Interview With Nick Stephens, Owner Royal St. Patrick's Golf Links
A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview
By Brian Weis
Below is an interview with Nick Stephens, the Owner at Royal St. Patrick's Golf Links. The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.
Can you provide our readers a brief biography? Nick Stephens, PGA Owner and Head Golf Professional, Royal St. Patricks Golf Links, Wrightstown, WI. Graduated with degree in Criminal Justice, and became PGA Professional in 2003. Started at Royal St. Patricks at completion of golf course construction. Built everything this place is from scratch. Began as professional, then became General Manager, then went off the deep end and bought the whole place.
When did you start golfing and who introduced you to the game? Family moved to a new city when I was in high school. Played team sports all my life, but was a lonely person in lonely place. Found an old club in the garage and started chipping around the yard. By senior year I was #1 varsity and the rest is history. No one in my family ever played golf, I found it myself.
What is your current home course? Obviously my own. Its a beautiful place to play golf, and the combination of wind and strategy makes this course different every day.
To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment? I basically never achieved anything playing golf, so I would have to say owning my own course is my greatest accomplishment. Its not so much owning it thats a big deal, anyone with too much money could do it. My accomplishment was getting a bank to give me all this money in the middle of the Great Recession, while other courses were all going under. That was truly amazing!
What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course? I teach my daughters that its important to treat other peoples property with the utmost respect. Treat it like it was your own. Then people come here and abuse my belongings. Can be hard to swallow
What is your favorite club in your bag and why? My wedges. Ive always love the creativity of chipping and pitching. I could practice that every day and never get tired of the possibilities. When I was kid, range balls cost money, but chipping was free. I guess Im still just like a child
What is your favorite golf destination? Been very fortunate to see Pine Valley, Shinnecock, Merion, National Golf Links, Kiawah, Teeth of the Dog, you name it. There are all so different and each has their own personality. Im a golf course guy, you can have 5 star service, but I just want to solve the riddles of the golf course. Destination places often brag about everything they have beyond the golf. I just need the golf, so Im generally satisfied almost anywhere.
What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet? I really want to see the Sand Hills, Dismal River, Great Plains stuff. The idea of the open, natural, wildness really intrigues me. Most might say Pebble Beach, but that just never did much for me.
If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play? National Golf Links of America. It just looks so different, and I love solving the puzzle.
If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why? I think equipment prices and the lack of technology has stalled out enthusiasm. Drivers at $449 and no new story except paint jobs and plugs that lower or raise spin rate 200rpm. No one cares. I think someone should make the illegal driver. I think it would be received much better today. People are ready for something new, and in a world where everyone likes to stand out, hitting it 40 yards farther would do that
Dream foursome (living)?
Steve Elkington (always liked him) , Nick Faldo and Nolan Henke (does anyone remember him)
Dream foursome (living or dead)?
Ben Hogan, my Grandpa, my Dad
18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions
1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt? Sinking long putt, had the yips for 5 years, even a putt going in from 3 feet looks good to me.
2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One? Round of Life, I see 26 handicappers get a hole-in-one, whats the skill in that?
3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight? Crack of dawn. I do my best work in the morning!
4) Hit a power fade OR power draw? I actually hit with very little curve, so if I had to take one, I guess I would take fade
5) Beverage cart OR halfway house? Given the fact I have daughters that might one day drive the cart, and knowing how guys can be, I gotta go halfway house to protect them
6) Bathroom OR bushes?
We are like St. Andrews in character, why is in the wide open not an option?
7) Hot dog OR wrap?
I grew up on the local muni, its always a hot dog thats been under lamp too long
8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough? Given the bunkers you find at WI courses, I think the safe bet is rough.
9) Walking OR riding?
Theres nothing I hate more than walking, getting all sweaty, and having to work in golf shop, I generally ride,
10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid? 3-iron, this is Links golf and you have to keep it low
11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5? Every course has that 225 yard par 3 everyone bogeys, we have it too. Is that a prerequisite of course design?
12) Pants OR Shorts?
Pants, I have not worn shorts golfing since 1997. My skinny legs look like two out of bounds stakes
13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?
Nicklaus, I am just too young to appreciate Palmer
14) Beatles OR Elvis?
I think I can honestly say I have zero interest in both of them. Blasphemy, I know.
15) Play for fun OR play for money? Used to be money, then the times I could play was reduced, the ability I had within those rounds was worse, and I began to just look forward to the fresh air and good laughs. Now I just play for fun, but its not fun to remember how good you used to play
16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
I used to hit great flop shots, then you work at a Links course for 11 years and you realize a ball in the air is a ball making bogey. Its all bump and run.
17) Lay up OR gamble?
I am so conservative in everything I do&now matter how much I want to go for it, I know that laying-up is the right play.
18) 18 holes OR 36?
I never pass an opportunity to play 36. It hurts more the next morning than it used too, but I would never let that be the deciding factor.
Revised: 02/11/2015 - Article Viewed 20,344 Times - View Golf Course Profile
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler