TBCC Craig Morton Head Profess

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TBCC Craig Morton

By Scott A.Sumner
Northwestern Ontario Golfing News
If you walk into the pro shop of the TBCC it is likely the first prson to greet you with a friendly hello and nice smile is Craig Morton

He has beenPro at the TBCC for 17 years. The 41year old is a CPGA professional who has worked previously at Strathcona for 4 years under the late Ted Shaw and in Fort MacMurray, Alberta for3 years with the late Mark Shushack. “ When I was young all we ever did was play golf. We would go around and around until it got dark. I started work at the proshop at a early age and liked it so I justcontinued on. I’ve always enjoyed being in golf and at age 25  in 1991
became the head Pro here at the TBCC  replacing Tom Price,” smiles Craig Morton. “ My normal day is to here by about 6:30 am and basically take care of the members needs, take care of the golf course and teach,doing lots of lessons. Today I taught 4 lessons and then we havetwilight so it will be a long day. It’s 7 days a week but I love it. During the course of the season the days can get long as you aredealing with the same people but our goal is try to give the best service to the members.”

The TBCC currently have about 200 shareholders which doesn’t include the juniors, a growth area for the course. Craig and his pro shop staff look after equipment sales and anything to do with golf. The carts are the clubs but Craig and staff still look after and maintain them. There
are lessons and the running of all the golf tournaments which they organize, set up with the club, plan the course and how the tournament is going to run. They take care of everything.
Equipment sales is a large part of Craig’s business where he stocks Titleist, Cobra, Calloway, Ping, Taylormade and Sun Mountain. “ We probably have the biggest pro shop stock of a privately owned on site golf shop. Our members buy from us and I have a lot of non member
customers as well. We try to give them the best service we can and our base grows each year,”notes Craig Morton. “ Anyone can play the TBCC and we take tee times 1 day in advance as long as we can accommodate them and not cut into our members play or a tournament. The key is to keep our member cost down by having tournaments, coupons, walk on revenue or guests of members. It helps to keep our cost of membership down. For a 9 hole facility the costs are almost the same as a 18 hole when you have a golf professional, greens superintendent and house and beverage manager like we do. It costs a lot of money to operate.”
“ The TBCC has lost many members going to places like Whitewater - especially our corporate members, so we fight to generate revenue. As long as the TBCC is here and will have us we are on board to make the TBCC a great place that’s here for the long haul,” smiles Morton. “ I 
do like the fact the TBCC is in great shape most always or we try to keep it in great shape. I think it is a fun place to play with many fun holes. Every hole is a forced carry. Even though it isn’t 18 holes it is a fun place to play . The juniors love coming out here as well the
members, many who have been here for years and years.”
    Perhaps a speciality of Craig Morton is giving lessons. “ During lessons you find the wants and needs of the golfer and once we establish that we go from there. In general people try to make golf a lot harder than it is. Every person is different and the goal is to make them hit better shots and enjoy the game more,” notes Morton. “ Most of us become too technical while really the simple things make us better. The simple fundamentals are what’s really important.”
Ryan Milani has been the Greens Superintendent at the TBCC for 4 years. He took a course in Toronto in horticulture, greens keeping and landscaping and enjoys working on the 96 years old course that was started in 1909. “ We have old trees and greens here but redid two
greens number 4 and 9 with bent grass.  The rest are poa. We have planted many trees as well since I have been here. This year has been good for rain. We do have an automatic rainbird watering system for greens, tees and fairways,” smiles Ryan Milani. “ Saturday and Sunday we work are just mornings to get ready for the members but our staff of 5 are going full time during the week. I like the layout  of the TBCC as you can get in a lot of trouble here. If you don’t hit your driver straight you won’t get a par. It is a beautiful course that is very challenging, as everything is a forced carry and you have to hit the greens to be on you game.”
Also part of the management team of the TBCC with Craig and Ryan is Frances Gaudino, Food and Beverage Manager. During our interview it was fun to play some golf with Craig Morton, Ryan Milani and new TBCC member, retired dentist Dr. Bob Schiewe. If you would like to play this challenging, traditional golf course contact the TBCC for more information. I’m sure  the first words you will hear on the other end of your phone call are, “ Hello Pro Shop this is Craig speaking, can I help you!”

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