|A Candid Chat With Patrick Hunt - General Chairman, Ryder Cup At Hazeltine National Golf Club|
|Construction of Chalets Off #1|
By R.J. SmileyPatrick Hunt, has been a member of Hazeltine for 22 years, and is CEO of Hunt Adkins, Inc., a full service brand communications and digitally focused advertising agency. "The PGA of America is extremely good at staging major golf events. They provide the process and structure that serves as a skeleton for every PGA golf sponsored event. We, the members of Hazeltine National Golf Club along with the 4000 volunteers, provide the building blocks. The PGA team then provides the mortar to secure those blocks firmly into place."
In a recent conversation with a friend who lives on Lake Hazeltine, with a great view of the 10th and 16th greens, said, "I can't believe the huge wall and size of those tents they are building overlooking the 10th green. Looks to me like they could put the new Vikings stadium inside."
As the 2016 edition of the Ryder Cup Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club draws near, Ryder Cup General Chairman, Patrick Hunt, his team of committee leaders and an army of volunteers have nearly completed their work prior to the event! Each of the building blocks necessary to stage the Ryder Cup has been systematically put into place. As I found out during an interview with Patrick Hunt, after the event most of those blocks will need to be removed and/or dismantled.
R.J. Smiley: Is the champagne iced and ready for the post Ryder Cup party?
Patrick Hunt: There will be a small party, but the event clean up and wrapping up of partnership responsibilities will take until mid-2017. Members of several committees and I will continue to have two jobs until well into next year.
RJ: When were you appointed Chairman of the Hazeltine Ryder Cup and what credentials did you bring to the job?
PH: I have been a longtime member of Hazeltine and was on the executive committee for the 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships. In 2012, I was nominated along with several other very qualified people. In July of 2012 I had the honor of being appointed to the position of General Chairman.
RJ: With all the time that is required being General Chairman of the Ryder Cup, do you feel that your business has suffered?
PH: Hunt Adkins has remained at the top of its game. The experienced staff has continued to be very creative solving problems for our valued clients. I just feel like I have two full time jobs.
RJ: Do you have a family? If so, has your family become involved with the Ryder Cup?
PH: I am married to Marilee Fasching who works for Black, a retail branding firm. She is fully supportive of what I am doing, but remains extremely busy with her business. We have a son, Henry, age 19 who is a sophomore at the U of M. We also have a daughter, Maggie, 21, who is a senior at the U of M. Henry accompanied me on the trip to Gleneagles in Scotland for the 2014 Ryder Cup. It was an amazing learning experience for him for a variety of reasons.
Maggie really got interested in golf through Hazeltine member, Rich Beem. You remember Rich, he won the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine. At Hazeltine, the winner of every major championship becomes a lifetime member of our club. While Rich is a lifetime member because of his win, he is considered by the entire membership as just a regular member. He even has a member's locker in addition to his champion's locker. He spends a lot of time at Hazeltine and is very involved. The last year that Rich played on the European Tour, Maggie served as nanny for Rich's children for six weeks while they traveled through Europe. She loved the entire experience!
RJ: What is the biggest part of your job as General Chairman?
PH: One of my jobs as General Chairman is to oversee the entire operation and work directly with the various committees. I help to make sure things get done appropriately and in a timely manner. Really, that part of the job is pretty simple; we have great people running each of the committees. My biggest job has been to introduce the various PGA staff members to key people in the community.
RJ: How does your job as General Chairman and the job of Jeff Hintz, 2016 Ryder Cup Director, differ? Are there overlaps?
PH: I talk with Jeff several times each day. He is involved in the process of connecting all of the building blocks of a Ryder Cup together. I am responsible for providing each of Hazeltine's various blocks to the process. Of course there is some overlap, but we work as a team - and get things done!
RJ: What are the differences between hosting a Ryder Cup and hosting other major golf championships?
PH: A short answer - size and scope! Everything about the Ryder Cup is bigger. Everybody wants to be a part of the Ryder Cup. Everything is twice as big as other major championships. We had twice as many people sign up to be a volunteer. People love the 'team concept' of the Ryder Cup, a team event where there is no money paid to the players.
RJ: What do you feel is the biggest effect hosting a Ryder Cup brings to Hazeltine National Golf Club?
PH: The Ryder Cup is the "Crown Jewel" in the world of golf! The Ryder Cup means that Hazeltine has achieved the summit in the world of golf. The entire world will always remember the three days in the fall of 2016 when the Ryder Cup was staged at Hazeltine.
Our golf club was developed with the vision to host national golf championships. This fall Hazeltine is hosting, what is really, the most significant team championship in golf. The Ryder Cup takes our club to another level. This is not the end of the road for Hazeltine National Golf Club. Our club will not retire from the championship golf scene. The membership is, and will continue to be, dedicated to continuing the tradition of hosting golf championships. We will continue to work with the USGA and the PGA to schedule and host their golf championships far into the future.
Golfers often speak of raising the level of their game to meet the competition. When spectators personally visit Hazeltine and golf fans worldwide watching on television witness the transformation from the Dave Hill described, "cow pasture," they will understand that Patrick Hunt and his committee chairmen have raised the bar to a new level for all future golf championships. Patrick Hunt has gotten things done - done right!
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