Our Team: PGA Professionals

Our Professionals

Mike Attara
President, Certified PGA Professional
Kevin Beirne
Vice President, Golf Operations
Ed Gibson
PGA Director of Instruction
Ron Stepanek
PGA Regional Manager
Frank Draper
Director of Business Development
Brian McCloskey
Director of Finance
Mark Peterson
Director of Agronomy
John Goeke
Food & Beverage Director
Mike Porter
Regional Operations Manager
Donna Weaver
Director of Marketing
Cheryl Kelly
Office Manager
Kathy Curry
Controller

Mike Attara, PGA Certified Professional

PRESIDENT

Mike Attara has been associated with the golf industry since 1984, and has been a Class A PGA member for over 21 years, becoming certified in the area of general management in 2006. He spent 15 years working for golf management companies from 1986 through 2001. For the past 10 years, Mike has been an independent golf course operator managing Eagle Ridge Golf Club, a 27 hole Championship Golf Course and Golf Academy. For much of his career, he has been involved in building, running and maintaining many existing and start-up properties with an emphasis on developing player development programs. In 2009, Mike founded Spirit Golf Management to expand the services of the company. Most recently, he has been involved in establishing several new golf schools that have been recognized for the growth of the game programming that is a major component of Spirit Golf’s success in creating new revenue streams and customer satisfaction for their accounts.

A six year member of the New Jersey Section Board of Directors, Mike has chaired the Growth of the Game Committee for five years and currently holds the position of Vice President of the New Jersey Golf Foundation, the charitable arm of the NJPGA. He has been a five-time recipient of the New Jersey PGA President’s Plaque for his contributions to growing the game of golf. He has acted as an advisor to the PGA of America’s Player Development department and has regularly been asked to speak nationally on its’ behalf. Mike’s leadership skills and ability to develop a strong customer service oriented culture, player development, marketing and promotions are among his many professional skills. He is currently a committee member of the National Golf 2.0 Strategic Initiatives and recently spoke at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show on the Subject of Player Development.

Mike and his wife Colleen have two teenage children who all enjoy music, art and physical fitness. Mike is an avid runner and a member of the Folds of Honor Marathon Team. He has fundraised and competed in three marathons in support of the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Kevin Beirne, PGA

Vice President, Golf Operations

We are so happy to welcome Kevin back to the Spirit Golf management team. Kevin worked alongside Mike Attara for 12-years at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, advancing to the position of Head GolfProfessional. Kevin has proven to be a leader and an asset to any team he has been part of throughout his career. Kevin has been recognized as the 2014, 2015, and 2016 NJPGA Player Development Award winner for his exceptional contributions in Growing the Game of Golf. He is considered a leader within the section and nationally in creating and executing player development programs. Kevin has also been honored as the 2015 NJPGA Merchandiser of the Year for public facilities for promoting the game and business of golf and skillfully merchandising his golf shop retail space.

Kevin was elected to the NJPGA Board of Directors in 2015 and currently serves as the Junior Golf Chairman, he previously served as Vice Chairman of the Growth of the Game Committee. Kevin teaches the game at a high level, as a US Kids Certified Professional and US Kids Top 50 Honorable Mention teacher, teaching many outstanding Junior, High School, and Collegiate players during his career.   Kevin played soccer and golf collegiately on nationally ranked teams while attending Greensboro College in NC and ultimately graduating from Salisbury University (MD).

Kevin and his wife Vicki were born and raised at the Jersey shore and have three children, Landon, Madelyn, and Reese who love the beach, sports, and time together. When not at work, you can find Kevin on the sidelines coaching youth soccer or enjoying the beach with the family.

 

Ed Gibson, PGA

Director of Instruction

Ed has over 16 years of teaching experience and is a certified PGA professional as of 2002. Most recently, Ed was the Head Golf Professional at Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, PA. Ed was named the Philadelphia PGA Section “Assistant Golf Professional of the Year” 2007, and was also named one of the “Top 25 Golf Instructors”, Philadelphia Magazine, May 2008. Ed has served as President of the Assistants’ Organization, and is currently on both the “Growth of the Game Committee”, and “Membership Committee” in the Philadelphia PGA Section since 2007. Ed was the nominee for the 2010, 2011, & 2012 Philadelphia PGA Section “Teacher of the Year”, and 2010, 2011 “Junior Golf Leader”. Ed was named in US Kids Top 50 Honorable Mention 2011.

Teaching Philosophy

“My teaching philosophy is a combination of my ideas as a golf instructor, and ideas that I have learned from other instructors over the years. I believe that I am always learning, and my philosophy will continue to grow. My main goal as an instructor is to be able to achieve the students expectations in a fun and learning environment. I want my students to have a game plan as to how they are going to be able to improve their game through practice and instruction. The approach I like to take is determine the type of learner (visual, audio, or kinesthetic) my student is in order to make sure the student absorbs what we are working on in the lesson. I believe that it is extremely important to be able to have your student walk away from the lesson feeling as though they understand what we just went over, and not feel overwhelmed by the lesson. I am a believer in giving my students 1 – 2 drills to work on so that they can feel how I want them to swing the club. With that being said, I also strongly believe that we should focus on one aspect of the swing at a time. I like to break the swing down into four aspects: Setup, Backswing, Downswing, and Finish. Overall, the goal is to have the student make a repeatable golf swing, and also to have the student understand what their strengths and weaknesses are in their own swing in order for that student to improve.”

