Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Getting to Know: Mike Hill, PGA, Director of Golf Operations at Terranea Resort
Mike Hill: It’s hard to remember exactly when I started playing golf. I recently found an old photograph of my brother and me with golf clubs in our hands and it looked like I was around 3 years old. My first set of clubs was a set cut down to size by my grandfather; I remember chipping around in the back yard at a young age. So, I guess the best answer is: My whole life!
AG: Why did you choose a career in the golf industry?
MH: I have always followed my passions and made them into my careers. Golf is a second career for me after the music business. Much like music, I enjoy the mixture of the creative and analytical that golf and running a business presents.
MH: A typical day at The Links involves working with our associates to ensure that each guest has a memorable and unique experience. I usually begin the day with a lap around the golf course to check-in with our superintendent and evaluate course conditions. After that, lessons, meetings and connecting with guests generally fills the day. It’s an ever-changing mix that makes up the day of a PGA Professional and that kind of variety suits my personality.
AG: What sets The Links at Terranea apart from other short courses?
MH: The golf course is a unique executive par-3. The design and development team did a wonderful job of creating an interesting routing that incorporates scenic views, varying hole lengths and unique green complexes. Combined with excellent playing conditions, The Links at Terranea provides a high quality golf experience without taking all day to play.
AG: In addition to golf, what does Terranea Resort offer?
MH: There is actually so much that the resort offers, it’s hard to narrow it down but I’ll do my best. The first thing that comes to mind – and likely the thing that makes the biggest first impression for guests – is the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The location enables us to offer such a variety of water activities including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, whale watching and surfing. For those who prefer to stay dry, the hiking is fantastic and our on-site falconer is popular with guests of all ages. The Spa at Terranea is the ideal place for some self-care with massages, facials and other wellness treatments offered in a serene environment. For foodies, our Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra, who harvests produce from our own gardens and manages a bee hive as well as a flock of chickens, oversees the eight restaurants + cafes on property. Mar’sel’s fine dining, farm-to-table cuisine is perfect for a special celebration while catalina kitchen features a raw seafood bar, delicious pizzas and other California Cuisine favorites. There’s definitely a lot to experience at Terranea and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface.
MH: Growing the game of golf goes hand in hand with keeping the game fun and creating a low pressure atmosphere. At The Links, we create programming that engages novice and junior golfers and gets them playing golf on the course. Many full-length golf courses are offering shorter routings, 9-hole options, and beginner play times, which are all helpful ways to create a less intimidating environment for new golfers.
AG: What’s the most common mistake amateur golfers make on the course?
MH: Playing a set of tees that they aren’t ready for. Shooting low scores is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical skill. Try playing a shorter set of tees and seeing how low you can shoot. When you go back to your normal length course, you’ll be surprised to see how this exercise translates to better scores!
AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
MH: Robert Kennedy, Bobby Jones, Kelly Slater, Jeff Buckley
AG: What course tops your “bucket list” to play?
MH: Augusta National
Learn more about The Links and Terranea Resort at www.terranea.com.