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Breezy Point

Local Golf
September 24, 2017

From Sundance To The Minneapolis Skyline
Matt Just, PGA, Director of Golf Operations, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
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Matt Just, PGA, Director of Golf Operations, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Theodore Wirth Golf Course
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Theodore Wirth Golf Course
By Matt Just

I remember what Dave Lyse said like it was "just" yesterday. It was the summer of 2000 and I had recently graduated from St. Cloud State University. I was spending my summer days working behind the desk in the pro shop at Sundance Golf Club in Maple Grove. I vividly remember looking up at our little pro shop TV and seeing Tiger leading the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 10 shots. As I watched Tiger, I remember thinking, "Wow golf is cool, and I wanna be a golf pro."

Then... the moment and subsequent comment that changed my life forever: after I rang up my hundredth leaguer of the day I leaned over and told Dave I wanted to pursue being a golf pro and I wanted to run my own course someday.

Leyse immediately scoffed, took a drag of a Marlboro Red and said in a crotchety voice, "Just, you've got no credibility." He was right! I was a hack with no experience. So, on the heels of his comment, I packed up everything I had and moved to Arizona like so many other golf pro wanna-be's. My first job down in Arizona was at The TPC of Scottsdale. I strutted in that first day and the operations manager told me to go level off the water in the batteries in all 150 electric golf cars. Welcome to the golf business!

I spent the next 7 years bouncing around to various golf jobs down south all while continuing to finish the PGA education component. I finished my PGA Class A membership in late 2007.

It's so fun to look back at all the various golf course experiences from a range picker, to answering phones at the counter, then advancing to teach lessons for ESPN Golf Schools, and most recently working in a cubical while studying golf trends and financials for Ramsey County.

Leyse was right, working from the ground up in the golf business is tough but something you must to do to gain credibility. I mentioned my cubical at Ramsey County, but in all reality, working for Ramsey County definitely accelerated my career from a business and leadership standpoint. It taught me how to navigate through an office and understand the chain of command.

Now, I have the huge honor to lead the Golf Department for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. It's very humbling and at the same time very exciting to oversee six historic and special properties. The history that the Minneapolis courses offer is special. I will always promote our history, but the Park Board will always continue to move forward.

Current events for Minneapolis Park Board Golf Courses.

• In early April 2017 the Board of Commissioners approved a contract to do a renovation at Theodore Wirth that will be complete in 2018 with three new golf holes.
• Also in April 2017 the Board of Commissioners approved a contract to finish turf and bunker restoration that will allow Meadowbrook to re-open later this summer.
• The Golf Department signed a six year lease to provide our guests with Yamaha Golf Cars.
• I'm also excited to work with KFAN and the Common Man to get the word out by doing radio advertising that we call, "The Minneapolis Minute." This ad runs weekly at 2:15 pm.

Lastly, I want the golf community to know I'm committed and excited. I personally worked my way up from the ground level in the golf business. I started as a pro shop kid from Sundance and now I get to be in an organization that provides recommendations to help our six Minneapolis-owned golf properties reach the next phase of their existence.

Rediscover Minneapolis Golf!

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