The Corner Office With Dan Jacott (Majestic Oaks Golf Club)
By Rhett Arens
Tee Times has introduced a new column this year where we try to provide readers with a fresh view into the thinking and personality of leaders in the golf industry. In the October issue we sit down with Dan Jacott, General Manager of Majestic Oaks Golf Club in Ham Lake. Dan orchestrates a large operation that includes not only 45 holes of golf (70,000 rounds in 2017!), but also theater productions, banquet planning and loads of fun customer events. He graciously shares his perspective and opinion about the state of golf after 26 years in the business. Fourteen questions, fourteen answers… an abundance of insight. We hope you enjoy it.
1. How long have you been in the golf business and how did you get your start? I have been in the golf business for 26 years. I got my start at an off-course store called Marty Irving making custom golf clubs. I turned Pro in 1998 as an Assistant at Greenhaven in Anoka.
2. Was there an ‘aha moment’ when you realized this is a good gig? Golf has been my life as far as I can remember. I grew up with the City Pass in Duluth playing both Lester and Enger courses. We joined Ridgeview CC when I was in Junior High and then we moved to the Twin Cities when I was in high school and we joined North Oaks. I love working around the game and also in the hospitality industry.
3. How would you describe your golf game? My swing is very tempo based and I am a picker, no big divots for me. When I am on it can be very solid, but when I am off watch out left.
4. Is there a pet peeve about the game you would like to get off your chest? Yes, the weatherman. I can’t stand the calls if we are cancelling an event 5 days out because there is a chance of rain. Drives me nuts!
5. Do you have any hero’s in the game? 18 years ago I lost my hero, Payne Stewart. He was a big influence to me on and off the course. He was not afraid to show his faith and tell people about it, he was a man of integrity. He was also an entertainer and had lots of fun playing the game.
6. Thinking back what is the most memorable moment in recent PGA history? I think we have had a few of the biggest moment’s right here in Minnesota. The Ryder Cup is an unbelievable event to start with, but it was off the charts at Hazeltine and will be tough to top. I also had a chance to work the 2002 PGA and you can’t beat Rich Beem’s dance after beating Tiger.
7. Is there a trend or pattern in the game of golf you would like to see changed? I don’t want to sound too old fashioned here, and I like to make the game fun as much as anyone, but I am not a huge fan of music playing when I am golfing. I can understand how some people like it so I don’t mind allowing it; I just prefer the sounds of the course.
8. What is your opinion about the health of the state-of-the-game? I can tell you that corporate outings are back on the rise, which is nice. Our Junior Programs are not as full as in years past, which worries me a bit, but all in all we will host over 70,000 rounds this year so things are good.
9. What is the strangest player mishap or misstep to take place at your course? We once have a high-speed car chase go through the golf course. A car trying to get away from two squad cars drove down the Signature Course and exited behind 16 Signature green. We had to re-seed the spinouts and tire tracks.
10. What makes you most happy when considering the customers who play your course? I always say we are in the entertainment industry. Seeing people having fun and enjoying themselves is what it is all about.
11. Do you consider yourself a golf purist or wide-open to new rules and regulations? I am very much a golf purist. I love the history of the game. With that being said, I like some of the new changes that have been made and do not have any issues with always looking to improve the game.
12. Who do you consider the greatest golfer of all-time and why? No question, hands down it is Jack Nicklaus. Overall ball striker, putter, competitor and winner. The length of his career says it all. He had 18 Major Championship wins, but almost more impressively he also had 19 second place finishes in the Majors.
13. Do you have a course in Minnesota or Wisconsin you consider highly underrated? Being in the industry does not allow for much time to try out other courses. I had a chance to play the Refuge in Oak Grove twice this year and I was very impressed with their overall conditions.
14. The single best reason for spending 4+ hours chasing a little white ball? For me I love the challenge of the game. I am constantly trying to achieve better scores so the more I work on my game the better I get. More importantly to me when I golf it is a time to get away from everything else and enjoy a cigar or two or three.