I am in my first season as Director of Golf at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa — having spent the past 11 seasons as Director of Golf and Head Professional at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, NV. Privileged to have attended Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI where I received a degree in Marketing, a minor in Resort Management, collegiate golf experience, and PGA status through their Professional Golf Management affiliation — the first University in the country to work with the PGA.
Golf began for me per playing mini golf during family vacations when I was 5 or so years old. I still consider putting the strong point of my game. Soon following, a junior set of clubs from a local flea market became mine. Ram Golf, 1 and 3 wood, 3, 5, 7, 9 iron and putter.
Growing up in the midwest, I had the distinct advantage of playing and practicing golf safely and securely from a very young age on my own, which also led to playing high school golf by 7th grade. After winning my first high school tournament in 9th grade, I was hooked. A small scholarship for basketball and golf at a small, private college in North Dakota, led to transferring out to Division II Ferris State University to pursue golf at another level and as a career.
After multiple internships at some of the finest clubs across the country, I have been very fortunate to learn from some great professionals and look forward to continuing to grow as a professional and person. And after spending the past 17 years and my full career in golf, I haven’t looked back and continue to be excited for all the possibilities that may be. Working at Omni La Costa has been a great honor and I look forward to being a part of an exciting time at this resort and club.
MATT WARD: The SoCal golf market is a most competitive one — what separate La Costa from your many competitors?
JASON BRUSTAD: Our size and all there is to experience and do. Two championship golf courses, high service golf instruction, full scale resort amenities, never-ending weekly activities, spa. Not to mention the friendly staff around every corner looking to accommodate and assist.
MW: For many years LaCosta was a regular host site for the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions — I believe a total of 37 PGA Tour event played there. Is there a desire to get a Tour event back? Would it be hard to accomplish given Carlsbad is bracketed by three different nearby Tour events in Los Angeles, San Diego and in the greater Palm Springs area?
JB: In working at a private club the past 11 seasons and affiliated with the Reno-Tahoe Open now Barracuda Championship at Montreux Golf Club — and per our history here at La Costa — I know our facility can fully support the hosting of a large scale, first class, professional event. Anything is possible.
MW: If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally what would it be?
JB: Time involved to play and seriousness of some golfers. Golf is meant to be played and enjoyed, hit the ball and move on!
MW: Golf is facing serious issues tied to the development for the next generation to be active players. What remedies do you see working in attracting new people to the game?
JB: Growing the game through Junior Golf involvement and promotion, as well as family golf, couples golf, etc. Some of my favorite golf memories involve twilight golf with my dad after he got home from work, as well as family golf during weekends.
MW: A number of clubs throughout the USA have developed a close connection with other such facilities in order to promote golf more effectively. Does LaCosta take a similar approach and if so — how is it faring?
JB: Yes as we have a great advantage in being an OMNI property, who owns and manages other first class hotels, resorts, and clubs. This allows our members and guests an opportunity to more easily play some of our sister clubs, as well as those facilities having opportunity to visit OMNI La Costa with ease.
MW: Describe the LaCosta approach in golf marketing the facility in the 21st century.
JB: We have an amazing team of marketing professionals who care a great deal about our golf marketing, and who creatively use multiple avenues of promotion. Our goal in the golf operation is to simply continually strive to build, improve, and enhance our product of golf course conditions and the on-course experience, as well as an ongoing effort to continually enhance our services for members and guests. Doing these things relates to increased word of mouth advertising, the best kind.
MW: There’s been a major makeover on the 36-holes provided — what was done with the two courses and how is better than previously?
JB: I view the courses for more golfer enjoyment. However, our greatest enhancement in my opinion has been the work of our new Superintendent, Mat Dunmyer, who’s first year results and golfer feedback regarding improving golf course conditions is simply astounding. I’m very excited for the future of Omni La Costa golf per the work I’ve seen taking place day-in and out, exceptional improvements for play.
MW: Often times golf at resort facilities can take an inordinate amount of time to play. How does LaCosta deal with slow play and what’s been the result of your actions thus far?
JB: Most recently we’ve installed GPS units on our carts that give all players continual reminders of their pace and progress on the round. Also, our maintenance staff in completing some great golf course improvements have cleared out some undesirable, overgrown vegetative areas, making a number of holes much more playable — and timely.
MW: One of the big areas of emphasis for all facilities is in customer service. Define the term and how LaCosta differentiates itself from your competitors.
JB: In spending my entire career in private clubs, our hope and goal is to treat all guests as if they are our member for the day — or week. Greeting a guest by name — having that extra bit of care ensuring their day with us unfolds as enjoyable as possible. It’s a full team effort from arrival to departure. We look to greet every guest with a warm welcome and send them on their way with a fond farewell at the end.
MW: You’ve got one place to play and three slots open to join you. Where do you play and who rounds-up out your foursome?
JB: After having the great privilege of playing many top 100 courses and clubs, my top choice is still an easy one for me. Goose River Golf Club in Hillsboro, North Dakota. My home course, and just 9 holes only. Learned to play there and still have great memories of playing golf as a kid.
As for the foursome, my dad, my mom, and one of my best friends from high school, Nick Berkebile, a classmate and golf teammate of mine from a long time ago. Nick passed away just recently at way too early an age per a brain tumor. Thinking of him I recall learning the game together, the rules, the etiquettes, and the joys of improving after putting in the time and hard work. Looking back you realize that golf is one of the greatest games, if not the greatest, in learning life’s lessons and in building great, lasting friendships.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?