Ron Stepanek, PGA Professional

REGIONAL MANAGER

With more than 35 years working in the golf industry, Ron Stepanek’s credentials are quite unique from most other PGA Professionals. After gaining a solid green grass foundation working at both municipal and private golf courses in Connecticut, Stepanek embarked on a non-traditional career path. He earned a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from Springfield College and leveraged this higher education into 20 years executive management experience within the PGA of America network. This included running the Central New York and Southern Ohio PGA Sections as Executive Director, and then advancing to Director of Player Development for the PGA of America.

While leading this national department his responsibilities included overseeing Get Golf Ready, Play Golf America, TEE IT FORWARD and launching the innovative PGA Junior League Golf Program. More than 85% of PGA managed golf courses hosted at least one of these initiatives during his tenure with numerous reporting success in generating significant new business and revenue through these programs.

Stepanek was also extensively involved in the education of PGA Professionals and golf course operators. He assisted in the development of the PGA’s Player Development Certification, plus frequently presented at PGA and industry functions across the county. However, his greatest contribution was being the leader to write the Golf 2.0 Player Development Playbook/curriculum. Designed to help PGA Professionals enhance their value and strategic commitment to impact business via structured growth of the game programs, a President of the PGA once called this Player Development Playbook “the single best resource the PGA has ever produced for our PGA Members”.

Thanks to these vast experiences, Stepanek worked with and established long term relationships with hundreds of PGA Professionals, organizations, manufacturers and industry leaders.

Frank Draper

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Frank has an extensive professional background in sales, sales management and consulting services in the Quality and Compliance Management Industry. He spent the past seven years as the Director of Global Business Development for a major software solutions and services company. Prior to that, Frank has held positions of Senior VP of Sales, Regional Sales/Marketing Management and Account Management for organizations that are highly regulated by the FDA.

During the past 20 years, Frank has also served on the Golf Committee at Makefield Highlands Golf Club and as Chairman for the past 15 years. In his leadership role as Chairman, he was intimately involved with the feasibility/cost and planning studies associated with the project, the interview and selection process for the course architect and construction company, as well as the selection of the initial course management company for the grow-in and start up operation.

Going forward, he will help Spirit Golf continue to explore new business opportunities and help manage our growth into the future.

Frank and his wife Ginny have four grandchildren that keep them busy. Frank is an avid golfer and is very active in the community.

Brian McCloskey

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE

Mark Peterson

DIRECTOR OF AGRONOMY

John Goeke

FOOD AND BEVERAGE DIRECTOR

Having worked in many facets of the food and beverage industry, John draws on a wealth of knowledge and experience. John is a summa cum laude graduate of Johnson and Wales University, and worked as a chef with Hyatt Hotels for more than five years. John has been the executive chef and food and beverage manager at Eagle Ridge Golf Club for the past 12 years. Clubhouse operations, menu planning, staffing and special events were a few of his charges. In recent years, John has focused on design and consulting as well as opening several new clubs for Spirit Golf Management.

John is a food enthusiast, always eager to experiment with new flavors and formulas. The Kitchen, and more importantly the cuisine that is produced there, is the lifeblood of any restaurant operation. John’s simple philosophy, “fine food stems from high quality ingredients and good technique. Natural flavors shouldn’t be masked but rather enhanced.” This notion along with a talented, well tuned staff has been the key to John’s success.

An award winning chef and sculptor, John has many interests outside the culinary field. A college basketball player, who still has a deep passion for the game, John sits on the board of directors for the Bordentown area Basketball League and still coaches. He also enjoys baseball and softball with his teenage children who are both very talented pitchers.

Mike Porter

REGIONAL OPERATIONS MANAGER

Mike has a degree in Turf Grass Management from Virginia Tech. His experience in sports field maintenance was gained through gained through baseball field construction at Cal Ripken’s Iron Bird Stadium and working with numerous golf courses in the Maryland area. As a Spray Technician and an Irrigation Technician, he broadened his base of experiences which lead him to management. His management experience begins in the field with maintenance crews of up to 15 employees providing contracted services to a customer base with high expectations and very specific requirements for each location. His trade mark attention to detail provided a value to the customer base and confidence of quality work from his employer. He achieved his certification in Lean Six Sigma and was recruited to a position with Cardinal Technologies. He values the principles of lean six sigma and applies those principles in all aspects of his life.

Mike’s thorough understanding of the turf grass and his experience in operations makes him a valued member of the team.

Donna Weaver

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

As a marketing communications executive with over 30 years of experience, Donna provides marketing services for Spirit Golf clients. She is the principal of WeaverWorks, a marketing consultancy, she founded in 2008. Prior to that, she served as chief communications officer in New York for the $2 billion multi-divisional fashion company, Kellwood. Donna was responsibility for the oversight, management and direction of corporate and marketing communications for the parent company as well as the divisions. Her background experience includes media relations, external and internal communications, marketing and creative services, philanthropy and special events, public relations, media planning, advertising agency management; and web strategy and digital media.

She began her career in communications as a radio and television advertising copywriter with a Midwestern CBS affiliate.

Donna holds a BS in Marketing from St. Louis University. She is a Lifetime member of the International Association of Business Communicators.

Cheryl Kelly

OFFICE MANAGER

Cheryl joined the Spirit team in 2013 with a 15-year background in business administration and human resources. She has a Bachelors Degree in Education from University of Connecticut and a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration from The University of New Haven.

Managing the day-to-day operations of the busy Spirit Golf Management office combines her strong administration skills with her passion for the game of golf. When Cheryl is not at work, you can find her on the course.

Kathy Curry

CONTROLLER