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May
08

Arrowhead Golf Club: Golf for a New Generation

bmcmaken@wheatonparks.org


With its roots found in the Middle Ages, golf may be an ancient game, but it's finding fresh life through new generations all over the country. In Chicagoland specifically, Arrowhead Golf Club is sprucing up its game in the hopes of attracting a broader clientele than the traditional club, and the community is positively responding to Arrowhead's home-away-from-home feeling for all ages.

As part of the Wheaton Park District, Arrowhead has always been a unique place because it's a public course, but, according to the two new assistant golf professionals at Arrowhead, it's also a place where everybody knows your name. "There's definitely a sense of community," says Matthew Nations. "It feels like a private club where everybody knows you."

Andrew Ogata agrees: "When I started here seven years ago, I was taught that we run this place like a family. And that certainly hasn't changed." This culture is attributed to a number of Arrowhead employees, such as current Director of Golf Bruce Stoller and longtime, now-retired head professional Billy Klemz.

However, the face of the classic golf clientele has been slowly changing and becoming younger and less gender-specific. "It's not just a guy's club here," says Ogata. "We're seeing a lot of families out on the course." Nations also mentions that the majority of the lessons he teaches are with women, rather than men.

Overall, Nations and Ogata, who in their first year of the three-year PGA Apprentice Program, are encouraged by these changes they're seeing at Arrowhead Golf Club and in the sport of golf overall.

"I think golf has been seen as this very intimidating sport," explains Nations. "But it doesn't have to be that way. I love helping people of all ages learn to enjoy it."

One specific way Arrowhead is introducing a younger generation to the sport of golf is through its PGA Junior League. Kids under the age of 13 can learn the basic skills alongside Ogata and Nations. "I didn't have this when I was growing up, so it's a special program for these kids," says Nations.

Last year the program had 14 kids; this year, they're hoping for 40. Ogata says the response last summer was extremely positive: "One of the coolest moments I've ever experienced on a golf course happened last summer. We had all these kids come out for the program, so they were on the driving range with their moms, their dads, and their siblings. That just doesn't happen very often in golf, but we're really excited to see it happening here at Arrowhead."

Arrowhead is also giving their course a facelift by making some major and minor changes to the look and feel of the driving range, giving it a more hospitable feel for golfers and spectators. And customers are reacting with rave reviews, according to Ogata and Nations.

In terms of Arrowhead's success with these improvements, though, many of the employees attribute first and foremost to the customers-the patrons from Wheaton and nearby communities, along with the Wheaton Park District, or as Ogata puts it, "I love this place most because of the people who come in here to golf, to eat, just to say hello. Without their support and Wheaton's support, Arrowhead would not be what it is."

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News Source: Arrowhead Golf Club

Posted May 8, 2015 || Viewed 2,063 times || View Course Profile


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