Dylan Flynn got an early start in the restaurant business. He went to work at Pedro’s Restaurant & Cantina in Los Gatos when he was just 15 years old.
He was playing soccer year-round. On top of that, he got a job bussing tables at the restaurant where his uncle worked as one of the managers.
“As a 15-year-old kid, I just needed a job. And so, my mom convinced him to bring me on over there. I bussed tables. That’s where it started,” said Flynn, the General Manager at Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course, located in the Freeport area of Sacramento.
Flynn continued with soccer, playing for West Valley United, a club team, as a center-forward, halfback and sweeper, and in high school, at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose and then Westmont High School in Campbell, as a center midfielder.
He also continued in the restaurant industry. After working a year at Pedro’s, he moved on to other restaurants, including Sonora Southwestern Grill, Mio Vicino and Il Postale, in areas of the South Bay.
“I got hooked on it,” said Flynn, who was a server, waiting tables, when he was 20 at Pedro’s Grill & Cantina in Campbell. “That’s what I was doing and just kind of fell into that whole environment with the restaurant world. I really enjoyed being around the people and taking care of people. From there, I moved myself up to a shift leader there.”
Flynn took some classes at two area community colleges, West Valley College in Saratoga and De Anza College in Cupertino. He also gained more and more experience and knowledge being in the food, beverage, hospitality and catering business, working as assistant manager, head server and bartender in other places along the way – “growing my steps in the business,” as he put it. Flynn, who is from Saratoga, spent 15 years working in restaurants, doing a variety of jobs.
“It just worked out really well. The hours were perfect for me. And then again, the job itself just fit the mold for me, going forward. It was just a natural kind of climb through that. I just naturally kind of filled into those positions as I did the work. It just floated well for me.”
Flynn changed things up in his life around 2000, after spending 15 years in restaurants. He had spent a lot of time with his grandfather, a golfer, who played at Stanford Golf Course, over the years. Flynn was introduced to the game at the age of 7 by his grandfather, Robert Stock, who was from San Mateo. He learned so much about the game from his grandfather, who got his MBA at Stanford and did private corporate work as an accountant. As a CPA, he also had a private practice focused on accounting and taxes. He taught accounting at the University of San Francisco.
“He was a huge golfer – big time. He played four or five times a week. And so that’s kind of where I got my golf bug,” said Flynn. “Golf was a passion of my grandfathers. I spent a week, one summer, learning, playing the game with him in 1977. It was that foundation that led me to look for another game to play when my soccer days were over. Unfortunately, I was unable to play a game with him prior to his passing other than the two rounds played the summer of 1977. The game always intrigued me – my competitive nature of wanting to get better at it. As I look back, he showed me how to have relationships through the game of golf and with the game of golf.” Stock passed away in 1990. He was 71.
Flynn found time to get out and play golf at different municipal courses in the area when he was working in the restaurant business.
“Even though I was in the restaurant industry and doing what I was doing, I’d go out and play golf. Golf was what I was doing. I was playing more golf. I’d go out and play all the munis down there. I was playing golf all the time,” he said.
The love and passion and respect that his grandfather had for the game was passed on to Dylan.
He made a decision to change careers, as he enrolled in the San Diego Golf Academy. It was a two-year program. Flynn graduated in 2001 from the Golf Academy of America. Flynn said the Academy helped to introduce him to the business aspect of the game of golf and also gave him a great way to work on his playing ability. The Academy also helped with placing Flynn at a facility in the Del Mar area of San Diego
“to get me some real time, hands-on experience with working in the business as well as the creating of relationships,” he pointed out.
Flynn said he reached a point, a crossroads, about going in a new direction with his life.
“What changed it for me and how I got into the golf business, is that in the restaurant industry, I had gotten to a point that it was either I’ve got to find investors and get my own place going, if that’s what I want to do. My other option was, how can I use this hospitality that I know, into something else that I’m doing? And golf was the thing. So, I said to myself, ‘OK, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go get into the golf industry. I’m going to get into this business.’ I had 15 years of restaurant hospitality. So, let me apply this to another part of the business that I love. I love playing the game of golf. So let me see how this works out. And so that’s what made me jump into golf.”
Joining Morton Golf
Flynn joined Morton Golf, LLC as the Tournament Director for Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course, starting on Sept. 11, 2001. He was promoted to General Manager at Bartley Cavanaugh in 2005.
