We have so many amazing staff members at Lincoln City Golf and we want you to get to know them too! Our PGA Pros are some of the most dedicated and passionate people in our programs, so we’ve got a series of interviews from them, sharing their own golf experiences and their opinions for this year’s golfers.
Meet Denis Vontz!
Denis has been the PGA Professional at Highlands Golf Course since 2003, but his professional career in golf dates back to 1989. He has worked at courses in San Bernardino, Las Vegas, and New Orleans, but we’re so glad to have him back in his home state!
When and where did I start playing golf?
I grew up in Southwest Nebraska (Indianola) and we didn’t have a golf course. Nearest course was in McCook and you had to be a member to play. My very first round of golf (9 holes) was played at the Arapahoe Municipal Golf Course about 30 miles away when I was a freshman in high school. I played a few rounds at McCook during my senior year with a member.
I played basketball my first 2 years of college and really didn’t take up playing golf till my junior year at Kearney State. All of my roommates played golf and invited me out for a round. I was introduced to wagering on the course that consisted of playing for the electric bills, cable bills and phone bills. I was taking it in the shorts as these guys were nearly scratch golfers. So I decided to put a little work on my game (mainly putting & chipping) and starting playing much better and was able to give them a better match.
What’s the greatest golf advice you’ve ever been given? What advice would you give to a beginner?
Growing up playing baseball, football, basketball, and about any other sports beside golf you were taught to give 110%, play hard and work hard. I took this over to the game of golf thinking you had to swing as hard as you can and needed to par or birdie every hole.
Wow, did it take me a few years to realize that this isn’t how golf should be played. I realized after a few years that this game is much tougher than any other sport that I played. You need to have patience, not get upset when you make a bogey or worse, and maybe, most of all, you need to have a good disposition on the course. These things took me a while to learn and I’m still working on these areas.
I would relay these few things on to the beginner and even players who have played a few years. Golf will be the toughest sport you play You need to be patient and have a good attitude on the course. If you need to let off some steam, let it off and take no longer that 10-15 seconds to do it, then focus on the next shot.
What’s in your golf bag?
I have all Callaway clubs in my bag. The new Epic Flash drive and 3 wood (these clubs are pretty darn good), Rogue hybrid (21 deg), the new 2019 Apex irons with the Recoil shaft, Callaway wedges and an Odyssey putter.
Name your top golf experience(s) to date.
The game of golf has been kind enough to me to have a number of memorable experiences. Possibly, my top experience was playing in the Grand Opening of Meadowlark Hills GC in Kearney. I was fortunate to play alongside Lanny Wadkins, Ross Barnes and my good buddy Tim Rowland. It was the most people that I have ever played in front of and for sure the most nervous I’ve ever been on a course.
Another great experience was a couple years ago. I played in the Senior Club Professional National Championship at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale with 300 other club professionals at the age of 50 or older. However, the experiences you build of playing golf with a group of buddies can’t be matched. There is hardly a round of golf with them that goes without a laugh. Just great camaraderie. I always admire the Nuts group, Phillips group, the Noon group, and other groups who have been playing together for a long time. Someday I hope I’m able to be a part of one such group.
What’s your favorite Lincoln City golf course?
Of course it is the Highlands. Love the open, links style golf.