There are so many people that Andrew Wilson looks up to and admires in golf.
There’s his grandfather, Herbert Colburn. He is the one who introduced Andrew to the game and taught him how to play. Also, when he was 10 and 11 years old, Andrew caddied for his grandfather at Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
There’s Bob Wittum, a former general manager at Bennett Valley Golf Course in Santa Rosa. Wilson took golf lessons from Wittum. The two also worked together at California Greens, a driving range facility in Rohnert Park, with Wilson giving lessons.
There’s Peter Tante, the owner of a golf store in Santa Rosa. Wilson went to work part-time there, teaching and also handling sales and club fitting as a golf professional for four years.
There’s Ken Morton, Sr., a PGA Master Professional and the Chief Executive Officer for Morton Golf LLC. Morton was named as the National PGA Professional of the Year in 1998 and was inducted into the National PGA Hall of Fame in 2005.
There’s Terry Daubert, the President of Morton Golf. Morton Golf Management oversees operations at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, Bing Maloney Golf Complex, Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course, and William Land Golf Course.
Wilson has been with Morton Golf since 2007. He put his application in for a job at Haggin Oaks – a 36-hole facility that features the Alister MacKenzie Golf Course and Arcade Creek Course, driving range with 100 Stalls, Toptracer Range and raised target greens, Haggin Oaks Academy Holes, MacKenzie Putting Course, Player Performance Studio, Club Performance & Repair Center, Super Shop, and Haggin Oaks Shoe Store – in 2007.
“I’ve had an opportunity to do so many different jobs and be with a team with Ken Sr. and Terry Daubert and be under their tutelage for the last 15 years here at Morton Golf that I’m grateful for,” said Wilson. “They’ve taught me so many different ways to be successful in the industry. I’m lucky to work for a team like that.”
Wilson has worked at not only Haggin Oaks but also Bing Maloney and at William Land over the years.
Passion and joy for the game
Wilson grew up in Virginia and Maryland and graduated in 1987 from Montgomery County Covenant Academy, located in Maryland.
He took up golf when he was 11, as his grandfather, Herbert Colburn, got him into the game at Orchards Golf Club, a course designed by Donald Ross.
But Wilson did not start out with a full set of clubs in his bag – just one club, a 7-iron.
“I played a lot of sports growing up and I wanted to learn how to play golf. My grandfather is the one that taught me how to play golf, in Massachusetts. I learned in South Hadley, at the Orchards course. I would go out there and caddie for him,” he said.
“The first year I went out there with my grandfather, I never picked up any other club but a 7-iron and then kind of learned that way. I learned how to chip with a 7-iron and learned how to hit a little pitch shot with the 7-iron. I would also putt. The next thing I knew, I was hitting full shots.
“I grew up with just such a passion for the game. I got into teaching and then got into the operation side. It’s just been exciting.”
Exciting is definitely the operative word, as Wilson’s background in the game, which he thoroughly enjoys, also goes back to his days in Sonoma County, where he was involved in golf.
After serving in the United States Marine Corps for four years, Wilson moved to Santa Rosa.
He took golf lessons from Wittum. The two later worked together at California Greens.
“I decided I wanted to get into selling golf clubs,” said Wilson.
“You think back to 2000, and being in the industry for just over 20 years now, I can’t believe it. I’ve gotten to do so many different jobs in the golf industry. I’ve gotten to run a facility, working on everything from the maintenance of the golf course to generating revenue in the pro shop to creating (food and beverage) needs. The great thing is, you can find a lot of different opportunities in any industry. But it still comes down to connecting with people and finding out what excites them about the game. And then making their experience even better based on their needs and wants.”
Wilson also likes to work on his game at the driving range and enjoys getting out to play.
“In my spare time I’m looking to go practice or play golf,” he said.
Wilson joined the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school.
