In sending his farewell email to the members of Harrison Lake Country Club, Keith Clark got a little emotional.
Today will be the last day for Clark, who is leaving to become the head pro at Hillcrest Country Club in Indianapolis. He said that at most clubs, you have members, but at Harrison Lake, it switched from being members to friends in a hurry.
“Even when I was at Otter Creek, I knew that happened out here,” Clark said. “So that’s why it was enticing to come out here to begin with. It’s just a phenomenal membership. It was an absolute blast.”
Clark was the pro at Otter Creek from 1989 to 1996. He then worked with TPC Sawgrass in Florida and TPC River Highlands in Connecticut before spending eight years with Essig Golf Management.
Since coming to Harrison Lake, Clark has seen the membership grow to 215.
After Bob Haddad Sr. bought the course two years ago and his son Bob Haddad Jr. became chief operating officer, the club has made about $2.5 million worth of improvements. It has added cart paths, added on to the clubhouse, built a state-of-the-art indoor studio and renovated the practice facility.
Haddad Jr. said that during that time he’s been there, Clark’s strengths have been building great relationships with the members and being able to plan and execute great events.
“I think everybody is sad to see Keith go,” Haddad Jr. said. “Anytime you have a chance to build a good rapport with your club pro, and he’s on your team and your team is operating at a high efficiency and you have a great culture, it’s always hard to have those people leave.”
Haddad Jr. said that like any other business, when doors open for someone like Clark, that means there’s an opening for someone to take his place. Haddad Jr. hopes to have have final candidates for the pro position identified within two-to-three weeks.
In the meantime, assistant pro Case Blogett will assume some of Clark’s duties. Blogett, however, is leaving at the end of Feburary for an assistant pro position at Highland Golf and Country Club in Indianapolis.
Clark noted the similarities between the club he is leaving and the one where he is taking over. Although Hillcrest has nearly twice as many members, the golf course type is similar, and Hillcrest is only about a 5-minute longer drive from his home in Franklin.
“As I look out 15 to 20 years, I like what they’re doing,” Clark said. “There’s some expansion up there.”
But he said he’ll miss Harrison Lake and will remember his time there with fondness.
“It took a lot of time for our family to make a decision,” Clark said. “It was a tough one, and it’s tougher as it gets closer to the end here. But we’re happy with what we’re going to do, and it’s going to be fun.”
Name: Keith Clark
High school: Greensburg
Occupation: Head pro at Harrison Lake Country Club (leaving to become pro at Hillcrest Country Club in Indianapolis)
Family: Wife Brenda, daughters Quinlyn and Meggie