Spring 2019

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82 SPRING 2019 | NCGA.ORG N E W S P oppy Hills and NCGA officials got a sad surprise in mid-February when it was discovered that the iconic, tower- ing pine tree that stood guard over the par-5 9th hole green fell down due to stormy weather. Course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. was among those lamenting its loss – but also pointing out the positive. "The tall pine tree on 18 (now 9) was saved during the original construction in the 1980s as a sentinel guarding the final shot of the round," Jones said. "It, like the game of golf, was sturdy and stood tall and straight like the high principles of the game. Though it aged, and succumbed to the storms, it shed many pine cones over the years – so it's spirit will live on at Poppy Hills." According to Bruce Charlton, President and Chief Design Officer of RTJ II Design, the smaller pine tree adjacent to the tall pine was purposely planted in the event the tall pine would be lost due to age or a storm. While gone from the course, there was also news that upon its removal the tall pine was cut into 6-foot sections, leaving open the possibility of it having another life, perhaps as a series of benches. Stay tuned. P oppy Holding, Inc. has a new COO, who will oversee and supervise the Poppy Holdings golf properties, and also concurrently serve as General Manager for Poppy Hills Golf Course. Steve Schroeder, a Northern California native with previous experience at esteemed Clear Creek Tahoe and TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, began his duties as COO of Poppy Holding, Inc., which operates the Poppy Hills and Poppy Ridge golf courses, in late February. Schroeder is looking to build on the momentum at both properties. Poppy Hills received a top-100 course ranking from Golf Digest, having been ranked No.62 among Public Courses, while Poppy Ridge continues to grow rounds after investing back into course improvements. "The Poppy Holding golf course properties represent tremen- dous landmarks in NCGA history, and I am hopeful to contribute in elevating the significance and stature of these distinguished properties," Schroeder said. Schroeder's responsibilities at Clear Creek Tahoe included leading Club Membership Growth, Real Estate Sales and oversight of the Golf Operations divisions. He was previously the GM and Director of Operations for TPC Harding Park, and also served as GM and Chief Operating Officer for The Club at Pasadera in Monterey, where he managed all Club operations and strategic planning efforts. Schroeder's got a bit of game himself, too. A Stanford graduate, he played on the Cardinal men's team from 1977-1980, earning All-Amer- ican honors in 1979. After nearly a decade compet- ing in professional tournaments worldwide—including two U.S. Opens and two World Open Championships— Schroeder joined the Robert Trent Jones II Group in January of 1990, where he eventually became Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer in 1994. In March he reached the finals of the San Francisco City Senior Championship. "We are thrilled to have Steve join the team to lead the Poppy Hills and Poppy Ridge properties," said NCGA CEO Joe Huston. "Steve's experience, track record of results and deep knowledge of the business will be a great asset to the organization as we look to further enhance the experience for NCGA members and guests." The BIG EASY C ount four-time major champion Ernie Els as a fan of the new Poppy Hills Golf Course. Els, the winner of two U.S. Opens (1994, 1997) and two Opens (2002, 2012), stopped by the layout in early February as part of an event supporting 18Birdies and the Els for Autism Foundation. His 16-year- old son, Ben, was born with autism. "The course is great," Els said. "They should put it back in the (AT&T) rotation. The greens here are unbelievable." Farewell, Friend Steve Schroeder New COO Returning home to Northern California

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