It’s an 18-hole, par-71 course that plays 6,158 yards from the Gold Tees. According to its website, www.bartleycavanaugh.com, Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course is a layout “created by Perry Dye, a member of the renowned golf design family that has created famous courses throughout the world. Near the banks of the Sacramento River, Perry Dye put to work all the design principles that won him acclaim to create excitement that will test skilled players while the course remains accessible to those still growing in the game. This has resulted in an affordable and fun round of golf with many different shots throughout your round of golf.”
Flynn brings an extensive background in food and beverage to Bartley Cavanaugh. He has also been a golf industry professional for close to 20 years now and is a member of the Association of Golf Merchandisers and National Golf Course Owners Association. He is with the Morton Golf Management Team. Morton Golf Management oversees the facilities at Bartley Cavanaugh. Built in 1995, “This outstanding course was laid out by Perry Dye, a member of the renowned golf-course design family. Perry, his father, Pete, his mother, Alice, and his younger brother, P.B., left the name ‘Dye’ on almost 250 courses around the world. For players who love unique challenges, this course offers many distinctive opportunities to test your clubs and your skills,” the website, www.bartleycavanaugh.com, points out.
“Perry Dye tucked our championship course into a 96-acre site nestled along the Sacramento River. He created moderately sized greens with undulations. There are generous landing areas on fairways that have been landscaped with young trees.
“You’ll find rolling terrain at Bartley Cavanaugh with lots of mounds, something like a links course. Although the course measures only about 6,200 yards from the tips, there is excitement here. Out-of-bounds runs along the left side of the fairways on the front side of the course and water is in play on seven of the 18 holes. Wind can be a factor on some of the holes as well.”
Flynn oversees operations at Bartley Cavanaugh, open to the public, seven days a week. The facility has three managers and another 25 employees.
Bartley Cavanaugh did 56,000 rounds last year, said Flynn.
“The best part about it is dealing with all the people that you’re around. The Mortons are super. What a great family to be under and to be a part of this. They’ve really supported me the whole way. I was just a 30-year-old guy, just jumping into the golf business, and they gave me a shot. I can’t thank them enough.”
Bartley Cavanaugh features a pro shop. Bartley Cavanaugh also features a restaurant and full bar, with breakfast and lunch available daily. Hours are sunrise to sunset. There is a patio for outside dining and functions. There is seating for 80 inside and 65 outside. Breakfast service starts at 6:30 a.m. Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. Bartley Cavanaugh does golf tournaments and special events, including weddings, with a gazebo area.
Plans of rebranding restaurant
There are plans of rebranding the restaurant at the facility into the TapHouse at Bartley Cavanaugh, with a reopening set for later in the year. Work to upgrade the food and beverage area has been under way already. The front of the bar was resurfaced two years ago with workers installing redwood. New floors were also put in two years ago. The patio area has also been refurbished.
“Our veranda patio works out really well for the months that you would have weddings, late March to October,” said Flynn.
New tables and chairs have been added to the restaurant area, along with updated wall coverings. In addition, there is new lighting and some beams have been put in to enhance the vaulted ceilings.
There are plans to feature a new restaurant, which will have dinner service, at the TapHouse at Bartley Cavanaugh. Bartley Cavanaugh features beers from area breweries.
“My theme on that is to keep it local,” he said. “Right now, I’ve got 13 handles. They’re all from local breweries within probably 15 miles. The idea behind that is I wanted to support our local craft breweries around here and try to build my business. We’re going try to turn this into an experience for them. So, when they’re going to come to play Bartley Cavanaugh, they’re going to plan to come out here and have dinner when they’re done, or come out to have lunch prior. That’s kind of the idea that I’m trying to work for. I would like to open up the evening fare. That’s the menu we’re trying to create.”
Flynn is aiming for August or September for the restaurant opening.
“Watching all of that come to fruition is very exciting. It’s pushing us forward into a restaurant. That’s my goal. I really want to see that, I’m just really excited to be able to have a place for people who are coming to the area. We’re just looking to bring them another option, for them to enjoy and to have a great time.”
The hours of operation for the pro shop and restaurant in April are from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In May, the hours expand from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Bartley Cavanaugh is located at 8301 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95832. To reach the golf shop, call (916) 808-2020.
- Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, 2019, after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016.