The long, anticipated search for a new Prince Rupert Golf Club professional and club manager is over.
Last Thursday evening, the Prince Rupert golf community welcomed Dave Belling to the fold in a meet and greet session for the new hire.
The tall, Ottawa-born athlete who was raised in Vancouver and attended post-secondary at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, has played and grown the game in a variety of roles in Canada, the U.S. and even South America.
“I’ve been playing golf since I was eight-years-old,” said the professional last week.
“The game’s been very good to me. I’ve had the opportunity to play some professional golf and I’ve had the opportunity to teach full-time and create programs for kids of all ages.”
Belling’s resume is extensive – on and off the greens.
“I’ve been doing this now for 34 years since I turned pro. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry. I’ve worked everywhere from very, very public facilities to very, very private ones, so that experience has given me the opportunity to go full circle and be able to apply my knowledge to make Prince Rupert Golf Course better than it’s ever been,” he said.
Along with having a sound background in business and teaching, Belling has toured professionally on the PGA Canadian Tour, the Web.com Tour in the U.S. and more.
“Turning pro was an interesting process because I don’t think I quite understood it. We have the ability to be a golf professional and a professional golfer. They sound the same, but they mean two entirely different things,” said Belling.
“A golf professional is a club professional who teaches the game and pushes the game forward – merchandiser, teacher, businessman, manager. And then you have the professional golfer. And that’s the guy you see on TV playing for millions of dollars. I was lucky – I had the opportunity to try both ends of it. One is definitely tougher than the other,” he laughed.
Having been in town for over three weeks now, Belling is still learning the ins and outs of the course, and he’s played it once so far.
“It’s got a really good layout. The green complexes are outstanding. They’ve got some subtleties and some rolls, so they’re fun to play. The golf course isn’t long – it’s only 6,000 yards, but in all fairness, even at 6,000 yards the course is long because generally speaking, other than the last month, there’s not a lot of roll. The ball hits and it pretty much stays,” said Belling.
The new manager acknowledged there’s a lot of work to be done to get the facility back to a level that the community can be proud of – and it starts with the look and feel of the club, along with the smaller details.
“The initial priorities would be aesthetics right off the bat. Acknowledging that we are the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Club. Our job is to meet and exceed expectations of every golfer … The most successful facilities in North America today, believe it or not, are those golf courses that are high, high-end public. You’re paying $200, $250 a round for it. And why are they successful? Because they are pristine. From the time you drive in the driveway to the time you leave, your services and expectations are all met and exceeded in every instance – from the hello in the parking lot to helping lift the clubs in the cart,” said Belling.
“It’s the little things we want people to come back to. We want to sell the golf course. We want people in it. It’s no fun being here by yourself. We want to increase membership, we want to run junior programs, quality men’s and women’s nights, fun nights and [programs for] beginners.”
And while Belling is bringing his decades of experience in a variety of club roles to the position, he stated that it will be a team effort to achieve any success the course will have in the future.
“I’m not a one-man show by any stretch of the imagination. I come with a lot of experience, but not in all cases will my thoughts and experience work in this facility, so you need that team concept,” he said.
“My job is going to be to create the services and maintain the price … You have to show value for the dollar.”