available year-round and a group of members gets together on a weekly basis in the winter months at Deer Valley.
A golf membership at Park Meadows costs $38,000 with a monthly fee of $915, while a social membership can be enjoyed for $7,500 with a $330 monthly fee.
While the golf course is not open to the public, Utah Golf Association members have the opportunity to play Park Meadows as one of its UGA Member Days on Sept. 15 for $85.
Fairways • March 2014
Bringing New Ideas to Glen Eagle
by Brady Bingham
Any ordinary golf bear that hibernates during the winter simply could have missed it.
In November, while many golfers have their clubs stored for the winter, Jared Barnes, the longtime head golf professional at Glen Eagle golf course in Syracuse, Utah, left his post and moved south to Cedar Ridge Golf Course in Cedar City, Utah.
Now in his place at Glen Eagle is a longtime Utah favorite on the competitive playing circuit — Joe Summerhays.
It’s been a three-year transition for Summerhays, from fulltime player to teacher to head professional of the privately-owned, public course. But undoubtedly, it is Summerhays’ vision for the links-style Glen Eagle course that led sole owner Mike McBride to offer him the head professional position. And if Summerhays is able to set into motion all of the plans of that vision, Glen Eagle — and the golf community in general — will be lucky to have landed him in this new role.
“As most people know, I’ve been in the playing mindset,” Summerhays admitted, “where I’ve traveled around fulltime for about 12 years and tried to make it on tour and make a living playing golf.
“But I think it was about three years ago that Jared (Barnes) gave me the opportunity to come be his second assistant, to help out at Glen Eagle and get into the PGA program. Those jobs are tough to find sometimes, so that was really cool of Jared to make the offer to me,” Summerhays said.
That first year at Glen Eagle, Summerhays was for the most part a starter behind the counter. He also taught frequently, both at the expansive Glen Eagle driving range and at Oakridge Country Club.
“That was fun … I really enjoy teaching,” Summerhays said. “I was spending a lot of time teaching and studying to be in the PGA program. So to be out here at Glen Eagle, which allowed me to do that, turned out great.”
Then in November, Barnes, unexpectedly, decided to change positions and move to Cedar City to be the head professional at Cedar Ridge Golf Course. Coincidently, Summerhays and his family — wife, Michele, and five children, Caleb, age 17, Jeff, 15, Nathan, 13, Mia, 10, and Ava, 7 — had recently bought a home near the course in Syracuse.
“The timing was again right for me to look in a different direction in my golf career and with family, “Summerhays said. “So I talked with Mike (McBride) and shared my vision of the golf course with him.
“He seemed to like it and he gave me this opportunity, which I really appreciate,” Summerhays said. “My experience is probably not as high as a lot of people in terms of golf operation and business, so I appreciate him trusting me to do this.
“There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a golf course that people don’t realize; it’s all of those things that I have quickly been trying to learn since November.”
Summerhays said it has been interesting to learn and now experience all those parts of the game – being a player, and a teacher, and now a manager and businessman as well.
“What Jared did was amazing. It’s a big job,” said Summerhays, adding, and it’s only the slow season.
“It hit me pretty hard: Learning all the booking duties and things that had to be done during the winter,” Summerhays said. “Holy smokes, there is a lot to do.
“It’s been challenging, but enjoyable as well.” Whenever you start something new, it’s exciting and challenging at the same time. The office work has been … well different. But with the goal in mind, that if we run a smooth operation, then everyone is going to have a good experience here at Glen Eagle,” Summerhays said. “That’s my goal. I want Glen Eagle to be a welcoming environment for all golfers.”
Summerhays said he knows Glen Eagle has traditionally been thought of as a players’ course. “We’ve held Web.com qualifiers here and Utah Open qualifiers here,” he said. “But one of the great things about Glen Eagle is that it really is as tough as the tee boxes you play. From the white tees, playing at 5,530 yards, it’s comfortable for any caliber player.
“From the Red Tees, the course can actually play very easy and we plan to put in a new set of junior tees with a new scorecard to help juniors just starting the game,” Summerhays said.
Being inviting to any caliber of player is a big part of the vision Summerhays is bringing to Glen Eagle.
“Golf has kind of fallen off, as far as participation goes,” Summerhays said. “So I want to work really hard at bringing new players into the game. That includes women, who may be intimidated by the game. It includes junior golfers, who have never had a taste of the game and how it can be played; I want to get them started. And, that includes former golfers, who for whatever reason left the game; I want to bring them back.
“I want to create several programs that will be inviting for people to do that,” Summerhays said. “I want to have a great junior golf program. Part of that is because I want kids to experience what I experienced. I had a great childhood, growing up in golf, being with my dad at the course all the time. I want other kids to experience some of that.”
The son of Bruce Summerhays, the former Champions Tour professional, Joe Summerhays grew up playing at Homestead golf course where his dad was course designer and professional. Joe also caddied on Tour often for his dad. The two played together and won the Champions Challenge at Thanksgiving Point in 2001.
“Golf is great! It’s a great activity. It’s great for physical activity. It’s great for families,” Summerhays said. “I just want to give everybody that chance to get the golf bug.”
Summerhays said it goes beyond just offering the typical programs. When people come here, they have to have a fun experience here, he said. “That is part of my job as a golf professional, to make people feel comfortable.
“And, it’s about offering opportunities that go beyond the traditional golfer. We have to create and develop some new and unique things,” Summerhays added.
Among those unique things that could be coming to Glen Eagle very soon include:
A unique new style of golf cart, it is similar to a skateboard on golf-cart wheels. This new device, which was named the best new product of 2014 at the PGA Merchandise Show, will debut exclusively in Utah this spring at Glen Eagle.
“We think it will be a huge success with the younger clientele,” Summerhays said. “We are really excited to have it here at Glen Eagle.”
According to one report, the GolfBoard, “offers an alternative to walking or riding in a cart to travel the course, giving you the feeling of surfing or snowboarding during your round of golf.”
Summerhays said Todd Brenkman, the director of golf at Ogden city’s El Monte and Mt. Ogden golf courses will be the regional director of a new program designed similar to youth soccer leagues.
The concept, Summerhays said, is to have leagues consisting of teams, perhaps of anywhere to six to eight team members. The team will have its own jerseys and play against other teams in formatted type golf games.
It’s just getting started, but “we (at Glen Eagle) are very excited to be involved,” Summerhays said.
It kind of changes some of the ways golf is looked at as an individual sport, he said, which makes it more fun to be around others as a team.
“Some of my fondest memories in golf were being part of a team at BYU,” Summerhays said.
This program “combines the basic principles of golf, but replaces some of the equipment particulars (i.e. golf clubs, golf balls) with the players’ legs and a soccer ball,” according to one report.
Summerhays said, “If you think about it, many of the same concepts of shaping shots and curving the ball are very similar in soccer and golf.
“It’s just another great way to introduce youth to the game,” Summerhays said.
Those are just a few of the ideas — those above aimed specifically more at the youth — Summerhays has on tap. Others include a free trip to attend The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia later this year.
Glen Eagle also has purchased and offers the use of a TRUGolf simulator. The indoor simulator, which is currently housed in the clubhouse, allows Summerhays to give lessons throughout the winter, but also allows golfers to play — in simulation — courses such as Pebble Beach or St. Andrews.
McBride, Glen Eagle’s owner, plans to build an extension on the other side of the restaurant to permanently house the simulator year round, Summerhays said. “It’s kind of loud and too big for the clubhouse,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of ideas that we will try to implement here. How many we will implement we are still working out the details. But we are excited about the things we can do here,” Summerhays said.
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