Tim Schantz was officially named chief executive officer of Troon on April 1st 2019. He has been with Troon since 1998 and has served as the company’s president since 2017. Prior to becoming president, he was the executive vice president of global business development for 17 years after joining the company as its General Counsel. He has over 24 years of experience in the golf and hospitality industries.
The Schantz Story
I was born in Arizona, and grew up primarily in Colorado, but I spent every summer of my youth in a small town in Kansas. There was a 9-hole golf course at the local country club, and I was fortunate enough to be within walking distance and have grandparents who belonged to the club. Once I caught the golf bug, it became the thing I liked to do every summer – that is until my dad ended my summers in Kansas as “Country Club Tim,” replaced by my paper route and otherwise working. But, the passion for golf never stopped. I’ve played golf now for almost 50 years.
I was fortuitously introduced to Dana Garmany, and the rest of the early Troon team, by a friend as I transitioned from my role as in-house counsel at Doubletree Hotels. Dana and I bonded over lunch at a local restaurant in Phoenix long since closed.
Like many people, I came away from that lunch mesmerised by Dana’s charisma and vision of the future of Troon. As the company was getting ready to grow, Troon was searching for somebody with my legal skill-set and I was in the proverbial right place at the right time. I already loved the hospitality industry as a result of my stint at Doubletree Hotels, and to now be able to join a company that was focused on golf was literally a dream. I’m still living that dream.
Thank you friend, and thank you Dana!
You wake up in the morning - what’s the driving passion?
I wake up very early, let the cat out, respond to world-wide emails that have come in overnight over a cup of coffee or two, exercise and plan the day ahead. My passion is to provide and be there for my family - that’s the people that fit the traditional definition of family - and be there for my other family - my Troon family - in whatever capacity they need me that day.
You just succeeded Dana Garmany as the lead person at Troon - what kind of shoes will you be filling?
Seriously? Think huge “Shaq-sized” shoes. The good news is, Dana and I have worked together for 20 plus years, and he is remaining active with the company, just in a different capacity. I have a clear vision of my role going forward, and what I want to achieve during my time as Troon’s leader, and that involves successfully succeeding a true visionary entrepreneur. There is no replace and reinvent; rather the focus is to refine and grow, and lean on the team.
How often are you in the field, visiting key golf properties and getting a read on things personally?
Often, and that’s a big part of my role going forward. The team knows I will go where and when asked, combined with a yearly schedule of visits. The road is my friend.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in being involved in the business world - albeit the golf side of the aisle?
It pays to be nice. I learned from somebody I respect immensely that mantra. Our industry is small and people like to do business with people they like. “Nice” does not mean you do not compete vigorously and always acquiesce. It means, among other things, treating people with respect and doing what you say. Also, don’t discuss confidential matters in bathrooms or elevators.
Biggest pet peeve is what?
People who race to the front of the line of cars that are trying to exit or merge. I get if you’re not from the area, but that’s the exception, not the rule. It’s emblematic to me of the break-down of common courtesies that are required for a society to function properly. It can’t always be about “me.” That’s pretty simple.
Many companies within the golf industry talk about the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach followed by Troon with the multitude of properties under your umbrella.
For the World of Troon, from when it was one location through today’s 450-plus locations, customer service has always been - and will continue to be - about “exceeding expectations” and providing an “experience” a cut above all others. Whether it is exceeding the expectations of a weary traveller sneaking out for 9 holes at one of our resort destinations; helping a nervous corporate/charity event planner or participant at a daily fee club to help raise more for their cause; or anticipating members’ needs at one of our private clubs; it’s about creating an “experience” that is truly memorable and transcends the fee or dues paid. As long as we do this consistently, executed with sincerity and passion from a team that is aligned and service-minded, we will continue to realise growth and success for our clients and as a company.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally, what would it be and why?
Engineer golf balls not to go high and right. Seriously, I would come up with a way to disabuse people of the need to say :“Yes, I am a golfer, but I am horrible,” whenever they are asked if they play golf. Is there any other activity where people instantly apologise for their ability? You never hear, “Yes, I’m a runner, but I’m really slow.” If we could fix that, the sky is the limit!
The major golf organisations - USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA Tour, LPGA - are all seeking ways to attract Millennials, women and minorities to the sport. If you were counselling them, what would you advise they should be doing to accomplish that goal?
Make sure, and focus on, doing things that make the game easily approachable, and fun, while not losing the inherent advantage that the inability to ever master, and the competitive magic of what the game provides.
Best advice you ever received - what was it and who from?
My father always said, “Work hard not to be that person who is always certain, and rarely right.” That sticks with me.
The biggest challenges facing Troon - short and long term is what?
Attracting and retaining service-minded, quality people that believe in the “mission.”
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