Operator of the Year 2015

Photo by Bruce Buckley

It’s been said that every great challenge comes with equally great opportunity. When golf courses began to struggle under the weight of the Great Recession in 2008, it created ample opportunity for golf course operators to turn facilities around.

Although many courses have continued to languish, a handful of savvy operators have combined good management principles with innovative thinking to turn struggling properties into moneymakers.

Gary Huebner is one of those operators.

“Two of the biggest things we found ourselves up against, which we still do to some extent, is the [belief] that we are only a place to play golf, and because ‘club’ is in our name, everyone thinks we’re private,” said Huebner, general manager of the 1757 Golf Club in Sterling, Va.

So Huebner rebranded the facility, placing a greater emphasis on inclusiveness and inviting people to come for the restaurant. The move has paid off.

Huebner is one of 15 golf course operators that Golf Inc. is recognizing in its inaugural Operator of the Year competition. He won first place in the Daily Fee category, one of four categories the contest spotlights. The others are: Private Club, Resort and Municipal. The competition is designed to celebrate golf course operators who substantially improved their facilities during the past year.

Golf Inc. sought nominations from around the globe. To be eligible, each candidate had to be the top on-site leader at a golf course and be nominated for his or her role with a single facility. Golf Inc. judged the nominees on financial improvement, capital investment and innovation, with each category focusing on the specific metrics that mattered most.

While Golf Inc. has long celebrated great developments, renovations and clubhouses, this is the first competition to compare the performance of general managers, golf directors and other on-site leaders. The following 15 professionals have demonstrated outstanding business skills, sometimes overcoming great challenges, such as bankruptcies and closures.

To find out who the 15 Operators of the Year are, read the free Nov/Dec issue of Golf Inc. Magazine here. 

Photo by Bruce Buckley

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!