Honored for strong leadership
Since taking over as the reins as head golf professional at Meadow Lakes Golf Course in April of 2012, Zach Lampert has made a number of changes.
Lampert, who was still in his 20s at the time, began making changes, and the changes have not gone unnoticed in the golf world.
Changes like removing some of the ponds on the course, leasing the restaurant out to a third party vendor, and bringing in more regional tournaments. Changes that make the course more playable, and changes in the clubhouse. Those changes have not gone unnoticed.
In 2016, the golf course received regional attention when course superintendent Steve Reynolds was named Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Golf Association (OGA).
Now, Meadow Lakes is in the news again. This time, it is Lampert who has earned regional recognition with his recent selection as the OGA Club Executive of the Year.
"I was very appreciative of the award," Lampert said. "The OGA is the golf organization for our state so Steve Reynolds was named superintendent of the year in 2016, so having two fairly significant OGA awards for the golf course in the last couple of years, I think that's good recognition. It solidifies what we have thought that things are going well here and people are starting to recognize Meadow Lakes."
Lampert received the award at the annual OGA Awards Banquet, which was held on Monday, Oct. 21 at Royal Oaks Golf Club in Vancouver, Washington.
"It's strange to have the OGA meeting in Vancouver, but the Vancouver golf courses are OGA members just because of the proximity," Lampert said. "I didn't even know I had been nominated, but they contacted me a week ahead of time and told me that I had won because they wanted to make sure that I would be there if I could be. So we made arrangements to be there."
The OGA gives the award annually to an individual who demonstrates exceptional leadership. Award recipients can be general managers, clubhouse managers, owner/operators, PGA professionals, or other similar positions of a facility that has OGA membership.
As a PGA professional, Lampert fits that bill.
The nomination and selection process for the award is extensive. Each club has an OGA director or directors, which take care of determining handicaps, and helping with course ratings. Meadow Lakes has two such directors, a men's and women's director. Directors from around the state are allowed to nominate individuals for awards. Following the initial nomination period the OGA has their own committee that looks more extensively at all of the nominations.
"They have people in the handicap division, the course rating, and overall administration that gather all of the nominations then sort through it and gather more information," Lampert said.
Municipal golf courses sometimes earn a bad reputation, and Lampert is proud that is not the case with Meadow Lakes.
"Big city municipal courses often get a bad rap in the golf industry because a lot of times in the big cities it's the crowded, over-run, low budget type of place and not a lot of money is put into the golf course," Lampert explained. "Not a lot of effort into the conditions on the golf course. So, we try to pride ourselves on having really high quality conditions on our golf course. No. 1, that is what we want, and No. 2, that is what our competitors have and we want to be as good as and in line with our competition."
Lampert said that he believes that he was recognized both for the changes the golf course has already made as well as for some major changes that are in the works.
Next year, the golf course is updating its irrigation system. In addition, they are planning an expansion of the golf shop.
"From what I gather, some of the facts that played into (the awards), at least what they talked about when they introduced me, was the fact that we've been able to strategically plan for the irrigation renovation that we are about to start next year," Lampert said. "It is a real big undertaking. A lot of municipalities have trouble funding that kind of thing, but we are able to do that, which is very positive. We are talking about plans to expand the golf shop here a little bit and make room for more merchandise, and they seem to like that. And I think our restaurant move is a factor too. (That is) allowing us to more strategically use our funds for things on the golf course to improve the course and keep up with capital improvements and everything else."
Although he is appreciative of the award, Lampert is even more pleased with what the award will mean for the golf course.
"I think it gives the golf course more exposure and more recognition," he said. "I know that since the last award we have been able to host a pro-am for the chapter and we've talked to OGA about hosting another OGA event (The course already hosts the OGA Juniors). I think that since I have taken over we have a direction and I feel like we have been on the right path. Some of these accolades help to verify that we are making strides in the right direction and that people are generally happy with the golf course and the path that we are on."
Lampert added that for a course to be successful, everyone has to be on the same page.
"You can have a great staff inside and be very friendly and have a good price and everyone is happy about that," he said. "And then you go outside and something is wrong out there. It's in bad shape or there are people that are causing problems or whatever and that makes for a bad experience, or vice versus. The golf course can be great, but you have people inside that are rude and that puts people off, so it all has to work together. I think our members, the people that consider Meadow Lakes their home course, I think they are really happy about things like this. They choose to play here for a reason, so they want people to know that Meadow Lakes is a nice golf course that is run well."
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