By Ken MacLeod
In a recent Golf Oklahoma story looking back over his 26 years as Director of Golf at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Dave Bryan said he would be seeking the perfect situation to contribute his experience, wisdom and contacts to the success of another venture.
That perfect opportunity came sooner than expected. Bryan was announced to the membership today as the new director of golf at The Patriot Golf Club in Owasso, beginning in Jan., 2015.
Also moving over with Bryan will be Southern Hills assistant Derrick Vest, 26, who will be the head professional, handling all pro shop and golf course operations. Bryan will contribute through consultation, member relations, solicitation of new members and other means.
"I’m just so happy for Dave Bryan," said David Charney, one of the founders of The Patriot and current chairman of the executive committee. "He’ll bring a wealth of experience and a wonderful reputation. We couldn’t be more pleased.
"We knew Dave’s transition at Southern Hills was on the horizon and that he was intrigued by our club and what it stands for. We were very fortunate that he was able to bring Derrick Vest, who has an extremely strong pedigree and Dave said is one of the top assistants he has had in his long career. I think we’re getting the premier one-two punch in the state and we’re looking forward to a period of growth and stability in our club."
The Patriot is located in the thriving Stone Canyon residential development in Owasso and sits next to the Folds of Honor Foundation, founded by Major Dan Rooney. The Folds of Honor has awarded more than 5,000 scholarships to the children of those who have been injured or killed serving in the U.S. armed forces.
The Patriot, designed by acclaimed architect Robert Trent Jones II, opened in 2010 on striking land that includes holes that sweep deep into canyons and ravines as well as move through upland prairie and woodland settings. Dave Bryan’s son David Bryan, who is now the director of golf at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, was the first head professional. Since he moved to Cedar Ridge in 2012, there have been two other head professionals, but Charney expects this combination to be a stable proposition for the growing club.
"That’s why we wanted to work hard to make this work," he said. "We realize the depth of talent that we’re bringing in."
Bryan attended a farewell dinner this week at Southern Hills that brought out more than 500 members and friends. A video was prepared that included testimonials from Bob Stoops, Bill Self and others who could not be in attendance.
"It was unbelievable, overwhelming and very, very humbling," Bryan said. "It makes you feel like you did make a difference and affected people’s lives."
For his new opportunity, Bryan said he could not be more grateful.
"The members there are passionate about the club. The real estate is going great. I think Derrick and I will really be able to contribute and make a difference and we’re looking forward to it. This will allow me to spend quality time with my family and quality time helping The Patriot."
Vest is a native of Pleasanton, Neb., and a graduate of the Professional Golf Management program of the University of Nebraska. He interned at both Congressional and Prairie Dunes and worked as an assistant to Tim Fleming at Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club from 2011-2012 before being hired by Bryan at Southern Hills.
"I’m very excited about this opportunity," Vest said. "There is so much activity and growth potential. And then with the Folds of Honor next door and to be part of its mission and help Dan, it couldn’t be better."
Vest said he loves to teach and would look to strengthen The Patriot’s instructional capabilities and junior program. He said he also learned the importance of customer service from Bryan.
"The members expect you to be consistent and take care of them with a smile on your face. That fits right in with my personality and my energy. "
Vest served as the PGA South Central Section Assistant Association President in 2013 and 2014, and as the Chair of the Growth of the Game Committee in 2012. He was named the South Central PGA Assistant Professional of the Year in 2013. He won both the Assistant Association Championship and Pro-Assistant Championship in 2014.
Bryan and Vest will work through the end of 2014 at Southern Hills. Bartlesville native Cary Cozby has been named to succeed Bryan early in 2015. Cozby was the Director of Golf and CEO of Wichita Country Club.