Our visitor this episode is Josh Doxtator who’s the overall supervisor of The Golf Membership at Harbor Shores. Situated in Benton Harbor, Michigan, The Golf Membership at Harbor Shores is host of the 2020 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
On this interview with Josh, we study:
- The advantages of working with the LPGA Tour in Inexperienced Bay
- What it takes to be a prime vacation spot golf facility
- Why internet hosting the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship advantages the neighboring communities
- The significance of making an distinctive golf expertise
- What he’s discovered from enjoying 300 of the highest golf programs in North America
- Why Harbor Shores is a superb selection for Chicago golfers
Interviewer: Walter Lis. Operating Time: 17:25
Click on right here to obtain an MP3 file.
The next transcript has been edited for size and readability.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – Are you able to speak slightly bit about your new position at Harbor Shores?
JOSH DOXTATOR – My position as a basic supervisor is principally overseeing all operations right here at Harbor Shores from golf course upkeep to the meals and beverage in addition to the golf operations aspect. I’ve all the time been very a lot enthusiastic about alternatives to take a model and actually develop it and execute the service expertise to friends and members and make a reputation for itself and actually make a splash within the vacation spot market.
After which I feel from the general imaginative and prescient of the possession right here, they need to be the highest Midwest vacation spot and my job shifting ahead is specializing in offering the very best product from a golf course perspective and a meals and beverage perspective, however then additionally delivering the expertise that goes together with that.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – Are you able to speak somewhat bit about the place you got here from earlier than Harbor Shores?
JOSH DOXTATOR – My profession truly began within the Phoenix Arizona space, I helped open up property referred to as Trilogy Golf Membership at Vistancia in 2004 and it was a part of a much bigger group improvement … a lot bigger than the Harbor Shores improvement, however nonetheless the identical type of really feel and uniqueness to it. However actually helped from the positioning of that golf course to create a special surroundings via that service and thru a number of the various things that we have been doing on website.
I feel 2008, 2009, we had a 5 star score from Golf Digest. We have been one among solely 24 in North America to obtain that designation and that with a whole lot of, that was principally offering all of the issues that I talked about: offering an distinctive expertise and a number of the greatest circumstances that you would be able to play.
After my time there, virtually 11 years, I took the place as common supervisor at Thornberry Creek in Inexperienced Bay, Wisconsin, the official golf course of the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the possession there was very a lot eager to take what that they had there from a property and switch it right into a vacation spot. Over the course of 4 and a half years, I rebranded the property, noticed a variety of success in some choose markets, primarily Chicago and Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The subsequent step was how can we showcase this to the world? And ended up sanctioning an LPGA tour occasion which was model new on the schedule.
We underwent an in depth renovation to the membership to prepare for the LPGA Tour, however then additionally working with our occasion administration group that we introduced on IMG to create all of the branding, advertising and sponsorship gross sales info to create a really profitable tour occasion.
So simply going from membership operations and model improvement into Tour golf. And I feel that’s what undoubtedly set the best way for me to have the ability to take the information that I’ve gained through the years to Harbor Shores as we all know, they host the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship each different yr. And though it’s a bit bit totally different from a hands-on aspect of issues because the PGA runs, will probably be closely concerned in ensuring that we placed on the very best expertise for any spectators that come onsite.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – What do you most look ahead to when the Senior PGA returns in one other yr?
JOSH DOXTATOR – Properly I feel finally, having the expertise with the LPGA tour, simply getting concerned in that aspect of the golf business was extraordinarily intriguing for myself. And understanding what it takes to placed on a profitable occasion, even from the branding aspect of issues.
On the finish of the day, my entire focus is to ensure that anyone steps on property, remembers their time there and we create reminiscences for them in a constructive means. And whether or not that’s by way of every day play or by way of the members that play golf, but in addition the spectators who come out to see, I feel nonetheless having a chance to be engaged in Tour golf, is certainly thrilling for me.
