Interlaken hires Vee as new golf pro

INTRODUCTION — Jon Vee discusses new programs for Interlaken Golf Club with members and their families at an introduction event for Vee last Saturday at the Fairmont-based golf course. The Madelia native replaces Paul Baldus as the local golf club’s professional. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

A new face has come to town. On Feb. 2, Jon Vee was introduced as the new Interlaken Golf and Country Club Golf Pro.

Vee grew up in Madelia before completing a two-year program at Golf Academy of America in Orlando.

After graduating, Vee spent five years as an assistant at the Rochester Golf and Country Club and six years at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. He then received a shot at being a head pro at the Faribault Golf Club, where he spent 17 years.

Vee said he’s always respected Interlaken Golf Club and when the job opened up, it was too good of a situation to turn down.

“I was just kind of at the point in my career when I need a change and the job opened up,” Vee said, who filled the vacancy created when previous golf pro Paul Baldus accepted a job with Bank Midwest in Fairmont. “I’d always had a lot of respect for this club. I haven’t played it a lot, but I was familiar with it and how they operate here. I knew Paul Baldus very well and I had seen on the job posting that it reports to Lance Peterson, who actually is a high school friend of mine from Madelia. We actually grew up about four houses down from each other.

“I just called Lance to talk about the job a little bit and he seemed pretty excited about the opportunity like I did, so he got a group of the board members together. We talked and decided it was the right fit for all of us.”

Vee said he found the job through the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) of America. He said there are career links through the PGA of America where jobs in the field are posted, along with a career consultant looking over territories which can be a big help.

Vee said when he choose to go to school to be a golf pro, he didn’t know what the position really was.

“Honestly, I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” Vee said. “Madelia doesn’t really have a golf shop sort of atmosphere, so I didn’t really have a good grasp on what a PGA golf professional truly did, but I knew that I loved the game and I had some success as a junior player, so I wanted to pursue it.

“When I looked at colleges, playing golf at school was an option for me, but this just seemed more appealing. When I was there, I learned what I was really getting into and it’s all I’ve ever done since.”

Part of the job as a golf pro is running the club’s event calendar and creating new ways to bring people to the course.

Vee said he doesn’t plan to change too much at Interlaken, but he has some ideas to improve members’ experiences.

“It’s actually a similar event calendar makeup and similar programs here to what I’ve dealt with before in Faribault,” Vee said. “Faribault had a few more things, so I think I’m going to add some things. Now I don’t want to jump in and make all kinds of changes, I want to continue what’s been successful here and add in what I think would enhance the club experience for members and their guests.

“We have an established golf calendar already, we do a member/ guest event, which is something I really enjoy doing. I implemented that event at Faribault actually and that’s now their most popular event of the year. Here, the member/guest is at the end of June and it’s a two-man person event. You get a partner and you get flighted into a flight with six teams to do a nine-hole round-robin match play.

“The format itself is wonderful, it’s very social, each nine holes you’re playing somebody new. It’s easy to tie in social functions around it after the first day, or even do a practice round like we do here the day before. It’s the most fun format that the most people play.

“There’s also just your standard men’s days and ladies’ days that are pretty strong out here as well, in addition to an invitational in September and all the other membership holiday sort of events that we’ll try to implement.”

One change Vee wants to implement is a year-long Interlaken Cup based on similar scoring to the Fed Ex Cup.

Vee said the Interlaken Cup will be a great way to get people involved in all the different club events.

“I’m an expert with using Event Man Tournament scoring software and what that allows me to do is create a point system like the Fed Ex Cup,” Vee said. “I’m going to do that here. Our men’s days events will have a little game going, where points can be accumulated, all of our membership events that you get a low-net individual score for will be involved. We’ll keep an ongoing points list throughout the year and then at the end of the year, the top 28 point scorers will play in the year-end Interlaken Cup, which from that event, we will establish a player of the year.

“I know from running that in Faribault, that list got a lot of attention, people always wanted to know where they stand and wanted to get in the top 28. It drives interest in the events because you have to play to score points.”

Vee said he is excited to start at Interlaken because he gets to meet and interact with new people, which he says is his favorite part of a golf pro’s job.

“I get to meet so many people,” Vee said. “I’m not sitting behind a desk all day, that’s not my style. You get a lot of satisfaction in this position as well, because you’re coordinating a lot of programs and events and when you see the work and effort you put into them and when people go out and play in the events and enjoy the programs, I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that happened because of me.”


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