Schultz has been Hazeltine National’s
PGA head professional for 34 of the club’s
47 years. For all the changes in the game and business of golf over the past three-plus decades, he most appreciates what hasn’t changed about Hazeltine National.
“I’ve seen a lot of things change along the way, but the great thing about Hazeltine is that it always has been and always will be a golf club,” says the 61-year-old who spent most of his youth in Houston, Texas. “Above and beyond anything else, our members are here for the golf experience, and we’re here to make sure they get the best possible experience.”
Schultz started his career as a PGA
Professional after playing collegiate golf at
South Texas Junior College, then graduating from the University of Texas.
Following a couple years of playing on professional tours, he joined Minnetonka
THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE CREATION OF HAZELTINE NATIONAL Golf Club is simple and direct: Build and maintain a facility that can host major championships for the world’s greatest players, while providing a pure test of golf for its 300 members.
That was the mandate of Hazeltine National founder Totton Heffelfinger,
and it stands as a mission statement to this day for PGA Head Professional
Mike Schultz and his capable staff.
Hazeltine National’s staff of PGA Professionals strive to exude professionalism
By Don Jozwiak
PGA Head Professional Mike
Schultz (second from left)
poses with his PGA staff (from
left): Mike Barge, Schultz,
AJ Hoffman, Dan Suedbeck,
David Virkus, Clinton
Dammann and Chris Benson.
Country Club and later Minneapolis Golf Club before he was tapped to replace Don Waryan, Hazeltine National’s original PGA head professional.
“When I got here, the membership was used to the professionalism that Don Waryan brought to the position, and we try to live up to that every day. I work to pass that along to our younger professionals,” Schultz says.
That corps of younger professionals includes five assistant professionals who are either Class A PGA Professionals or apprentices working toward Class A membership. Dan Suedbeck, Chris Benson, AJ Hoffman, David Virkus and Clinton Dammann all share responsibilities throughout the facility, from running tournaments to merchandising in the golf shop. Longtime PGA Director of Instruction Mike Barge rounds out the Hazeltine PGA Professional staff. He has been honored as the Minnesota PGA Section Teacher of the Year and recognized by Golf Digest as the state’s top teacher.
Each member of the staff will learn from this week’s experience of hosting the PGA Championship, and some will go on to increase the fraternity of 20-plus former assistants at Hazeltine National who have become PGA head professionals at other facilities.
“The great thing about our staff of PGA Professionals is that everybody learns how to do everything, which is great training for them down the road,” says Schultz, a 2009 inductee into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame. “It’s a great benefit to the members here. We strive to exude professionalism to every member and guest who walks onto the property.” ●