At Suncadia, you step out of urban life and into something that’s all too rare: a place where you know your neighbors instead of just passing them on the way to work. And as visits become longer and more frequent, you get to know the people who help shape Suncadia into a community you hold close to your heart. You’re on a first-name basis with the yoga instructor, the one who has helped you with that difficult pose you’ve been attempting for years. You know the Fifty-6 Degrees Lounge barman who makes your cocktail just the way you like it, and the concierge who always recommends exactly the kind of activity your kids will love.
In this column, we celebrate the Suncadia staff who play a role in the way residents and guests enjoy their time here. Some might be familiar faces or names, and others will be new to you. This week we chatted with Mike Jones, Director of Golf.
What is your role at Suncadia?
I’m the Director of Golf and I oversee the entire golf operations and golf maintenance.
How old were you when you started playing golf?
I was 11 years old when my mom used to drop a friend of mine and I at the golf course on the way to work. We would play 18 holes in the morning, walk to Dog and Suds to get lunch and then play 18 holes again in the afternoon before she would pick us up. I don’t play that many holes in one day anymore, but as a PGA pro I practice to keep my game in shape and can still shoot in the mid to low 70s and break par every now and then.
How often are you out on the golf course?
Not as often as people think for being in the golf/people business. I get a few 9-holes in every week, usually in late afternoon/early evening. I try to play 18 holes at least once a week.
How do you stay positive during a bad round?
Golf is like life, you’re going to get some good bounces and some bad ones, you just have to take it in stride and realize it is just a game. Your friends and family don’t care if you play poorly or great, they just enjoy sharing the experiences with you.
What about staying focused, what are your thoughts on that?
It’s somewhat funny, in golf you want to spend 95% of your time not actually focused on executing the skills involved in golf. Let me explain, in a round of golf most of our time is spent between shots and the actual execution of a shot takes only a few seconds. Enjoy the 95% of the time between shots taking in the view and conversing with your playing partners. If you would try to focus for the entire four hours of the round, that would be very tough, if not impossible.
What advice would you give someone who wants to try golfing for the first time? What about someone who has been playing for a long time?
For the newcomer, “Golf is a game of a lifetime.” Be patient as you learn the game and most importantly remember it’s supposed to be fun, don’t make it work. For someone who has played a long time, my advice would not change much, enjoy the game. If they were asking about how to improve their game, I would have them focus on the areas that are the weakest part of their game. We tend to practice what we are good at and conveniently not practice on the areas that we struggle with.
What makes the Suncadia golf courses unique?
All of our golf courses are great. Our Prospector Course is a really good test of golf for all levels of play and has the most beautiful setting for golf among the pine trees. The view on the 10th tee of the Cascade Mountains is breathtaking. Rope Rider is a bit more friendly for the resort player, but still a good test of golf and has the unique features of the old coal mine in and around the clubhouse and on the finishing holes.
Sounds like a pretty cool job. What do you love most about it?
I enjoy people and for the most part they come to the golf course to enjoy the day, spend time with friends and colleagues and to have fun. As a team we work in golf, but make no mistake, we are in the people business. Working with and making sure people enjoy their day is what it is all about.
If you see Mike playing a round, tell him we said hi!