Mike Attara

2015 was a banner year for Spirit Golf Management. Since being established in 2009 we have maintained a consistent commitment to exist by our motto, “growing the game one club at a time”. To truly be successful in this endeavor the key has been to embrace the individual personality, character and assets of our different properties. This was never more evident than in 2015.

The Spirit Golf Management Team

To best illustrate these unique achievements, here is Spirit Golf’s Top 10 List from 2015:

· 1 ·

For the third year in a row, Makefield Highlands PGA Director of Instruction Ed Gibson received a player development/growth of the game award from the Philadelphia PGA, this year for his industry leading accomplishments in Junior Golf. This serves as a tribute to his passion, Spirit Golf’s commitment to growth of the game and illustrating how these types of efforts can make a positive impact to any type of facility. This makes a total of 11 Growth of the Game Awards won by a Spirit Golf Professional! There is no better honor than being recognized by your peers.

· 2 ·

Mill Race Family Fun Month EventsNew for 2015 we had great success with a company-wide “July is Spirit Golf Family Fun Month”. Each of our properties used this umbrella to promote a wide variety of activity to make golf more easy, fun and affordable for families to enjoy golf together. A key success was our newest client Mill Race Golf and Camping Resort and how they used a variety of Family Fun Nights, clinics, PGA Family Course and $1 a hole promotions to generate nearly $8,000 in ancillary business.

· 3 ·

Under Spirit Golf’s leadership, an 18-month campaign to secure a Liquor License at Greencastle Golf Club was successful. Club Manager and Regional Operations Manager for the Mid-Atlantic, Mike Porter led the charge working closely with the community to obtain the needed votes for the approval. The addition of the new liquor license is an important revenue generator and asset for the ownership. The township has been dry since the prohibition, thus this was a huge undertaking. However, this has already expanded the services and amenities at Greencastle making it a more attractive property for golfers, outings and the community at large.

· 4 ·

Els for Autism, Stonybrook Junior League, and Middle Atlantic Blind GolfersContinuing to prove that anyone can play golf, Spirit Golf leveraged Stonybrook Golf Club’s unique setting and executive golf course in becoming a model facility for hosting accessible golf programs. These efforts included being an official Els for Autism golf facility, plus hosting numerous programs for the Middle Atlantic Blind Golfers Association, First Tee of Trenton and New Jersey Special Olympics. Joe Porter, our PGA Professional, continues to expand our companies and the club’s reach with his passion and excellence as one of the best instructors in the area.

· 5 ·

Mill Race Best Camping Photo Winner 2015Proving Spirit Golf is committed to adapting to the individualistic ‘personality’ of each of our clients, we successfully took on the challenge of managing an Golf Club/RV / Camping Resort as part of our newest relationship with Mill Race in Benton, PA. In fact, thanks to our customer service and growth models, we turned Mill Race into an Award Winning Camp Ground, earning 3 different accolades from the Pennsylvania Camp Owners Association.

· 6 ·

Under the leadership of Spirit Golf’s Director of food & Beverage, John Goeke, we completed a variety of renovations at Makefield Highlands, including updating the kitchen and bathrooms, plus building out the “Courtyard at Makefield Highlands”, a new 200 seat banquet and event facility with an open-air-bar and tented reception space. While just launching in late 2015, this has already made Makefield Highlands a premiere facility to host weddings and functions. The addition of the new facilities provided a new revenue stream for our client Lower Makefield Township and through our project management experience was completed under budget.

· 7 ·

Stonybrook Ladies LeagueAt Stonybrook we have continued to grow our ladies league which jumped from 24 to 50 weekly golfers this year. However, thanks to these ladies showing the way, we were able to establish a similar program for men for the first time in 2015.

· 8 ·

Makefield Highlands hosted a US Open Regional in May. Considering Philadelphia is home to numerous incredible private golf clubs, it was a distinguished honor to be selected by the GAP to host this prestigious event. More importantly, the 120 competitors all raved about the golf course and their experience, which was a true testament to Spirit Golf’s Director of Agronomy Mark Peterson and his team.

· 9 ·

We were able to kick off a newly established Mill Race Golf Association towards the end of the year, which generated hundreds of new-found rounds in the fall. The highlight was promoting November as Veteran’s Golf Month which climaxed on a very emotional and well attended Veterans Day Golf Tournament which is sure to be an annual success.

· 10 ·

In our second year at Five Ponds Golf Club, our client, The Township of Warminster saw,  for the first time in over 10 years,  a positive cash flow for the golf course. The course achieved this success with the addition of new marketing programs, the increase in customer services, new outing sales, a new men’s league 90 strong and improvements to operational controls and expense management.


Time to catch up  as we move into the fall season.  2014 has been a busy year for Spirit Golf and we have lots of good news to share.

Earlier this year, we began an agreement with Warminster’s Five Pond Golf Club to provide a Professional Golf Management contract.

In July, we successfully opened the new J.R. Smith Learning Center for the Monmouth Ocean First Tee Chapter. The construction began in September of 2013 and we were all very pleased to see the three hole course located in Ocean County Park open on time for the summer sessions.

Mill Race Golf and Camping Resort

Mill Race Golf and Camping Resort

In August, we also signed an agreement with Mill Race Golf and Camping Resort. We are very pleased to be working with the Williams’ family to continue the wonderful traditions they have created the past 30+ years.

We are also pleased to announce two new additions to our executive team in 2014. Frank Draper took the position of Director of Business Development in March of this year. Frank has been an advisor and involved in the golf industry for over 15 years.  Most recently Ron Stepanek was hired to head up our Southern Regional Office out of Palm Beach County Florida.  Ron will be Spirit Golf’s new Director of Player Development. Ron most recently was Director of Player Development for 10 years for the PGA of America. We are excited to have both gentlemens’ vast expertise in the game and business of golf as part of our team.

