When he submitted his application to be considered as the head golf professional at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in the late spring of 2017, Jason Hase wasn’t sure what the job might entail.
After all, he was firmly entrenched as the head golf professional at San Angelo Country Club in west central Texas, having been in that position for more than a decade and a half.
But now, nearly at his first anniversary in the position, Hase is settling in and more than happy with how the job has progressed.
“It’s been fast and furious,” Hase said recently in an interview. “We’ve tried to do a lot of things, but we’ve got a whole lot more that we’d like to do. We’ve certainly not done everything I’d like to get done.”
Still, when Sept. 3 rolls around to signify his first anniversary, Hase can look back with a sense of pride and satisfaction of what’s been accomplished. It’s been a rarity for the golf professional position to turnover at the Dunes, with Hase being just the fifth person to hold the job.
“The service aspect of what we’re doing in the golf shop is a huge thing with me,” Hase said when rattling off some of the priority areas he has been focused on in the past 11 months. “Having a good staff who can do multiple tasks has allowed me the flexibility to be out doing things that I think are enjoyable and helpful. I’m not just stuck behind the counter all the time.”
When he was named the head professional, then interim golf professional Loran Richmeier was one of the remaining finalists for the position. Hase said that right from the start, he and Richmeier got together and talked about the entire operation.
“I think it helped that we went out to dinner and spent a lot of time just sharing our visions of the operation and the course,” Hase said. “It’s worked out incredibly well.”
Communication with Dunes annual members, the community and the City of Garden City staff also have been top priorities for Hase, who had won multiple awards with the North Texas PGA Section in merchandising, teaching and also established as an outstanding player.
“I think we’ve just tried to be more out in front of it (communicating),” Hase said. “We’re utilizing the email system and word of mouth a lot more. I think we’ve done a good job of being proactive, but we can still do more. If there’s a complaint, we listen.”
There are many goals down the road for Hase, one of which would be to establish a teaching school that can be taken to area communities where he and Richmeier can help physical education teachers introduce the game of golf to students of all levels.
“If we can teach them for a week and get them excited about the game, it brings in a whole new group of future golfers,” Hase said. “We will continue to work with the high school and college teams to help them get better as well.”
Hase cited an advanced junior program this summer where he and his staff have worked with juniors in the area on Tuesday and Friday evenings for golfers ages 5 to 18.
After having worked for nearly two decades at a private club, Hase said a surprise in his schedule came with the number of meetings he attends with City staff, yet citing as to how valuable that has been for making his job go more smoothly.
“Understanding their process and way of doing things has been a big help,” Hase said. “It’s certainly not a negative because the practices they have in place really work. Jennifer (assistant City Manager Cunningham) has been awesome to work with.”
Another upside has been the relationship he has developed with Clay Payne, who was named just the fourth Dunes golf course superintendent a few months ahead of Hase’s hiring.
“It’s above and beyond anything I’ve experienced,” Hase said of the relationship he has with Payne. “The golf shop and golf course staff interact so well and I’m just really happy to see that and to be here and part of it.”
He said there had been an immediate buy-in from the staff upon his arrival early last fall.
“I’ve done a lot of teaching, too, but I could do a lot more,” he said. “That’s how you grow the game. Making the game easier and more enjoyable for people to play is the key.”
A survey of golfers in the late spring/summer of 2017 provided Hase with a road map to implementing some procedures as well.
“We’re spreading out our tournaments/outings more and we’re not just closing the course for 60 players anymore,” Hase said. “We’re getting people to check-in regularly and we’re just doing a better job of tee sheet management.”
Hase said the mid-season numbers for membership and rounds played is up from the previous year, with rounds up by nearly 2,600 over 2017 at the same time.
“What’s been really nice for me is the friendliness of the people here,” Hase said. “It’s been a fantastic experience for me to get to know people in the community.”
For now, Hase said it will be a continued effort to improve even more service areas at the course, as well as enhancing existing facilities. That, he said, makes the first year a rewarding one, but yet filled with excitement as to what the future holds.
Contact Brett Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org