November 2011 PROfile – Kris Kuhnel – Sponsored by Harris Golf Cars

College/University: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Year Turned Pro:  2011
Facility and Job Title:  Elmcrest Country Club, Assistant Golf Professional

What was your motivation to become a PGA Professional?

I started thinking about what I wanted my career to be when I was a young kid, much like most people. I went through the normal Pro Athlete phase, which was then followed by the doctor phase. I was actually pretty set on being a doctor until the summer before my Senior year of high school when I heard about the PGA Golf Management Program at Nebraska. Being from a small town, I had no idea what the golf business was about. We had a 9 hole course in town, but it was far from being PGA Certified, and we didn’t have any golf professionals. As soon as I found out I could have a career in golf, it was a no brainer for me. I loved golf and quickly realized I wanted to be around it every day. Naturally, being a golf pro was the perfect fit for that. That idea was quickly confirmed once I started the program and I haven’t looked back since!

What is your specialty in the golf business?

I wouldn’t really say I have a specialty yet, as I am still very young in the business. I am trying to learn as much as I can right now, and may choose a specialty in the future. I do enjoy club repair and teaching, especially beginners!

What was your greatest moment in golf?

My greatest moment was actually two moments in one. On Fathers Day 4 years ago, I got my hole-in-one at my home course in our annual father-son golf tournament. My father, grandpa, brother, and cousins were all there to experience it, which made it even more special. It was the last hole of the day in what may be the last time I get to play in that tournament, a tournament that I played in every year from ages 5-20. The second moment came the following Fathers Day when my dad and brother came to Lincoln to play Wilderness Ridge, the course where I was working at the time, to play for the day. It was a beautiful day and on the 18th hole, one of the most difficult on the course, a long par 4 with water all along the right and bunkers up the left, I holed out from 200 to shoot even on the day, my best round at that course. It was the perfect ending to what has proved to be the last time I have played golf with my family on Fathers Day.

What or who has had the greatest impact on your career?

There are a few people who have had the greatest impact on my career. The first is my Grandpa. He is the one who got me into the game when I was 5 and showed me what it was like to be passionate for the game. He is someone I have always been close to and I never would have gotten into golf if it wasn’t for him. The second person would have to be Brian Kuta, the General Manager at Iron Horse Golf Club in Ashland, NE, where I did my final internship last summer. He taught me a lot about the business, especially the need to be willing to wear a lot of different “hats.” He was always willing to get involved in everything, no matter the task, which is unique for a lot of Head Professionals and General Managers, at least from what I have seen. I view that internship as the one that prepared me the most for the golf business and I will always be grateful for that. The final person is someone you all know. I have only been here for about 9 months, but Larry Gladson has taught me more than I could have ever imagined in that short of a time. I have learned a lot about teaching, how to manage staff, and how to become a more rounded golf professional. He is also a lot of fun to work under and I can’t imagine what I will learn from him in the future!

Besides golf, what else do you enjoy?

I am a big movie person. I love watching any movie and I have close to 350 of my own. Comedies are by far my favorite though.

If you could play any golf course in the world, which one would it be and who would complete your foursome?

It would either be Augusta or The Old Course at St. Andrews. I know that is cliché but are there any two courses with a better history? The rest of my foursome would be Tiger, Michael Jordan, and weirdly enough Justin Timberlake. Tiger and Jordan might be a bit obvious, but I have heard JT is hilarious and I feel like this foursome would be a ton of fun.

If you could give lessons to anyone in the world who would it be and what advice would you give?

I would say Jessica Alba, for obvious reasons! I don’t know if she plays, so the advice would probably be pretty basic, grip, posture, etc. Who doesn’t enjoy gorgeous women playing golf?!

What is your favorite golf instruction tip?

My favorite tip is more of a drill. I put a cone about a club’s length away from the student and have them swing at the cone for the takeaway and inside it on the downswing. It’s amazing the progress they make when you give them something visual to shoot for in their swing.

The Iowa PGA PROfile is proudly sponsored by Terry & Scott Harris of Harris Golf Cars.  CLICK HERE for more information on Harris Golf Cars.

By | 2017-04-17T11:58:14+00:00 November 7th, 2011|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Anonymous December 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Would Larry Gladson make the comment about Jessica Alba…. probably not!!

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