Spirit Golf’s facilities  also had some wonderful accolades in 2014.

  • Both Five Ponds and Makefield Highlands Golf Clubs were named the Best of Bucks by Bucks County Courier Times Newspapers.
  • Our team won four PGA Awards in 2014. Bob Doria , Public Merchandiser of the Year ( Bob’s second) and Ed Gibson, Player Development Award for the Philadelphia PGA Section. Mike Attara won both the Player Development ( Mike’s Sixth) and the Patriot Award for the New Jersey PGA Section.
  • Makefield Highlands Golf Club won the Top 50 Best Driving Range (Public Golf Course) in the Country.
  • Makefield Highlands Golf Club is also being honored as the 2014-2015 Club of the Year by the Pennsylvania Golf Course Owners’ Association.

It has been a terrific year and we are most excited by the number of rounds played at our facilities and the great conditions our golfers have come to expect. Our programming and instructional activities continue to grow at each of our facilities and we look forward to keeping the activities and fun going through the fall season.


Stephen Edelson for Asbury Park Press | The patch of land near the entrance to Ocean County Park sits less than two miles from the Lakewood Community Center, where J.R. Smith first picked up a basketball as a 5-year-old.

Twenty-three years later, the Knicks guard made one smooth pass at the golf ball after another, launching short iron shots to one of three greens that will make up the First Tee of Monmouth & Ocean Counties facility, with the J.R. Smith Foundation signing on as the naming sponsor for the project.

“I’ve been given a great opportunity because of what I’ve done on the basketball court, and it’s put me in these situations where I can help with things like this,” said Smith, an avid golfer. “A lot of the guys I grew up with are still in the area and have kids, and as parents we all want our kids to be able to do stuff that we haven’t experienced.” Continue Reading »

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On Monday, September 09, 2013, Eagle Ridge Golf Club kicked off its Third Annual NJ Senior Masters Event.  The event raised $18,000 for the NJ Golf Foundation and First Tee of Monmouth & Ocean County.

Mike Attara, winner Javier Sanchez, and Eagle Ridge Golf Head Pro Kevin Beirne at the check presentation.

Mike Attara, winner Javier Sanchez, and Eagle Ridge Golf Head Pro Kevin Beirne at the check presentation.

Sponsor and member teams competed along with pros in an 18-hole event on the September 10th.  The Championship Round was held on September, 11th, 12th and 13th.  Congratulations to Javier Sanchez who won the event at 9 under par and to Danny Edwards who won the Super Senior Masters at 1 under par.

Local and national companies, as well as individual golfers, have embraced and supported this event and the tournament charity, New Jersey Golf Foundation.  Over $43,000 was raised in the past three years through this event to support golf in schools, including Lakewood, Jackson, Howell, Brick, Neptune, and Plumsted School Districts.

 $10,000 of this year’s proceeds will be staying right within the Lakewood community to help fund the “First Tee Three Hole Learning Center” in Lakewood Park.


“We really appreciate the work and effort PGA Professional and Spirit Golf President Mike Attara, has done to pull the local business community in to support both the charity and bringing the Senior Professionals to Lakewood, NJ,” says Tom Eubank, President of the Charity Pro Am Tour.

NJGF, Spirit Golf Management and Eagle Ridge Golf Club have been helping raise funds through the Senior Masters event to support the NJGF golf in schools program and the Monmouth & Ocean First Tee Chapter. In addition to helping raise $10,000 for the new teaching facility, Mike Attara of Spirit Golf Management has been  acting project manager for the new First Tee Three Hole Learning Center in Ocean County Park working with course designer Brain Ault and course contractor Tony Pavelec.

The new facility is scheduled to open late spring/early summer of 2014 and will provide the children of Lakewood with a chance to learn the game and life lessons provided as part of the First Tee and NJGF program.


A Visit and Tour from the New Jersey Audubon Society

by Mike Attara on August 23, 2013

Last month, residents and members at Eagle Ridge Golf Club got to see course conditions through the eyes of New Jersey Audubon Stewardship Director John Parke.  They toured the property with John to see the habitat restoration and wildlife that calls Eagle Ridge home.

New Jersey Audubon Society at Eagle Ridge Golf Club

New Jersey Audubon Society at Eagle Ridge Golf Club

John also did a workshop prior at the clubhouse teaching residents how they can make simple changes in their own backyard and be a part of the Eagle Ridge Community Wildlife Habitat initiative.

Eagle Ridge Golf Club, assisted by the New Jersey Audubon Society has entered into a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to partake in a habitat restoration project on the course.  Since 2010, over 50 different species of birds, including bald eagle, eastern meadowlark, purple martin and blue grosbeak have been observed on the property as well as numerous reptile, amphibian, and mammal species.

These rare Red Headed woodpeckers were spotted near the 17th hole.

These rare Red Headed woodpeckers were spotted near the 17th hole.

Eagle Ridge Golf Club lies within the Atlantic Coastal Bay focus area of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program and represents a large tract of open space that is considered the “Core Habitat” area of the community.  Critical foraging and nesting habitat are available on the course to a variety of migratory birds.The partnerships with the New Jersey Audubon and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have added to the overall golf experience at the club.

“My love of wildlife, in particular birds, has caused me to really focus my attention on the environment. I am encouraging nesting for the native wildlife at Eagle Ridge in hopes of increasing species populations, and I believe it is working.  Golfers are coming up to me saying they have never seen so much wildlife here at Eagle Ridge compared to other courses.  It is a labor of love for me.”