New Fort Rucker golf course manager aims to increase exposure
March 25, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Even though the weather has been rather dreary this winter, each morning when new Silver Wings Golf Course business manager David Unsicker comes to work, he sees a land of vast potential.
That vision came while Unsicker was searching for somewhere to relocate from his hometown of Wilmington, N.C.
"I looked at a bunch of facilities, and this type of facility seemed to be the busiest. You have a captive audience. The golf course has a lot of potential," he said, specifically noting the 27-hole format, natural settings and course layout.
Since becoming the SWGC manager March 1, everything else about the facilities and staff has reaffirmed that first vision.
"The golf operations and food and beverage operations are running smoothly," Unsicker said. "It (has) a good sized golf shop, banquet room and restaurant. I'm sort of evaluating everything right now, but I'm seeing a lot of positives."
Unsicker brings plenty of experience to Soldiers and Families here. He has worked at golf courses for about 20 years and served as a PGA-certified instructor for many of them.
Even though he has been around the game for many years, Unsicker's start in golf occurred almost haphazardly, he said.
While attending college, Unsicker answered an advertisement for a part-time job performing various tasks at a Wilmington-area course. He became more interested in the game and began to play.
"It's a game with a certain set of rules you play within, but the conditions of the game change every day," he said, noting weather and course conditions affect the landing areas of similar shots. "It presents different challenges."
Later in his college years, Unsicker began to take PGA certification courses. After shooting a qualification score, he took classes on teaching the game, staff management, and food and beverage sales, among others.
By the time he graduated college, he occupied a full-time job at a golf course and decided to stick with that career field. From there, he worked a variety of jobs at several courses in the Wilmington area, last serving as general manager and director of golf at Echo Farms Golf and Country Club before coming to Fort Rucker.
Now that he has arrived here, Unsicker said his goal is to "increase participation" at the post's golf course. In order to do that, he proposes a few ideas, many of which the hiring committee liked, according to Col. Mark Weiss, incoming Silver Wings Golf Course Council president.
One of those was the proposal of including high school golf events at the post facility.
"Reaching out to the local area high school golfing teams and hosting high school-level golf tournaments at Silver Wings Golf Course would greatly increase public exposure to the course," Weiss said.
Unsicker also aims to grow the game through "new-member initiatives" and more junior golf programs.
"Junior golf is your customer base in the future," he said. "If kids want to be out there (on the course), then moms and dads come out, too."
"Focusing special events targeted toward younger children, (such as) golf clinics, is another way to increase interest by creating parental involvement and encouraging moms and dads to play as well," he said.
Unsicker said he hopes to promote the sport for more women at Silver Wings, as well.
"We need more female-friendly programs," he said, noting he hopes to teach the basics surrounding golf, such as etiquette.
Weiss said he looks forward to working with Unsicker at a facility he calls integral to Soldiers and Families.
"Silver Wings is very important to overall Soldier fitness, mental and physical; team-building exercises; and in terms of building strong Family bonds, ranks in importance with those critical installation functions (such as the) Commissary, PX (Post Exchange) and physical fitness (facilities)," he said. "The addition of David to Silver Wings Golf Course will absolutely take this already wonderful facility to the next higher level of excellence."