I’ve discovered through the years that you simply don’t essentially attempt to map out the longer term trigger that tends to vary fairly a bit however finally, I’m actually excited to know from a serious championship what that appears like. And dealing with the PGA of America and already having a few of these ties in with via the LPGA tour and issues like that.
So I feel from a profession aspect of issues we have now rather a lot to do right here at Harbor Shores and using the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to profit the golf course as an entire and the group as an entire and driving extra eyes and extra individuals. And in addition defining who we’re as a model, delivering that have after which taking it to a choose markets within the Midwest.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – How do you envision the relationships with the totally different stakeholders evolving? If you speak about Harbor Shores, you speak about, clearly you’ve got the town of Benton Harbor, you definitely have an enormous footprint for Whirlpool there. After which, as you talked about too, the PGA can also be considerably involvedHow do you type of envision juggling all of these stakeholders?
JOSH DOXTATOR – Properly, I feel what’s essential is the possession for Harbor Shores represents: people who find themselves extraordinarily enthusiastic about golf and are dedicated to their group. And I couldn’t ask for something higher than that.
I feel eager to placed on an distinctive golf expertise whether or not that’s via the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship or by means of enjoying golf onsite, however then additionally having an influence with The First Tee onsite servicing over a thousand youngsters in this system every summer time after which over three,000 in faculties and packages which might be provided via this new chapter.
There’s undoubtedly lots of issues to juggle in that respect, however finally, our dedication is to help in rising the sport. And that’s the place I feel the PGA involvement is outstanding.
They’ve dedicated to supply no matter assets that they’ve to assist us accomplish that, whether or not that’s via PGA Junior League or simply totally different avenues to have the ability to accommodate as many individuals as potential. And I feel sooner or later Harbor Shores has the potential to do some very distinctive issues in that method of coaching and creating.
I ought to say coaching and creating and finally offering important schooling in the direction of vital expertise in life just like that of The First Tee, however then additionally having some totally different arms in educating and assist rising the sport via veterans and procreating programming for them as properly.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – From what you’ve been capable of digest since becoming a member of the power, what do you assume are the most important strengths that Harbor Shores has?
JOSH DOXTATOR – I feel internet hosting a serious championship each different yr, that’s an enormous power. However you simply should put it to use the suitable method.
I feel a number of the different strengths…it’s the one Jack Nicklaus signature golf course on Lake Michigan. And lots of people don’t know that after which for those who ever go to the property, it’s superb to see how Jack Nicklaus and his staff principally routed this golf course in an space that beforehand was ridden with deserted buildings and dump websites and factories and issues of that nature. And to show it into what it’s at this time, there isn’t a greater assertion to the dedication of the group than what’s been constructed at Harbor Shores.
I feel that the story of that and the dedication there’s in all probability one of many strongest, if not the strongest story in all of golf relating to creating and using a golf course to assist impression the group. Like I stated, driving dollars from different areas to help in creating jobs and economically stabilizing the world.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – From what you’ve been capable of see, what are you most enthusiastic about implementing to the course? To the expertise, and to bringing to the world that you simply assume you possibly can assist intensify about Harbor Shores?
JOSH DOXTATOR – Nicely, I feel in any enterprise, consistency is vital and creating a excessive degree of consistency within the expertise that folks have once they come on website. However going above and past and doing issues just a bit bit in a different way. Once you come to Harbor Shores, we could have various things in place the place it’s undoubtedly executed totally different than you’ve ever or whenever you’ve ever skilled earlier than.
Taking…I assume my historical past and my profession after which additionally having the chance to play a number of the greatest golf programs in North America and, perhaps enjoying over 300 golf programs. It was due to the expertise I had and taking a few of these experiences and placing our personal twist on them to do the identical factor for everyone that comes onsite right here.
I feel to me probably the most thrilling half about that is the chance to actually take a model that’s already robust and make it stronger. When individuals take into consideration the place they need to go play golf they usually’re going to journey to do it, that Harbor Shores is on the prime of their listing.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – When you have been going to inform a golfer from Chicago, understanding that they might get to Benton Harbor in lower than an hour and a half, what do you inform them? What’s the rationale why they need to go to you?
