Curt David says he finally has the “dream job” that he has been looking for throughout his long career in golf.
In April, he went to work as the PGA head golf professional at William Land Golf Course, a nine-hole layout that is so very rich in history and managed by Morton Golf.
Located at 1701 Sutterville Rd., in the Land Park area of Sacramento, the course is just 1.2 miles from David’s home. If he wants to, he can walk to work.
“I’ve been a resident of Land Park for over 20 years now,” he said. “I would come out here and you know, putt around, chip around on my day off. I would always just kind of daydream about what I could do out here.”
David doesn’t have to dream any longer.
David, a PGA of America member and Class A professional, oversees day to day operations at William Land Golf Course, Sacramento’s oldest public course, which opened in 1924. The course, which is located at William Land Park, near the Sacramento Zoo, turns 100 years old in 2024.
“I’m enjoying all aspects of the job and lucky enough to have a really solid staff already here,” said David. “There wasn’t a whole lot of turnover or issues, so it was just kind of hit the ground running with a course that’s pretty busy.”
It has, indeed, been a very busy year for golf, with William Land Golf Course doing about 200 rounds per day. David said the grand total of rounds for the year will probably go over 50,000.
“We’ve got a lot of opportunity – ‘a lot of low-hanging fruit,’ as the saying goes,” he said. “Just go and grab it and take care of the golfers and the customers and kind of add stuff when we can. Hopefully next year we can really get back to events and other sort of programming, and we can really just do a bunch of other cool stuff out here, too.”
There is a lot that goes into David’s job, including managing staff, overseeing the golf, food and beverage operations, and handling marketing, promotions and budgeting.
“I’ve had two different stints in Sacramento, now over 20 years (1995-2005, 2010-2020), and both times I’ve lived in Land Park,” said David. “And so when I came back to Sacramento, this is the only place I wanted to look. I found another place that is 10 blocks away from my first house. So I’ve been a resident. This is just the coolest thing ever.”
David is looking to try and grow and expand upon the programs by involving those in the immediate neighborhood and in particular the juniors around William Land Golf Course next year.
“It’s got a tremendously loyal customer base. And we’ve got so many new customers with this unusual year, with people who haven’t been here for a long time,” said David. “They get to experience a great, fun layout. Nine holes is kind of what people want to do right now. So we’ve got a golf product that is in high demand, because with time and expense, it’s perfect for everybody, just to pop in and out for nine holes.”
Besides William Land Golf Course, Morton Golf Management also oversees the two courses at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, Alister MacKenzie Golf Course and Arcade Creek Course; Bing Maloney Golf Complex in Sacramento; Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course in Sacramento; and Bing Maloney Express 9, an executive-style course.
“Morton Golf is just incredibly supportive,” said David. “I can’t tell you how much support they give, to help me do my job better. It’s really a fun company to work for and fun people to work for.
“I have a perspective of different management companies and their styles. I’m very appreciative and pleased with how Morton Golf does business and how they support the golf courses. That’s what they’re doing to help me, to free up me to do my job better and to stay focused on the golf aspects of my job duties.”
William Land Golf Course, a par-34 layout that has five par-4s, three par-3s and one par-5, and measuring 3,009 yards from the Black tees, is one of the facilities that The First Tee of Greater Sacramento uses. The mission of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento is to “Impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.”
Bob Cline is the course superintendent at William Land GC.
“The course is right in the middle of the park,” said David. “It’s a nice, fun nine-hole layout. You’ve got to hit every shot in the bag. It’s easy walking. It’s kind of a laid back setting, right in the middle of a really beautiful neighborhood of Land Park.” On its website, www.williamlandgc.com, there is a page in the News section that provides golfers with “8 Great Reasons to Play William Land Golf Course.”
Among those are:
- “William Land Golf Course is a fantastic 9 hole course and can be played in under 2 hours.”
- “The course has a challenging and fun layout with plenty of mature trees for shade.”
- “William Land Golf Course is easily walkable, a great way to get in some exercise.”
- “The course is welcoming to all levels of golfing ability – there will be challenges for every level of player.”
- “Kids play free at WLGC with a paid adult or with a Youth on Course card.”
- “William Land Golf Course is kept in great condition with greens that are smooth and fast.”
David also gives lessons, working with and helping out his students with instruction on their game. He is putting on some clinics for the women’s groups.
“It’s the right time in my career … just to be able to take a little bit of a deep breath and be able to get to know the golfers and the customers a little more, to be able just to walk around and chat with them,” he said.
Starting out in the game in Modesto David’s dad, Milt David, got him out to the course, at Del Rio Country Club in Modesto. Curt was 6 or 7 at the time.
“He invited me out, usually with his Saturday group, and I got to learn and love the game at a very early age,” he said. “I had a lot of fun playing with him.”
There were things that David learned about golf at an early age – in particular, the challenge of the game. His dad also passed on to Curt the spirit of the game and way it connects and brings people together.
“I did play team sports growing up, but I really did gravitate toward the individual aspect of the game and then just the social aspect of the game,” said David.
“The social aspect of it is what I think led me to do this as a career because it starts with the love of the game but then to be able to contribute to other people’s enjoyment. What I promote is that the game is just a great social outlet, just the ability to go anywhere you want and go play golf, the variety that it gives you, especially in this area of Northern California, as you can play year round. To this day, I like to talk to people and sell our sport to people that haven’t tried it before.”
David played outside linebacker on the football team and second base on the baseball team at Grace Davis High School in Modesto.
He played two years on the golf team at Modesto Junior College.
He graduated from University of the Pacific in Stockton in 1989 with a degree in business administration.
“Wanting to kind of be out and about, I didn’t ever see myself sitting at a cubicle,” said David. “I went out to the work world and came back to golf. I decided I wanted to make a career of it. I really like the business side of the golf business. This a choice I took and I’m glad I did it. I’ve been in it for now almost 30 years.”
Career in golf
David did a two-year program at the San Diego Golf Academy.
He started out as an assistant pro in 1991 at Santa Rosa Country Club.
He then joined La Contenta Golf Club of Valley Springs, CA in 1992 as an assistant pro.
He took over as the head golf professional and general manager at Cherry Island Golf Course in Elverta (Sacramento County) from 1995-2003 and went to work at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course in Carmichael as Director of Golf from 1998-2002.
He spent six years, from 2004-2010, as the Director of Golf Operations for the men’s and women’s teams at UC Berkeley. He put on summer camps and clinics at Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland.
He was the head golf professional at Mather Golf Course in Sacramento County from 2010-2019.
David joined the PGA of America in 1995 and has been an assistant coach for the boys golf team at McClatchy High-Sacramento. In a story on the William Land GC website, www.williamlandgc.com, welcoming him as the new head golf pro as announced by Morton Golf, David said: “I have lived next to William Land Park for many years and believe the William Land Golf Course is a Sacramento gem golf facility for public golf. It is literally a walk in the park with so many beautiful trees and serves every type of golfer from beginners to single-digit handicappers. It is full of history since the 1920s. I want to get involved with the golfers who play there and give it the reputation and popularity it deserves.”
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.