Presidio Golf Club Named 2016 CGCOA Course of the Year & Presidio GM Receives Employee Excellence Award
Presidio Golf Club Named 2016 CGCOA Course of the Year
Presidio GM Don Chelemedos Simultaneously Receives Employee Excellence Award
Sacramento, CA - At their 2016 CGCOA Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony held recently at Summitpointe Golf Club (Milpitas, CA), the California Golf Course
Owners Association (CGCOA) proudly announced Presidio Golf Club (San Francisco, CA) as the 2016 CGCOA Course of the Year.
The highly coveted award recognizes a course with exceptional quality, exemplary water stewardship practices, superior caliber of ownership and management, outstanding community involvement, and significant contributions to the game.
Originally established as a 9-hole layout in 1895, Presidio was expanded to an 18 hole facility by the renowned design team of Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler circa 1921.
While the layout has remained relatively unchanged for nearly 100 years, many so-called "upgrades" took place throughout the following years that degraded the historic and natural design attributes typically found in a Simpson/Fowler golf course.
Over the past ten years, however, the current owners and management team (Touchstone Golf) have made a concerted effort and spent more than $2 million to re introduce many of the traditional features found on an early 20th Century course, including those used by Simpson and Fowler.
Specifically, all of the bunkers have been rebuilt, and more advanced methods of bunker construction were used below the surface to ensure the bunkers are long lasting, drain properly, and provide golfers with true and consistent playing conditions.
Additionally, all of the tee boxes were rebuilt, more than 250 trees were removed to improve air circulation throughout the course, as well as to open up vistas of the San Francisco City skyline and Pacific Ocean.
As a result of the improvements, the course has been featured in many major golf and travel magazines during the past several years, including a move in GOLFWEEK rankings to the 16th best municipal golf course in the country (up from 28th place the prior year).
Long before the most recent drought, the course began implementing water saving practices in order to become better stewards of the environment. Beginning in 2007, Presidio began converting much of its maintained turf to fine fescue grasses that require very little water and no fertilizer or mowing. To date, they have converted nearly 10 acres, or approximately 9% of previously maintained turf.
Although the golf course resides within a national park and is not subject to state regulations, they began a "voluntary" plan in 2015 designed to significantly reduce the amount of water used for irrigation. Not only have they been able to save more than four million gallons of water during the past two seasons, but other local golf courses have contacted them and begun incorporating many of their principles, resulting in savings of millions of gallons of water throughout the bay area.
Under the leadership of Touchstone Golf, the golf course has gone from a private military course that had not been well maintained to one of the most popular public courses in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The course has partnered with the local YMCA to hold a fundraising tournament for underprivileged youths within the community, raising more than $30,000, and they became the Northern California host site for the PGA HOPE (Helping our Patriots Everywhere) program. This program, sponsored by the PGA of America, helps veterans to better assimilate back into society by learning the game of golf. This year, complimentary golf instruction was provided to more than 50 veterans at Presidio Golf Club.
Presidio has hosted more than 125 juniors through the YMCA youth golf camps during the summer to provide golf instruction to the community; and they are the host site for the San Francisco Mayor's Women's Golf Council.
Along with Mayor Ed Lee's objective to make San Francisco the most friendly golf city available to women, they hold complimentary golf clinics to teach women how to play the game and not be intimidated by the sport.
At the same event, CGCOA presented Presidio Golf Club General Manager Don Chelemedos with the inaugural CGCOA Employee Excellence Award.
Created to recognize an individual who has reflected positively on the golf course operation and the game of golf through the demonstration of exceptional customer service skills, leadership and teamwork, the award is intended to reinforce the importance of creating an exceptional experience for all customers who enter CGCOA member properties.
Mr. Chelemedos has been a PGA Pro for more than 20 years, clearly demonstrating his commitment to growing the game of golf during that span. He recently began a comprehensive player development initiative to expand the number of people who could be introduced to the game, as well as helping existing golfers to better develop their skills.
Don volunteered his time to help coordinate the PGA Veterans HOPE Program for Northern California, and also to promote the San Francisco Mayor's Women's Golf Council clinics.
Via a variety of outreach strategies, his Player Development program attracted nearly 1,100 people into Presidio over the past year.
Presidio hosted six five-lesson series' of Get Golf Ready in the past year, resulting in the introduction of more than 400 new people to the game of golf. Additionally, Presidio hosted both a Spring and Autumn PGA Junior league, with more than 80 participants.
Under Don Chelemedos' guidance, Presidio implemented two sets of "Family Tees," complete with their own scorecards, to provide juniors and new golfers a shorter layout with which to learn the game and reduce the level of intimidation.
Don was also a driving force behind Presidio's involvement with the YMCA fundraising tournament and the PGA HOPE program (both described above).