JOSH DOXTATOR – Nicely, primary, escape the town. I might think about that within the Chicago market, you could have loads of golf programs that cost a premium. And typically the experiences aren’t the perfect.
At Harbor Shores, we now have 15-minute tee occasions, tempo of play is essential to us. We would like you to have the ability to, if you play the golf course manages on the tempo aspect of issues, the place you are feeling such as you’re the one group out on the golf course.
However not solely that, a few of these contact factors the place you are available and we anticipate the wants of each visitor, which means we anticipate their actions earlier than they even ask. Our objective right here is to be sure that we reply any questions up entrance earlier than they even ask and all they should do is fear about having fun with their time on the golf course.
Finally from the Chicago aspect of issues, we’re shut sufficient the place you’ll be able to come over for the day. We’re additionally shut sufficient to the place you will get away for a weekend and presenting a product from not solely the golf aspect of issues, however there’s a full-service spa and issues like that. The kayaking, the boat leases, Jet Ski leases, the Marina, all these various things and alternatives so that you can take pleasure in your time right here. After which in fact, with the group in Saint Joseph and in Benton Harbor, there’s all the time issues happening.
I feel finally from that aspect of issues, we now have unbelievable seashores, so it’s onerous to argue towards that. That’s what it comes right down to is everyone’s going to be very selective in the place they spend their dollars and everyone justifies the dollars that they spend on our perceived worth, and our objective for our perceived worth shifting ahead, that it’s far above what you spent. On the finish of your expertise, you take a look at what you paid or the worth of admission, you’d say, I’d pay 3 times that to play that once more.
CHICAGO GOLF REPORT – So, last query for you together with your expertise enjoying as many programs as you had. Are you able to listing 5 programs that you simply convey some concepts from that you simply hope to implement to inside Harbor Shores?
JOSH DOXTATOR – I’ll always remember a time my dad took me on a golf journey once I was 13 years previous to Myrtle Seashore and we performed a handful of programs, a reasonably good lineup. However one course referred to as Pine Lakes, and I feel it’s one of many oldest golf programs in Myrtle Seashore.
My dad needed me to take me there as a result of he had gone 20 years earlier and he was blown away with simply type of the service and that kind of factor. And understanding to at 13 years previous, I grew up in upstate New York and golf was simply golf.
There was no one in there taking good care of you. You type of went into the golf store, the professional was in there, developed a relationship with them, however finally it was extra of you type of helped your self after that. That was my first expertise with what it means and what that feeling of service actually seems to be like.
I feel going again to Pine Lakes, simply from once we pulled into the parking zone to the bag attendants sporting white gloves they usually put you on this Rolls Royce Golf Cart, which I assumed was the good factor at 13 years previous.
However the one factor that blew me away, and I couldn’t inform you what one gap appeared like on that golf course, however we received to a par three on the entrance 9 – I feel it’d’ve been seven or eight. There was one of many cooks was on the market with an enormous cauldron on an open hearth making clam chowder and providing it to everyone who got here by means of. At 13 years previous, that blew me away.
However I feel even at present, these are belongings you speak about and also you need to be recognized for. However doing a few of these issues which are a bit bit totally different, which might be distinctive to us, that we do greatest and sharing that with everyone who comes on website.
So once they depart they usually inform tales, they are saying, man, I went to Harbor Shores and you recognize, their participant assistant got here by they usually gave me no matter it might be, whether or not it’s a meals providing or only a memento to recollect their day or one thing like that.
These issues are what actually drives the reminiscence worth and I’ve had a few of these experiences at totally different locations. However outdoors of that, simply anyone going above and past who actually took their time to just remember to really feel such as you’re an important individual to them that day. And I feel there’s nothing higher than that. There’s nothing higher than that feeling.