The Corner Office With Chris Sauer
By Rhett Arens
Tee Times introduced a new column back in 2017 where we try to provide readers with an insightful look into the thinking and personality of people in golf industry leadership roles. Thirteen questions, thirteen answers. This month we are featuring Managing Partner/Owner of three golf courses Chris Sauer. Chris has his plate full of activities and family life. Striking that important balance between both. At any given time he may be found at Cedar Creek, Riverwood and Vintage Golf Courses. He shares with us his thoughts below.
- How long have you been in the golf business and how did you get your start? I started working at my local golf course in 1992 when I was 16 years old. I just loved being at the course – both playing and working. I graduated from New Mexico State University and the Professional Golf Management program in 1999 and became a Class A member of the PGA. I’ve been a course owner now since 2006.
- Was there an ‘aha moment’ when you realized this is a good gig? Not necessarily an ‘aha moment, but just a love for being at the course and around people at the course. Everyone comes out to the golf course for enjoyment, which generally puts them in a good mood.
- How would you describe your golf game? My game is like most golfers, good days and bad days. I try not to take it too seriously given the amount of time I have to practice. Having six kids and owning three courses, playing and practicing has less priority right now.
- Is there a pet peeve about the game you would like to get off your chest? My biggest pet peeve would be players not fixing ball marks and replacing divots. I just wish more players would take pride in taking care of the courses when they play.
- Do you have any hero’s in the game?
- Thinking back what is the most memorable moment in recent PGA history? My best recent memory is the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. It was a great day spent with my wife and sons watching the best players in the world and listening to the roars of the crowd chanting “USA… USA… USA!!” It was a pretty amazing event.
- Is there a trend or pattern in the game of golf you would like to see changed? A trend that I have been noticing in my local area is younger recreational players. Players just wanting to go out with friends and relax, maybe listen to music and enjoy the day. It just maybe seems a little less formal, which is great for introducing more new players in a less intimidating atmosphere.
- What is your opinion about the health of the state-of-the-game? I believe the state-of-the-game is great. I see a lot of younger players replacing the older players who have stopped playing as much. All our golf leagues have increased in the past few years and the average age of player is slightly younger.
- What makes you most happy when considering the customers who play your courses? We truly take pride in providing the best playing conditions possible at our facilities. It’s very satisfying on a daily basis when so many customers come in to tell us how much they enjoyed the courses and their outstanding conditions. Golfers can certainly see the difference between average conditions and great playing conditions. We strive for great!
- Do you consider yourself a golf purist or wide-open to new rules and regulations? I would consider myself somewhere in between. I certainly can appreciate the great traditions and rules of the game, but I also believe in evolving to make the game better, easier or more playable for all golfers.
- Who do you consider the greatest golfer of all-time and why? Golf made its biggest impression on me in the 1990’s during my teenage years. It would be difficult for me, or any person my age not to consider Tiger Woods as the best player of all-time. He changed the game in the 1990’s and 2000’s for so many people – exposing millions of new people to golf around the world.
- Do you have a course in Minnesota or Wisconsin you consider highly underrated? Just recently, TroyBurne in Hudson, WI was acknowledged as a top 100 public course. It is absolutely one of my favorites. I think every golfer around the Twin Cities metro area should play there at least once a year. Treat yourself to an amazing day of golf!
- The single best reason for spending 4+ hours chasing a little white ball? The single best reason would be to create memories with friends and loved ones. Most of us play golf just for fun and the memories will last a lifetime.