5 questions with Mike O’Reilly – Whistling Straits
Mike O’Reilly assumed his position as Head Golf Professional at Whistling Straits in 2007, leading the golf operations team and managing all aspects of the golf operation. Since then, he has been part of a team that has successfully hosted the 2010 and 2015 PGA Championship. Mike is now an Executive Committee Member as Whistling Straits will play host to the 2020 Ryder Cup. Here are some questions to get to know more about him:
If you could be a caddie on Tour, whose caddie would you like to be and why?
Steve has always been a true gentleman of the game. I love his story of almost losing his tour card then battling back to become one of the best players in the world.
Has golf always been your first love and who was your golf hero growing up? What other sports / team are you a fan of?
Golf has always been a big part of my life. I started caddying at a local country club at the age of 12 and have been involved with golf ever since. At that time I played golf but I also played soccer, wrestled and was a gymnast. By the time I was in college I began to focus more on the game and business of golf then I turned professional after graduation.
Kevin Marion was my golf hero growing up. Kevin is now the General Manager at an exclusive private country club in the Chicagoland area. When I started caddying, Kevin was the Head Professional at a different private club in the suburbs of Chicago called Ruth Lake Country Club. I looked up to Kevin for many reasons and he is a big reason I chose to work in golf.
Today I still play a lot of competitive golf but also enjoy running and water sports. Nothing beats wakeboarding and wakesurfing!
What was your favourite Major to watch this year and why? Who’s the Slowest / Fastest player on tour?
The British Open. It’s always my favorite to watch because it’s brings the viewer back to the origins of the game. Also… I love waking up to watch live golf!
Not 100% sure but I know Ben Crane and Kevin Na are slow. Jordan Spieth is no speed demon either. Fastest… I know Brandt Snedekar doesn’t mess around out there. He has to be one of the faster players out there.
Where does Pace of Play rank as an industry priority?
It’s absolutely in the top 3. Coming up with ways to shorten the amount of time it takes to have a golf experience is critical to the future of the game.
Why has your course decided to invest in Pace of Play?
We decided to invest in a pace of play program because we understand how big of an impact pace of play has on the overall golf experience. We can have the best facilities, courses, staff, service, etc… the best of everything but if pace of play is a disaster on the course then all of our hard work can be for nothing. The golf experience might be ruined because we weren’t able to appropriately manage pace of play.
Bonus: What are the top benefits about having Tagmarshal technology to manage the field, efficiencies and the pace of play? How would your Marshals / Player Assistants answer this question?
The greatest benefit of the program is awareness. When we have issues the entire team is aware of what’s happening on the course and we can react more quickly to issues. This has helped tremendously.
The Player Assistants like having up to date information about the entire course at all times. They no longer need to manually keep track a group and they can see an issue as soon as it arises. Instead of waiting to see the problem they can see it online then go to see the problem group.
Tagmarshal is a golf course efficiencies and field management solution that turns pace-of-play into an asset. The system uses a series of small “tags” clipped onto one golf bag per group, or installed into carts, which transmit geolocation data. Industry-leading algorithms identify risk groups with accurate, objective support to alleviate pace challenges before they arise. Public, private and resort courses using Tagmarshal realize substantial returns on investments through improved on-course experiences achieved with less staff, as well as increases in daily rounds. Easy-to-use pace analytics, weather data integration and geo-fencing complete the offering.