Swinging his way back home

GOLF COURSES of Lawonia Golf Pro Josh Carroll tees off of the Links course to keep his golfing skills sharp. The Green Lake graduate returned home to take over the position last year. Reagan Zimmerman photo

by Reagan Zimmerman

Fresh out of college, Josh Carroll never thought he would return to his childhood home so soon.

“I always thought it would be good for me to get out into the golf industry for a few more years and gain some more knowledge and then see if there was ever an opportunity here,” said the 24-year-old, who became golf pro at the Golf Courses of Lawsonia last summer.

Carroll has called the Green Lake Conference Center home all his life, growing up just down the road from the Lawsonia Pro Shop.

Participating in his high school golf team and spending the fall of 2010 and summer of 2011 working on the course, he grew up surrounded by golf.

“I grew up at Lawsonia, so golfing just came naturally for me,” Carroll said. “It was a way to get away from everything else.”

After leaving for college, Carroll had no see Green Lake in his rearview mirror; he wanted to return to his golf roots.

Before Lawsonia

Once he graduated from Green Lake High School in 2011, Carroll moved on to study professional golf management at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“It is a four-and-a-half year program. You graduate with a business degree, but on top of it, you are a PGA pro,” Carroll said. “I had to go through all the schooling and bookwork. There are three levels; you have to go through all of those to get your PGA credentials. Each level dug a little deeper into the business side of the golf industry.”

After finishing school, he jumped around from a few golf courses all over the country.

Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples, Fla. offered the new pro an internship during the winter of 2014 into 2015.

Not long after, in June 2016, Carroll traveled back to his hometown.

“Lawsonia needed a pro and one thing led to another and I got moved here,” Carroll said.

Homeward Bound

Carroll was ecstatic when he was offered the position, but did not accept immediately.

“It took me a few days after I was offered the position to determine if it was something I really wanted to do so soon,” he said. “I spoke with friends and family that helped with my decision. They all gave me positives and negatives to it, but ultimately I did not know if the opportunity would ever come again, so I accepted.”

As the golf pro at the Golf Courses of Lawsonia, Carroll explained his responsibilities. “You oversee the entire golf operation. I am in charge of the merchandizing in here [the Lawsonia Pro Shop] and the staffing,” he said. “Basically the entire golf side of it.”

Together, Nick Lueptow, the general manager, and Carroll work together to run the course.

Even though he is a pro, Carroll does not get the chance to golf a lot.

“You don’t play much golf. In fact you play a lot less golf than people think,” he said.

When Carroll does catch a few hours, some of them are spent giving lessons.

“I haven’t given a large number of lessons yet, but it is great to see the reaction when someone accomplishes their goal,” Carroll said. “It is rewarding.”

Carroll noted his favorite part of working at Lawsonia is the work environment.

“We have a very fun team,” he said. “All of my retired starters and rangers are just good guys. I wake up in the morning and get to come here.”

During golfing season Carroll is at the course at 5 to 5:15 a.m. every day.

“I watch the sun rise off the lake and I can sit on the deck and drink a cup of coffee while watching the deer run across; it’s cool. There is a lot of stuff that goes on here, but the mornings are my favorite. This place is just special.”

Carroll has had positions at six different clubs and courses all his life.

Of all of those clubs, he noted the favorite place he has worked is “Here. Definitely here by far.”