The role as Head PGA Golf Professional at Randolph Golf Complex is pretty neat he says, “I learned to play golf in college at Randolph, and now I am the Golf Professional,” said Dan Wickman. Former Head Professional and friend Willie Kane passed away in 2006, and Dan now works out of that same office, which he said means a lot to him. In his memory Willie’s picture is displayed in the office. Along with the normal golf professional duties of managing the shop and golf services, his role is to work with the OB Sports management team in fulfilling the contract with the City of Tucson. His duties include marketing, promoting, selling and managing all of the golf tournaments for all five of the city courses. He also manages the point-of-sale system and T-Sheet software of all five courses. And– Dan still teaches “Get Golf Ready” classes mostly in the evenings at Randolph.
Wickman has been married to his wife Julie since 1987 and they have three daughters. Julie is 23 and now lives in Denver, CO., Catharine, 19 a sophomore at Alabama and Claire, 14 a freshman at Salpointe. Dan was born in San Diego, lived in Hawaii, Florida and California before moving to Tucson when he was 7 years old. He attended Salpointe Catholic High School where he took his future wife to prom. Wickman graduated from the University of Arizona in 1987 with a double major in English Composition and Political Science.
Dan’s first introduction to golf was playing in a fraternity event at Dorado Country Club while attending U of A. He said, “I had to figure this crazy game out.” He took Coach Tatum’s U of A golf class multiple times without receiving credit to learn the game and by the time he graduated, he could break 80.
Wickman commented, “I am a Golf Professional because I love the game and business of golf. I have had many roles in the business; Head Professional, Director of Golf, Regional VP, Owner of a Golf School, Vice President of a Golf Management Company, Vice President of an internet Tee-Time company, Golf Course construction manger, Chief Operating Officer, Director of HR, President of the Southern Chapter PGA – I have loved every minute of it.”
“I did not have the traditional introduction into the golf business. I was not a high school player or college golfer, nor did I grow up playing at a golf club. In my first job, I was hired to work at TPC Scottsdale in a sales role and then was asked if I would be interested in becoming a golf professional. Within a year, I enrolled in the PGA Professional Apprentice Program and two years later, in 1990, was elected into the PGA membership,” said Wickman.
Dan has been honored with multiple professional awards, 2007 winning the Junior Golf Leader for the Southern Chapter Southwest Section PGA, Teacher of the Year in 2011, and the Golf Professional of the Year in 2013. He won the Southern Chapter PGA Team Championship in 2008 with partner Brandon Smith. This was a surprise since he was recovering from major back surgery and was not sure he could play.
He stated, “The most important quality of being a successful golf professional is your people skills, it is a people business above all else. After that, good management skills, planning, budgeting, scheduling and leading a team of people.”
There are frustrating things about the golf business and the golf economy, said Wickman. “One is the perception of golf courses using too much water. In the State of Arizona, golf uses 3% of water, produces $4 billion in revenue, and produces thousands of jobs. We need to educate the public that more people visit Arizona for golf than any other reason and many move here to enjoy the game year round. In Pima County, since 1980, most golf courses use effluent water and are restricted in how much they can use.”
Inspiring Wickman to be the best professional he can be is that the golf business attracts people who love the game of golf. They are so enthusiastic and he wants to help them enjoy the game. When a student learns something new and is able to hit a new better shot, He says, “I am inspired! Constantly learning, the golf swing is like an onion: there are many layers. Once you peel back a layer you find some new level of understanding– something new.”
He works at a very busy 36-hole facility; Randolf Golf Complex, with over 100k rounds and 200 tournaments, he said, “I am re-learning how to be a good listener, a good manager and how to best work with a team of people.”
Wickman is working towards completing a PGA Certification in Player Development later this year. He likes working out a few times per week, enjoys spin class and swimming. He is becoming a fan of ‘Bama Football (where his daughter goes to school), however is a dedicated U of A basketball fan and Wildcat for life! He is most grateful for the true gifts in his life, which are his family and friends. He is a devoted husband and father and said, “The most important thing is my family, as they will be there when the golf business is done with me.”
CLICK BELOW TO VIEW OTHER ARTICLES
ABOUT DAN WICKMAN:
Article Written by: Rick Price, PGA – Editor of Golf Arizona Magazine