By Dave Ongie, News Editor
When local leaders talk about efforts to attract young families to our region, Bryan Bentley, his wife Keisha and their two children are just the folks they have in mind. Bentley started his tenure as the City of Johnson City’s new Golf Manager last Monday and will serve as the PGA teaching professional at Pine Oaks Golf Course.
Working as an assistant golf professional, Bentley embarked on a whirlwind four-year tour through the golf industry. His journey started in 2015 at Five Oaks Golf Club in Lebanon, Tennessee. He also made stops at the Olde Farm near Bristol, Virginia, Sage Valley in Aiken, South Carolina, and the Country Club at Bristol before the job listing in Johnson City caught his eye earlier this spring.
“When we were doing our travel through the assistant circuit, as I call it, I told (my wife) there would be a lot of moving around,” Bentley said last Friday. “When we were thinking about where we wanted to settle down, the Tri-Cities was always very attractive.”
In addition to having family in the region, Bentley cited the enthusiasm in the city’s Parks & Recreation Department as a major reason for taking the job. He said the city’s focus on engaging people in outdoor activities was exciting to him.
“It’s just kind of nice when you’re talking to somebody and they’re talking about a future plan and a bright future instead of a doomsday-type scenario,” Bentley said with a laugh.
Indeed, the golf industry has been in a state of decline in recent years, but Bentley is pleased to see the investment Johnson City is making in the game of golf and the fact that Pine Oaks has the potential to be a key piece in the city’s mission of offering an abundance of outdoor recreation options to citizens and potential visitors alike.
Bentley’s short-term goals include finding new ways to get the community involved in golf while continuing to grow the programs that are already successful.
“I’m looking at finding any and every reason to continue to get folks out here to enjoy the golf course,” he said.
The community is invited to come out and meet Bentley on June 21-22. Food trucks will be on hand and Bill Meade will host his popular Sportsline show at the course from 3-6 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
For more information on the event, call 423.434.6250 or send an email to: email@example.com.