Archive for Thursday, July 22, 2010

Painted Hills GM seeks single-day world record for golfers Saturday

July 22, 2010

In the golf industry for more than 30 years, Steve Price has just about seen it all — except for a world record for rounds of golf played on one course in a single day.

That, he hopes, will unfold before his very eyes on Saturday, July 31, when Painted Hills Golf Course will attempt to break the current world record of 623 rounds.

“We’re shooting for 640 rounds,” said Price, the general manager at both Painted Hills and Royal Meadows. “We’ll have six-man teams with four shotgun starts — at 12:01 a.m., 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. We’ll use glow balls for the first group and the last one will play glow balls when it gets dark.”

The beneficiary of the event will be the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. Green fees are expected to range between $35 and $45 and each session will include a meal and prizes. “It’s something different, probably stupid and crazy but something that sets us apart,” Price said.

Complete details and entry forms can be found online at paintedhillsgolf.com.

In overseeing the operations of both Painted Hills and Royal Meadows for the second time, Price is the quintessential general manager. In the first graduating class in the Professional Golf Management program at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., he’s in his 31st year in the golf industry.

“Quite honestly, golf was the only thing I had any interest in,” Price said. Growing up in Great Bend, Price teamed with Robert Bayless to win the state two-man championship. A three-year regular, he also helped the team reach the state tournament.

His success also earned a chance to play golf at Oklahoma State. He later moved on to Ferris State.

Price spent the first three years taking classes on campus where he would earn a degree in marketing and business in a five-year curriculum. The last two years were spent interning at golf courses including Almanden Country Club in San Jose, Calif., and Sea Island Golf Club, a 36-hole resort in St. Simons Island, Ga.

His last internship was at Ancil Hoffman in Sacramento, Calif. Ranked one of America’s Best 75 Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest and one of the best 15 in California, Price remained there after his graduation as an assistant from 1979-81 and then won the contract to manage the prestigious course. In 1990, he added a second course, Mather, and successfully managed both until the fall of 1995 when he sold both and headed back to the Midwest.

“My parents were not in good health and I had reconnected with my old girlfriend from our senior year through our 20-year class reunion,” Price said.

He moved to Salina in January 1996, married Liz in April and basically was out of the golf business for nearly a year.

“I was about to go into the management training program for Payless Cashways,” Price recalled. “During that time, I had joined the Midwest Section of the PGA and received a letter that Marty Streiff was looking for someone to run multiple golf courses in Kansas City. I didn’t know anything about Kansas City and really had contemplated getting out of golf but my education and my heart were in golf.”

He started as general manager at Painted Hills in January 1998 and then later added Eagles Landing when Streiff landed a management contract for the renovation of that course with the city of Belton, Mo.

“Marty and I hit it off pretty good,” Price said. “He’s a real good idea guy and I’m pretty much a nuts and bolts guy who gets things implemented. And he knew I had done multiple operations.”

Their relationship would extend to Royal Meadows when Streiff would take on the renovation of that course in 2001-02 and then to Dub’s Dread for nearly a year in 2003.

“In late 2003, Streiff sold Painted Hills and Royal Meadows to Premier Golf, which was also managing Dub’s Dread,” Price said. “I was given a choice by Premier to run Dub’s or Painted Hills and I chose Painted Hills.”

Today, Price works for Eagle Golf, which purchased Painted Hills and Royal Meadows in 2006 and Deer Creek in 2007.

“Their business model is completely different, very long term in thinking,” Price said. “It’s the fourth largest golf management company in the country with 62 courses and a lot of resources and experience.”

Some of those resources were invested in the upper level of the Painted Hills clubhouse to allow getting back into the catering business.

“It’s turned out to be fantastic,” Price said. “We’re seeing a definite demand in that part of the city. Being a former private club in the ‘60s, the space is there. We can do a wedding for 250 and a 144-player golf tournament at the same time because of two large banquet rooms.”

Totally renovated before Price’s arrival in 1993-94, Painted Hills’ 18 holes have never been in better condition.

“It’s a perfect neighborhood course, not long and not hard but super fun to play,” Price said. “That’s what we’re in, the entertainment business. Having people come out and have a good time. Although they’re in different parts of the city, Painted Hills and Royal Meadows are very similar in layouts, price range and the kind of golfers we get. There’s a lot of synergy being built up at both places.”

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