River Falls native Brent Heit has been hired as the new general manager at the New Richmond Golf Club.
Heit has worked the past 20-plus years at Hillcrest Golf Club of St. Paul, the last 15 years as the course's head club professional.
Heit is quite familiar with NRGC. He is a 1993 graduate of River Falls High School and was a top player on the Wildcat boys golf team. He recalled coming to New Richmond for a match, knowing it would be a difficult test. That match ended up being the only dual loss for the Wildcats that season, as New Richmond won WIAA Division 2 state championships in 1992 and 1993. Heit still can rattle off the names of the top New Richmond golfers he faced in those seasons, speaking fondly of competing against Scott Cole, Kurt Haugen and Justin Ritzer.
A meet-and-greet was held for Heit at NRGC on March 2, and he was impressed with the number of people who wanted to meet him and the passion they showed for the golf course. That's exactly what Heit was hoping for. He said he brings "an open mind and a soft ear," to the job. "I'm willing to listen to anyone. I have a lot of years of being customer service oriented."
After graduating from River Falls, Heit attended Ferris State University for a semester, before transferring to UW-Parkside, where he was part of the men's golf program for three-and-a-half seasons. He graduated with a marketing degree, "always with the intention of going into a golf career," he said.
Heit's responsibilities grew with each promotion he received at Hillcrest. He views this move as another promotion with new challenges.
"I'll have my hands around more here, more managerial responsibilities. I think that will be a lot of fun," he said.
He said there will also be differences in going from a private club to a publicly-owned club. Heit said he is fortunate because he comes into a business that is already so well established.
"I think the club can use some fresh ideas, hopefully I can bring that. It doesn't need sweeping changes, maybe a couple new ideas," he said. "They have a number of good people in place here already."
Heit said among the ideas he is considering is having live music, and said he also hopes to grow the schedule of Monday charity events and fundraisers.
Heit said he has always been impressed with the youth golf program at NRGC, and he said he hopes to use his years of experience in teaching the game to help that program to continue growing.
"I take a lot of pride helping kids. That's the future of our sport," Heit said.
Scott Meyer, president of the NRGC board, said the club is fortunate to have found someone with Heit's experience.
"Brent has been playing golf and involved in some aspect of the golf business for most of his life. He brings 20-plus years of knowledge with him and is very passionate about golf. Not only is he skilled in the business aspects of golf, but he is also an experienced instructor of the game," Meyer said. "The NRGC provides a great atmosphere that Brent wants to continue to build on."