The Pro: New SWGC manager looks to make impact
July 25, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 25, 2013) -- Fort Rucker's Silver Wings Golf Course offers Soldiers and civilians a means to escape the drudgery of everyday life, and one man hopes to improve one of the installations most leisurely activities.
Chet Hallman, the new SWGC business manager, comes to Fort Rucker from Guntersville, Ala., and brings with him his years of experience and knowledge that he hopes will improve an already outstanding establishment.
"I'm excited to be here and be a part of the Army Family," said Hallman. "My goal is for us to take baby steps and slowly improve our product."
He hopes to do this by observing the course and seeing what can be improved upon, and making sure that "what we have to offer is right for who we have playing," he said.
"You have to break it up into segments," said Hallman. "You look at what it is we need on the golf course and you have to ask, 'Is it set up for the average player?' We see some things that are not, so we're trying to make it accessible and pleasurable for a broad range of handicaps."
He added that the challenge is creating a course that isn't too easy at the same time.
Hallman also hopes to improve SWGC through its golf shop.
"From a merchandising standpoint, you've got to look at what (product) mix we are carrying and how our presentation is in the golf shop, which is something we will be changing up in the fall," he said.
In 2009, Hallman was awarded the Merchandiser of the Year Award for the Dixie-Section, so he comes to Fort Rucker with a wealth of information to better serve the installation.
"I didn't want to jump in and change everything right away because this is a different demographic than where I came from," he said. "We (here at the golf course) are taking our time to gather information and see how to handle it."
Hallman grew up a Navy brat and is a Dixie-Section professional -- Alabama and Florida panhandle -- who was first introduced to the game while his Family was stationed in Morocco.
"There was a skeet range there that doubled as a driving range, and my buddy's dad use to take us and hit balls every now and then," he said. "It wasn't until we moved to Tuscaloosa, when we moved to a neighborhood that had a golf course, that I played my first round."
Hallman said the game piqued his interested because a lot of the responsibility and outcome of the game depended solely on him and his own performance.
"Like a lot of kids back then involved in all the team sports -- football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring -- the individual side of golf just appealed to me," he said. "You weren't relying on anybody else -- it was just you against the golf course."
Growing up, Hallman played in his junior golf league, his high school team and one year at the University of Montevallo. Like most players, he said he loved to play, but hated to practice, but continued to improve on his game.
"I would never say that I was a tour-quality player, but I was good enough to compete and I just enjoyed being around the game," he said. "In the business (that I'm in now), I don't get to play a whole lot, but it's about getting to be around the game and people -- that's the big appeal to me now."
Hallman was introduced to the business side of golf at the age of 22 when he was finishing up his final year at the University of Alabama. Luck would have it that the golf professional at the golf club he was bartending for was in need of a new assistant, and he was offered the job.
"I was in my last semester in college and I had just gotten married, so I said, 'sure,' and I haven't been able to escape it since," he said.
Since then, Hallman has served on boards of directors with countless professionals and developed life-long friendships, but the highlight of his career came in 2011 when he was voted Golf Professional of the Year for the Dixie-Section.
But throughout all of his success, the biggest lesson he said he's learned is patience.
"Golf has taught me that every shot is going to be unique and there's nothing you can do about that last shot -- good or bad," he said. "It's about patience, and understanding where you are in the moment, and just enjoying the game."