He was in the United States Marine Corps, from 1987 to 1991, going from boot camp and then being selected to go to terrorist training school and security ports school after ranking in the top-10 of his class during infantry training. He was also selected to go on the USS Coral Sea, an aircraft carrier, as part of a United States Marine Corps detachment that did internal and external security for the ship. He was picked to be the bodyguard for L.E. Allen, the captain of the USS Coral Sea, for a year and a half.
“I had a great tour in the Marine Corps, getting to see a lot of the Middle East and travel around a good part of the world,” he said.
Wilson worked as a federal police officer upon returning to Maryland.
He then went to work as a sales manager for Sierra Spring Water Company in Santa Rosa for 10 years.
He was also with Crystal Water Company as a sales manager and then also Alhambra Water.
Joining Morton Golf
Wilson put in his application for a job opening with Morton Golf in 2007.
After interviewing, he got the job and started out in March of 2007 at Bing Maloney, working as a retail manager and as an assistant professional. He later became the pro shop manager.
He was promoted to floor manager in the Super Shop at Haggin Oaks in August of 2007.
He got another promotion, taking over as General Manager at Bing Maloney, and for 11 years leading operations there, from 2008 to 2019.
“I had a great time at Bing Maloney and grew a staff that became a family,” said Wilson.
Bing Maloney was rated among the top-100 courses by the Association of Golf Merchandisers in 2010, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
“We were excited about doing that,” said Wilson.
Wilson was also selected as a top-10 putting fitting instructor in 2011 by SeeMore Putter Company.
Wilson is a Titleist Staff member, a member of the Club Managers Association of America, and a member of the Association of Golf Merchandisers.
He has also served on the Morton Golf Foundation. It’s a 501c3 organization that raises funds for golf programs in the Sacramento community, according to its website, mortongolffoundation.org.
“The Morton Golf Foundation funds programs offering a healthy outdoor recreational environment that stresses the building of lasting personal relationships while seamlessly instilling life’s core values for the youth, disabled, and under-served communities of Sacramento,” the website points out.
Wilson returned in 2019 to Haggin Oaks, working as a store manager in sales in the Super Shop.
There is so much that Wilson said he has learned about the game and the business side of golf from Ken Morton, Sr., and Terry Daubert.
“I’ve learned through Ken Sr., and Terry Daubert that whether you’re teaching or you’re fitting or you’re checking somebody in for a green fee or you’re walking by a customer, it’s just all about recognizing that customer and finding out what the needs and wants are of that customer. It creates a connection. And we can make that connection from a customer and then take that connection all the way up to a friendship,” he said.
“I just think that’s fun to do – every day to come into work, and work with people that want to get better, work with people that want to create new ways to get excitement in the game.”
Wilson greatly enjoys his job, working with both staff and customers.
“Our focus as store managers is really just to make sure that we’re providing the support for our staff and making them successful,” he said. “We try to come to work and just do it a little better each day. Every day, how can we better somebody’s life? How can we reach somebody and connect with somebody? It’s fun to come to work to get people excited about golf.
“This is the place to be – right here. You get to come to work and you get to make friends every day. That’s what we do – we come to work and we make friends with our fellow golfers. All we’re trying to do is find out what their needs and wants are, and make their experience in golfing even better. That’s the bottom line – we want to take care of our golfing fans that come in here, whether it’s through lessons, fittings, or equipment. We want to be the resource in every aspect of their game. We want them to feel comfortable coming in, asking questions about anything. We want them to be able to connect with our pros. It’s really about getting people excited about golf and teaching them the ways that they can enjoy the game.”
Bill Dixon is the manager of the Haggin Oaks Super Shop. He oversees retail sales and day-to-day operations.
The influence and impact that Herbert Colburn had on his grandson in golf continue with the love that Wilson has for the game.
“My grandfather passed before I became a golf pro. I always said that he would have been so proud that his grandson was a golf pro and got to work at Haggin Oaks. How many people can say, ‘I got to work with Morton Golf?’ and ‘I’ve gotten to work at Bing Maloney for over a decade’ and ‘I got to work at Land Park and at all of the facilities here.’
“It’s just a special place to be,” said Wilson.
* 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.