Grand Lake golf pro swings into new responsibilities for rec district | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake golf pro swings into new responsibilities for rec district

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado
TONYA BINA/SKY-HI DAILY NEWS
ALL |

Golf Pro Greg Bradford found himself promoted recently after one month working for the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District.

When the former director of operations Stephanie Birkmeyer – who had hired Bradford – retired unexpectedly for personal reasons, Bradford moved into the position.

The new job feels custom fit, he said.

“Everything I’ve done in my 40 years of work has added up to the experience necessary to run this operation,” Bradford said.

Golf pros don’t normally have experience in food and beverage management and business marketing, he said.

Bradford’s golf career spans 22 years as a golf pro with his most recent stint at Chaparral Country Club in Bullhead City, Ariz. His career as a PGA professional was pre-empted by making a living in food and beverage management. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and worked as a sous chef in the late ’70s. Later, he was the marketing director and sales representative for a gourmet food distributor.

The Grand Lake Recreation District’s goal is to increase patronage to its clubhouse restaurant and bar with menu updates, its new chef and future clubhouse renovations. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunches, though Bradford said he plans to expand business to small weddings, parties and gatherings. But a Father’s Day promotion is first on his plate.

Under the tutelage of Kelley Moser, who worked for Claude Harmon (father to Butch Harmon who was a coach to Tiger Woods), Bradford turned pro in 1987.

The upstate New York native worked as a pro at various private golf venues, such as the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., the Waccabuc Country Club in Waccabuc, N.Y., and the Siwanoy Country Club, Bronxville, N.Y.

In 1992, Bradford moved to California and started his company “Rent a Pro Productions,” producing golf events for corporations and businesses. And in Santa Barbara, Calif., Bradford hosted a radio and television golf variety show called “On the Tee.”

His most memorable golf game so far, he said, was when he won a Lincoln Town Car hitting a hole in one at the Rancho San Marcos course in Santa Ynez, Calif.

“It was the first ace ever in my career,” Bradford said. “So it was ridiculous that I made it winning a car.”

Eventually, Bradford fell into a real estate career with his wife in Arizona. But when the economy tanked, the couple decided to start anew. Relatives in Grand Lake lured them to Colorado.

Bradford reflected how the Grand Lake job brings him full circle.

“I grew up hunting and fishing,” Bradford said of the rural lifestyle he experienced in childhood. “I always knew I’d end up as a golf pro at a small community golf course and enjoy the closeness of family and community.”

As the new director, Bradford said he plans to “continue in the direction the district has already established.”

But golfers may see a level of service “stepped up a notch since last year,” he said. Even though the Grand Lake golf course is not private, he continued, “people can still expect a raised level of service here.”

The course now boasts 75 new golf carts with GPS systems, and the district is reporting better numbers than last year so far in rounds of golf and passholder memberships.

And what does the pro think of the course?

“It’s distracting,” he said. “Because it’s so beautiful everywhere you look.”

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@skyhidailynews.com.


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