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Nathan Ollhoff Named 2016 Bill Strausbaugh Award Recipient

November 1, 2016

Nathan Ollhoff of Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. is the 2016 Bill Strausbaugh Award Winner in the Minnesota Section. This award praises a PGA Professional who personally displays incredible integrity, character and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of fellow PGA Professionals. Not only does Nathan support professionals as they develop in their respective careers, he advises and encourages professionals to enhance their professional skills, strengthen service and improve work performance.

“I loved being around the game,” Ollhoff said. “I was so inspired by my head professional; I learned about the characteristics of a professional and the gentleman-like qualities that come with it.”

“I wanted to reciprocate what I learned, teach my staff what he taught me,” he added.

nathan-ollhoff-award

The criterion for the award is as follows: record of service to the PGA of America in the effort to further the careers of fellow PGA Professionals, development of his or her image, reputation and ability to inspire fellow professionals in the area of leadership and service to the Association, peers and community, and record of service and promotion of the game of golf and golf industry within the area of employment and club relations.

Nathan arrived at Interlachen Country Club in 2009 hoping to create a unique culture and experience for young professionals and interns driven by a strong, elaborate training program. The program continues to evolve and adapt each year. The team learns along the way as the club and industry changes and alumni provide constructive feedback.

The staff and personnel are extremely organized and communication is a priority. They meet on a quarterly basis during face-to-face meetings to discuss goal progression and evaluate individual performance which is important during a very busy golf season. Not all time is spent in the office, though.

“I also feel it’s important to connect and spend time away from the office,” said Ollhoff. “That is why this year I’ve made it a point to play a round with each staff member on a Monday. This allows us to form relationships outside of our working environment.”

The staff is exposed to a multitude of different facets of the operation and the challenges presented with each task. Each staff member spends their day starting, rangering and working in the pro shop. Furthermore, each person manages a specific merchandise category, ranging from Men’s and Ladies’ soft goods to Junior apparel. Also, each staff personnel is expected to Tournament Lead for at least one event during the season. These different tasks give the interns and young professionals a well-rounded experience.

Olhoff credits his past mentors and PGA Professionals for his success and being his inspiration.

“As I reflect back on the reasons I chose to pursue a PGM degree, it is the individuals, rather than the game, that has shaped me the most,” he emphasized. “Not only did they teach me how to play the game, but also how to act both on and off the golf course and how to make people feel good. Their structured training programs gave me the tools and resources I needed to begin creating my own vision for a mentorship program.”

The learning experiences don’t end their for his staff; Interlachen offers three additional educational opportunities.

The staff teaches weekly intern education programs where assistant professionals and managers lead seminars discussing industry topics such as customer service, club fitting, the role of the general manager, golf fitness and more.

A new initiative beginning this year, Interlachen invited 3 members to discuss topics that specific member is familiar with and would capture the interest of staff. For example, Richard Pitino, coach of the University of Minnesota Men’s basketball team, came in to talk about team building and how it is critical in every team setting.

Lastly, also new this year, they installed an Instructor Certification Program. The program aims to develop a platform for staff to improve their knowledge in instruction. There are monthly meetings and multiple times during these months, discussions are held to talk about various aspects of teaching and coaching players.

Nathan goes above and beyond when it comes to mentoring, teaching and impacting the careers of his employees and interns. We are honored and privileged to have Nathan in the Section and would like to congratulate and thank him for his services.

Congratulations and thank you for your services to the Section, Nathan.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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