Building a program on passion and fun

Building a program on passion and fun

By Jake P. Smucker

Greg Hire, the new Goshen College golf coach, met with the Record to introduce himself and talk about the Goshen College golf team now and in the future. After a long career in business, he purchased Timber Ridge Golf Club and manages the course while also running the college program.

Introduce yourself to the college community.

Well, I’m local, born and raised right here in Elkhart County. I was raised on a farm. I’ve done a lot of things – eventually migrated into the golf business, though. I own Timber Ridge Golf Club—owned it about 10 years now, which has led to knowing people here at the College and eventually led to this gig.

Did you approach the college about this job or did they talk to you about it?

Actually, I’d say I stuck my toe in the water first. A good friend of mine is Doug Yoder, Goshen track and cross country coach) and he was out at the [golf] course and said something before it was public, that Allison Bailey, my predecessor, had resigned. And he thought it was a nice fit.

It was something that I’d thought about for a long time and knew that if it ever came open again, I’d like to pursue it because I love working with people, with the teaching part of it. So I actually picked up the phone and made the call and said, “Can we talk about it?”

What are your goals for this season?

Filling a team. The young people that we have [already] have great potential and they’re good. They have a lot of the things that you want in a typical golfer: good work ethic, good in school. It’s a good time to build around good players, so I think really the most important thing is to take care of who’s here and try to get people to come in and play with them for a year or two before it becomes really hard to keep the program going.

Is this an interim job for you or are you here for the long term?

The jury’s still out. I’m still running Timber Ridge and I’m still learning to manage how much time this will actually take. I can tell you that in the few weeks that I’ve had the job I love it. And it still might become long term, but you know I’m looking to not only be the Men’s coach, but also the Women’s coach and build successful programs so that we can be competitive in the conference. If I can do that and still manage Timber Ridge, if I hire the right people there, this may become a longer term. But right now I think both Tim [Demant], the athletic director, and I are both saying, “Let’s just wait and see what happens here for the short term before we make any big decisions either way.”

How would you define your goals for the future of Goshen golf?

My goals are to fill both the men’s and the women’s teams and compete in our conference, and I think both those are relatively saying an equal amount. Just to fill a team but not be able to compete is not real good either—not a good mark on it, so we need to fill the teams. In order for that, we need to have five to ten men and women, as most of the other teams in our conference do. And then you get to be able to change the quality of our team to be able to compete. We have players now that can compete. We just need the whole team.

Do you have any closing thoughts?

Certainly. I’m excited about being here. I was born and raised in this area. Goshen College has always been a part of my life. My wife is an alumnus from here. We do a lot of things on campus. We go to concerts, do a lot of social things. I know most of the staff and faculty because I’ve been in this area and I also know the sports program very well because they’ve used Timber Ridge as our home practice course for years, so it’s been a really nice fit and it’s been very enjoyable to be around an institution like Goshen College. I’m enjoying this very much.

Golf Coach Greg Hire. Photo provided by GoLeafs.net

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