The Willows Golf and Country Club will go into the new decade with Ron Erikson as their general manager.
Erikson began his career in Saskatoon at the Greenbryre Country Club under the tutelage of Peter and Sherrill Semko. Erikson credits his career success to what he learned from the Semko’s at the Greenbryre Club.
Erikson’s career has taken him to several of the top-end courses in Saskatchewan and Saskatoon. He was general manager at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club when the club underwent their extensive clubhouse design and construction. From there Erikson took the position of executive director at the Riverside Country Club. He was also part of Riverside’s clubhouse and commissioning project. Erikson was hired by Arne Petersen to lead Elk Ridge Resort as the chief executive officer during the transformation from the operations of a seasonal golf and RV park to a full four-season resort. Erikson then went on to work for Whitecap Dakota and was hands on during the development of Dakota Dunes Golf Links.
Erikson left the golf industry for a time managing in the residential and commercial construction industry. He said his golf and construction management experience is a good fit for The Willows and the course’s future.
“This opportunity’s draw for me is based with the connection and a working relationship with the ownership developer group and with being involved with the capable team at The Willows to operationally deliver a project together that will be very unique and desirable on both a land development and amenity basis. It is an exceptionally exciting time to be involved with The Willows at this point in it’s history,” Erikson told Golf Saskatchewan via email.
Changes are coming to the 27-hole course including a proposal to remove nine holes and construct a third residential development in south Saskatoon. Nothing has publicly been finalized for the development overseen by Dream Unlimited. Erikson said he’s excited to be involved at this point.
“The long-term vision is presently being determined by our ownership group,” Erikson explained. “My short-term vision is to continue operating out of our present golf course and clubhouse facilities and to continue our existing business model. The Willows has a fine history of delivering exceptional experiences in both golf operations and hospitality and the goals for 2020 are to keep tracking and improving with our deliveries for our customers and members.”
Golf Saskatchewan will return to The Willows in 2020 for the provincial women’s amateur championship in July. Synergy 8 will also use the course for their popular Drive for Kids tournament that attracts well over 200 golfers. Erikson said he’s looking forward to working with both groups during the events.
“The Willows has a proud history of hosting city, provincial and national golf events. The 2020 women’s amateur will be the next opportunity to showcase our facilities here and have our dedicated and capable team provide hospitality, a challenge to the players and to be able to create more great memories for the event that have served to put the provincial women’s amateur championship at the pinnacle for women’s golf competitions. The Willows is very fortunate to be the host venue again in 2020 for one of the Synergy 8 Community Builders’ fundraising initiatives. This is a dedicated group of leaders who truly care about their community and who provide relevant and meaningful actions partnering to enhance the quality of community experience and to elevate the benefits that our community provides,” Erikson said.
He takes over for Wayne Fairbairn who has relocated to Calgary.