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New golf pros selected

Thursday November 18, 2004

METRO PARKS AWARDS NINE CONTRACTS FOR GOLF COURSE PROFESSIONALS

LOUISVILLE (November 18, 2004) – Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz has announced the nine golf professionals who will manage clubhouse operations at the agency’s golf courses for the next five years. In all, six golf courses will have new professionals beginning January 2, 2005 – three existing professionals are moving to new courses, one existing assistant professional has been awarded a course for the first time, and two are new to the system.

Speaking at Shawnee Golf Course on Thursday afternoon, Heitz said: “I think this is the most dynamic lineup of golf pros in the history of our golf program. This group has a keen understanding of customer service and a commitment to junior golf. They also have a good sense of their role in achieving Mayor Abramson’s strategic plan for our community, which is focused on improving our quality of life. I’m confident they’re going to work together as a team to make our municipal courses stronger.”

Here is the roster of golf professionals beginning January 2:

  • Cherokee – Greg Basham (served as assistant pro at Iroquois for past 8 years)
  • Crescent Hill – Barry Bonifield (new; hired on Oct. 11 after Doug Weick retired)
  • Iroquois – Paul Schuchard (has been at Iroquois for 23 years)
  • Long Run – Moe Demling (served as professional at Seneca for past 7 years)
  • Bobby Nichols – George Johnson (has been at Bobby Nichols for 7 years)
  • Seneca – Kevin Greenwell (served as professional at Shawnee for past 7 years)
  • Shawnee – Craig Heibert (new; currently a professional in Bedford, Ind.)
  • Sun Valley – Barry Basham (has been at Sun Valley for 24 years)
  • Charlie Vettiner – Mark Kemper (served as professional at Cherokee for past 20 years)

In all, Metro Parks received proposals from 12 different professionals. Because some applicants expressed interest in more than one course, Metro Parks evaluated 22 different proposals, and selected the best proposal for each course, based on the following criteria: programming proposed for the public’s benefit, work history, revenue sharing plan, financial resources, and operating and marketing plans. The five-year contracts have the potential to be renewed for five additional years.

Because existing contracts expire at the end of this year, all nine courses were available through the bidding process. Metro Parks awarded a contract to Barry Bonifield in October because Doug Weick opted to retire from Crescent Hill after nearly 40 years of service to the community.

The contracts allow the golf professionals to staff and operate the clubhouses, including offering golf lessons and selling merchandise. A portion of every transaction is paid to Metro Parks for course maintenance, which is managed by Metro Parks greenskeeping crews. Golf courses are self-sufficient, and operate without tax dollars. In the previous fiscal year, the Metro Parks Golf Division collected $2.8 million in revenue. For information on each course, visit www.metro-parks.org and select “Golf.”

Metro Parks provides safe, diverse park and recreational facilities and programs for public use and preserves green space and other resources for future enjoyment. With responsibility for 122 parks covering more than 13,500 acres, Metro Parks operates and maintains Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government’s parks, forests and recreation facilities.

Metro Parks Golf Professional Profiles

BARRY BASHAM – Sun Valley
Barry Basham, 53, started his career at Iroquois Golf Course in 1976 as an Apprentice in the Metro Parks golf system. Basham served in this role under Eddie Tyree until 1980, when he became the head professional at Sun Valley Golf Course. He played a major role in the conversion of that course from nine to 18 holes in the mid-1990s. He became a PGA ‘Class A’ member in 1987.

GREG BASHAM – Cherokee
Greg Basham, 42, began his golf career in 1990 as the Assistant Professional at Glenoaks Golf Course. In 1995, he became Head Professional at Glenmary Golf Course. In 1996, he accepted the job of Assistant Professional at Iroquois Golf Course, where he has served the Metro Parks golf system for more than eight years. Basham is known as a good player, and is a former Kentucky Assistant Professional of the Year.

BARRY BONIFIELD – Crescent Hill
Bonifield began his golf career in 1985 as an Assistant Professional at Hoosier Links Golf Course in New Palestine, Ind. Locally, he has been a head professional at Ft. Knox Golf Courses, Indian Springs Golf Club and Glenmary Country Club; an assistant professional at Charlie Vettiner Golf Course; and director of instruction at Pine Valley Country Club. Most recently, he was Director of Golf for The Country Club of Orange Park in Orange Park, Fla. He became a ‘Class A’ member of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America in 1998.

GEORGE “MOE” DEMLING – Long Run
Moe Demling, 62, started his professional career at Midland Trail Golf Course in 1966. In 1967, he became the Assistant Pro at Oakwood Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1968, he returned to Louisville, where he served as the Head Professional at Shawnee Golf Course until 1997. That year, Demling became the Head Professional at Seneca Golf Course. The reigning Senior PGA Player of the Year, Demling is the system’s most experienced golf professional, and he has taught several top players, including Fuzzy Zoeller and Jodie Mudd. Two of his former assistant professionals also have new contracts to manage a Metro Parks golf course.

KEVIN GREENWELL – Seneca
Kevin Greenwell, 43, began his golfing career at Iroquois Golf Course in 1980. In 1981, he became an Assistant Professional at Seneca Golf Course. Greenwell became a PGA ‘Class A’ member in 1985. In 1997, he became the Head Professional at Shawnee Golf Course. Greenwell was named the Kentucky Golf Professional of the Year in 2001, and is one of Golf Digest’s top 400 golf instructors nationally. He is this past year’s Kentucky PGA Junior Leader, an honor he’s received three other times.

CRAIG S. HEIBERT – Shawnee
Craig Heibert, 33, began his professional career as an Assistant Pro at Audubon Country Club in 1991. He served as an Assistant Pro at Persimmon Ridge from 1992 to 1995. In 1996, Heibert became an Assistant Pro at Hunting Creek Country Club. From 1997 to present, he has served as the Head Professional at Otis Park Golf Course in Bedford, Ind. Heibert is respected for his junior instruction abilities, and is a former Indiana PGA merchandiser of the year and state Horton Smith honoree for education and training.

GEORGE JOHNSON – Bobby Nichols
George Johnson, 65, began his golf career in 1967 as an Assistant Pro for Victory Drive Golf Course in Columbus, Ga. From 1970 to 1979, he was a full-time PGA touring professional. He served as the Head Pro at Victory Drive from 1980 to 1995, minus a two-year stint (1990-1992) as Director of Golf at the K.W. Golf Academy in Greeneville, S.C. Locally, Johnson has been the Head Pro at Bobby Nichols Golf Course since 1997. He’s a lifetime member of the PGA Tour, and is the only African American Head Professional in Kentucky.

MARK KEMPER – Charlie Vettiner
Mark Kemper, 48, embarked on his golfing career in 1973, when he worked at Shawnee Golf Course. He became an Assistant Professional in 1975 at Shawnee and became a ‘Class A’ certified PGA member in 1979. Kemper moved to Iroquois Golf Course to become an Assistant Golf Pro in 1981. In 1984, he became the Head Professional at Cherokee Golf Course. Kemper is the only left-handed professional in the Metro Parks system.

PAUL SCHUCHARD – Iroquois
Paul Schuchard, 50, embarked on his golf career by taking a job at Shawnee Golf Course in 1970. In 1974, he became the Assistant Professional at Shawnee. In 1977, Schuchard was named the Head Professional at Cherokee Golf Course and became a certified PGA member two years later. Paul was named the Head Professional at Iroquois Golf Course in 1981. Two of his former assistant professionals also have new contracts to manage a Metro Parks golf course.