Crystal Springs Resort, nestled among the Hamburg Mountains in northern New Jersey just an hour from New York City, is one of the largest golf resorts in the U.S. The resort destination offers an unprecedented variety of golf with six courses, two hotels and a variety of dining options and activities for golf aficionados and families.
For more than 20-years, Art Walton has been directly involved and instrumental in the golf development, operations, and growth of the resort, and is currently the VP of Golf Operations and head of Human Resources.
MATT WARD: How did you get your start in the golf industry and ultimately end up at Crystal Springs?
After graduating from the University of Rochester, where I played on the golf team, I moved to Philadelphia where I worked at Spring Mill Country Club. A young golf professional from Pine Valley was brought in to manage the operations and suggested I consider becoming a PGA Professional.
I took the advice, and as a single 24-year old, decided to expand my horizons and moved to the southwest where I took a position in El Paso, Texas at Painted Dunes, which was under the management of Eagle Golf. Painted Dunes was a strong enough course to have hosted PGA Tour qualifiers. When the Mulvihills acquired Crystal Springs Resort, they hired Eagle Golf to manage the property and offered me the opportunity to move back closer to home and begin a new career direction in 1995. Over the next twenty years, I have seen the landscape change significantly from a small facility to a major resort operation with now six courses, and two hotel properties. It’s been an incredible journey indeed.
MW: What’s the biggest challenge Crystal Springs is facing and how are you planning to deal with it?
AW: Keeping all of our distinct clientele satisfied. For as big as we appear to be, we some- times struggle with not having enough space to completely satisfy all of our members and guests. With so many business segments to satisfy — golfers, members, diners, brides and their wed- ding parties, corporate guests, pool guests — we are continually trying to manage time, space, resources and feelings.
MW: Best advice you ever received — what was it and who was it from?
AW: Pretty simple advice from my Dad. It doesn’t matter what career path you choose to take, but wherever that leads you – enjoy what you’re doing and do your best.
MW: How has the resort business changed for golf from when you first started at Crystal Springs to today?
AW: The Resort business has exploded over the past 20-years. Crystal Springs is so multi-faceted now. When I first started in the tiny old cottage we called the temporary clubhouse, we saw mainly just golfers. Today, you walk around the resort and you could also see wine enthusiasts, wedding parties, corporate meeting attendees, nature club members, fitness fanatics, guests at the Spa, families with kids frolicking and playing in the pools while enjoying the views, as well as Foot-Golfers, croquet players, and nature hikers.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?