Park District announces new initiatives to grow the game of golf

Staff Report

Golf has played a critical role in the history of the Rockford Park District since the start of Sinnissippi Golf Course, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford, in 1912. Golf is also an important part of the Gold Medal award-winning Rockford Park District with nationally-ranked programs, courses and facilities.

To enhance golf services and facilities to better meet the changing needs of the community, the Rockford Park District has announced an exciting, multi-year initiative to grow the game of golf.

A golf realignment process is under way at the district by transforming the golf team, which will result in more streamlined and consistent systems at all courses, improved customer service and overall cost savings for taxpayers.

Internally, the Rockford Park District Golf team is also changing, as Dave Claeyssens, a valued member of the Rockford Park District golf team, has also announced his retirement, effective January 2014. Dave’s 30-plus years at the district have led to significant successes in the golf community and have helped put Rockford on the map as a golf destination throughout the industry.

Following are details of the Park District’s Golf Realignment Plan:

Name change — The Park District will be eliminating separate golf services management of the four courses: Ingersoll, Elliot, Sandy Hollow, Sinnissippi and management of Aldeen; all golf facilities will be under the management of the new Golf Operations Department. This new restructuring allows the district to streamline operations to improve course standards and overall operations at golf facilities.

New director of Golf Operations — Duncan Geddes has been promoted to director of Golf Operations, a new position with a new focus. Duncan will oversee all of the district’s courses (Ingersoll, Elliot, Sandy Hollow, Sinnissippi and Aldeen), programs, and maintenance, and allow the opportunity to streamline operations, improving course standards and overall operations of each course. This also includes the development and oversight of Alpine Hills, which will likely open in late summer 2014 in partnership with The First Tee of Greater Rockford.

Additional Golf Operations Department staff changes include the following:

Dave Claeyssens — Dave will be retiring in January 2014 after being with the Rockford Park District for 36 years;

Glenn Bereiter — Director of Golf Maintenance for all five courses and Alpine Hills;

Nancy Kauzlarich — Golf Operations supervisor/manager of Sandy Hollow and Sinnissippi;

Steve Moore — Director of golf instruction/manager of Ingersoll; and

Laurie Terré — Administrative assistant for Golf Operations Department.

One seasonal position remains undetermined — tournament coordinator/manager of Elliot.

The new staffing structure will assist in “growing our own” by providing more mentoring and staff training opportunities that will help maintain the high level of service the golf department delivers now and in the future.

Additional benefits of the staff realignment include the following:

The new structure will allow staff to focus on and enhance key areas of golf operations, including: maintenance, tournaments, lessons and internal operations.

On-site managers at all courses — Each course will have an on-site operations manager and maintenance manager to enhance customer service for patrons, to be more in line with industry standards

Technology enhancements — Better utilization of website will allow golfers to book tee times online 24/7.

Revised lesson and tournament program — The Rockford Park District offers a comprehensive tournament and lesson program for youth and adults, and will work with new partners and groups to get more youth and groups interested and participating in golf.

Rockford Park District Deputy Director of Operations Jay Sandine said: “Golf experienced a boom in the 1990s locally and nationally, but as competition increased, revenues in the early 2000s started to decline. To help us maintain our reputation as the best mid-size city for golf in the USA, every person in the Golf Operations Department will now oversee the area of golf that they are an expert in, and as a result, this will help our staff to do what they do best. The realignment will also help to introduce new generations of golfers to the sport, which we hope will result in these new golfers becoming lifelong golfers.”

The Rockford Park District operates five golf courses for devoted golfers in the area — three 18-hole courses (Elliot, Ingersoll and Sandy Hollow), Aldeen Golf Club (a quality championship public golf course with country club amenities), and one nine-hole course (Sinnissippi).

From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue

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