When he moved from being the head golf professional at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course to becoming the general manager/head golf professional at The Golf Club at Southwind in April of 2017, Cole Wasinger had several goals in mind.
Now, just a little more than 15 months later, Wasinger, a native Garden Citian, can see some of the fruits of those goals.
Privately-owned by Craig Boomhower, The Golf Club at Southwind had gone through some struggles over the years, but with Wasinger on board, one of the biggest changes came in mid-December of 2017 when the club signed a management agreement with Troon Golf, one of the largest golf firms of its kind in the world.
“That’s been a big positive for us — the partnership with Troon,” Wasinger said recently in an interview prior to the 2018 Southwest Kansas Pro-Am. “It gives us some stability in the day-to-day operations, their expertise in a wide range of areas and strengthens our reputation in the state and region.”
Wasinger said the agreement with Troon seemed to re-energize the staff and membership at the club and sees many positive signs since December.
“We’re still in the infant stage as far as marketing goes,” Wasinger said. “Our goal, ultimately, is to grow the membership and bring Southwind back to the level that it once was. Troon offers us that growing stage with their level of expertise.”
The combination of wearing the hat as general manager and golf professional provides Wasinger with an opportunity to have the big picture of the entire club operation.
“I think at a club, everything is interconnected — from the food and beverage operation in the clubhouse, to the golf course, to the swimming pool — all the amenities work together,” Wasinger said. “Troon has resources to promote our events to the membership and the people in the region can access our facilities.”
Another area that has benefited members is their ability to play more than 80 private clubs and 300 courses nationwide at reduces prices when they travel.
“I know it’s been a big item for many of our members when they have gone out of town,” Wasinger said.
And then there is the golf course and the maintenance of the layout, generally regarded as one of the top half-dozen clubs in Kansas.
“We’ve invested a lot into the golf course this year,” Wasinger said. “There’s been more resources put into it — new equipment and other items such as chemicals to help control diseases.”
From late fall of 2017 to earlier this year, there were 183 days without moisture, and like most courses in western Kansas, the Southwind layout struggled early. But recent rains have helped contribute to the weekly improvement to the overall conditioning, Wasinger said.
“It was a real struggle earlier this year, but we see continued improvement in the grass coverage of the fairways and our greens have nearly recovered 100 percent,” he said. “The golf course should be looking good for the Pro-Am. When we re-seed in the fall, the course should even be looking better next spring.”
Wasinger said there has to be a balance between having the club facilities available to members, but also to attract outside tournaments/outings and wedding receptions at the club.
“We’re more focused on utilizing what our members want and satisfying them,” Wasinger said. “We asked them in a survey what they wanted, so we’re trying to be as responsive to them as we can be. Overall, we have the staff to take care of their needs.”
Wasinger, who began his professional golf career as an assistant at Southwind in 1998, said he feels right at home at one of his favorite golf courses.
“It’s a great facility and we just want to bring it back to the prominence it once enjoyed,” he said. “The Pro-Am is our largest outside event and it brings people in from all over the road and we get featured for several days. It gives us a chance to showcase not only to those visiting, but to the people in the community who play in the Pro-Am to support the charity (St. Catherine Hospital’s New Born Intensive Care Unit).”
Wasinger said he was happy that the Pro-Am continues to draw widespread community support to bring money to the hospital, and that he expects the event to attract about 40-50 golf professionals to be paired with more than 200 amateur golfers for the first two days of the tournament.
“It’s our 39th year and I think a lot of people really look forward to the event,” Wasinger said. “We’re just at about the same monetary level as we were a year ago, so it continues to be successful.”
And for Wasinger, there’s no better place to be during Pro-Am week than meeting all the needs of the professional and amateur golfers.
Contact Brett Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org