Smell the Roses, Eat the Nachos
Each day I push to improve the association and our golf courses as well as challenge each department to be the best it can. My job includes helping everyone be a star and supplying the tools needed to accomplish this challenge.
As I watched some of golf’s finest players come up Poppy Hills’ 18th fairway during the recent AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, I recalled this is the 20th anniversary of Poppy Hills and the 10th of Poppy Ridge. Then I thought about the year that just passed and reflected on some of our recent success.
We have just wrapped up our 16th year of hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. We played host to a long list of great golfers and celebrities. The weather could not have been any better – a high of 78 degrees – and the Poppy Hills staff could not have been more enthused to host such a prestigious tournament. Teeing off alongside celebrity players such as Tom Brady, George Lopez and Samuel L. Jackson were our NCGA officers, President Dick Skavdahl, Vice President Dean Bartee, Secretary-Treasurer Mark House, Immediate Past President Bill Giffen and Poppy Holding, Inc. board member Chuck Van Linge. After the tournament they remarked at how memorable the entire experience was for them. We’re glad that we are able to provide such an opportunity that will forever be a part of their golf experience.
Poppy Hills’ General Manager Tyler Jones and I took off in the middle of hosting the AT&T to travel to Atlanta to attend the annual conference of the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA). At the conference, Tyler accepted the Course of the Year Award for Poppy Hills. We are very proud to receive this recognition from the NGCOA, an organization comprised of our industry peers, golf course owners and operators.
The success does not stop with the Course of the Year honor. Poppy Hills was also recognized by Golf Digest as one of its “Best Places to Play” earning four-and-a-half stars out of a possible five. The golf shop was named one of the “Top 100 Golf Shops” by Golf World Business magazine, and Golf Today magazine ranked Poppy Hills #15 out of the “Top 25 Toughest Courses.”
Notwithstanding such great compliments, we have also been recognized for something off the fairways – a plate of chips with melted cheese. Fairways & Greens magazine named Poppy Hills as one of its “101 Best Golf Experiences in the West,” based on the strength of what the author called “the best nachos you’ll ever taste.”
Our sister course Poppy Ridge in Livermore has also been receiving its share of recognition.
Poppy Ridge was named the “Best Course in the Tri-Valley” by the readers of the Tri-Valley Herald and Head Professional Brad Braden received the Merchandiser of the Year Award from the Northern California PGA at its annual meeting in Monterey.
More than just a place to play golf, Poppy Ridge is the perfect setting to get married, host a corporate luncheon or wind down after a long day at work. The outdoor patio overlooking the course is home to local jazz bands on Thursday nights. Poppy Ridge’s Jazz Nights was voted the number-one entertainment activity for the area.
Recently, the news headlines read “Northern California municipal golf courses are expected to show another financial loss.” I think of Poppy Hills and Poppy Ridge and I grow more and more appreciative of the phrases “NCGA member courses” and “owned and operated by the NCGA.” Our association is financially sound and we have strong assets and a very strong balance sheet, enabling us to provide numerous membership benefits.
We are developing great plans for the future, but sometimes you just need to stop and appreciate success.