For 15 years, Geneva National’s Director of Golf Dave Winget has overseen GN’s three legendary courses. We share a bit of his well-played advice.
Q: Why should Geneva National be on every golfer’s bucket list?
A: Because we have three different and distinct championship golf courses that could each stand on its own. Typically, that is not the case when you have a three-course property. There is usually one that is better than the other two and which everyone wants to play. It’s different at Geneva National. Each of ours is a high-caliber championship course, so it’s never a slight to play one instead of another.
Q: If you could only play one GN course, which should it be?
A: While many people would say Player because of the views, elevation changes and the variety of holes – from short to long and in-between – I prefer Trevino. With its dog legs and typical green complex, it’s more of a country club course, which I favor as a golfer. Many others would say Palmer, because with its tournament-style layout, it is the strongest test of skill that we have. The King's course is the one we’ve used to host U.S. Open qualifiers and Wisconsin PGA events.
Q: What is your favorite hole on each course and why?
A: Trevino #5. This heavily tree-lined par 5 is a gorgeous risk-reward hole with an elevated tee box and creek in front. Then Palmer #14, a par 5 that winds downhill and around a corner through the trees. On Player, I’d say hole #10 next to the Hunt Club Steakhouse. That par 5 offers a downhill green that sits alongside the pond. The view is tremendous.
Q: What do you admire about the legends – Palmer, Player and Trevino – who designed GN’s courses?
A: Arnold Palmer for being the epitome of what a person who plays sports for a living should be. His fans were his livelihood; he loved and knew them and always stuck around to sign autographs. Gary Player for being a fierce competitor, despite his stature compared to the other golfers. He relentlessly embraced physical fitness before it was popular and never gave up. Lee Trevino, because he worked for everything and literally rose from nothing to the top of the sport.
Q: Your advice for having a good time at GN?
A: Remember it’s not a race. Our courses are meant to be enjoyed, not run through. Give yourself enough time to play at a good pace. Also, play the tee box that matches your ability. Since we have five sets of tee boxes, you can play anywhere up to 7,000 yards, but most golfers have a better time moving up on the tees and making birdie putts instead of trying to make par.
Q: How does one select a golf pro?
A: Start by reading a pro’s bio. Learn what you can about how they teach and what they believe. You want to select someone who matches up with your learning ability and style. Also, don’t be afraid to take a lesson from one pro and then try another. Just like school, you connect with different teachers in different ways. Don’t ever feel like you are locked in with one.
Q: What is your favorite club in your arsenal?
A: My Taylormade driver, because I like the feeling of hitting the ball as far as I can.
Q: What does every golfer need in his/her golf bag?
A: I’d say a portable Bluetooth radio device so that you can play some music and have a good time. It’s five and a half hours – and what better place to be?
Q: Your favorite golf quote?
A: "You don’t know what pressure is until you play for five bucks with only two bucks in your pocket.” Before he was a professional, Lee Trevino was notorious for playing for more than he had as a way for force him to focus and play well.
Geneva National Resort is located along the wooded slopes and shores of Lake Como in Chicago's version of the Hamptons - Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Geneva National features a legendary trifecta of semi-private golf courses designed by Palmer, Player and Trevino at one singular and stellar location. Explore the possibilities at www.genevanationalresort.com.