• James J. Keegan
    James J. Keegan
    Managing Principal and Author
James J. Keegan
Managing Principal and Author

Known to his friends as “Rain Man” because of his amazing recall of any course he has played, any person he has met, or any place he has traveled, James J. Keegan has a zest for golf and for life itself.

With a great heart and a quick mind, he has established a wide-ranging network within the golf industry, an industry in which there may be only one degree of separation from the management leaders who make a positive difference. He leverages his educational background with his extensive experience in the golf industry to frame a vision that can be understood by all. He quickly “cuts to the chase.”

With nine principals averaging 20 years of experience in the golf business, JJKeegan+ provides common sense solutions founded on sound principals. With clients from Europe to Asia, and across America, JJKeegan+ has developed a unique process that is enhancing the golfer’s experience and the investment return of today’s golf courses.

As Managing Principal, Keegan has travelled in excess of 2,500,000 miles visiting over 250 courses annually and meeting with owners and key management personnel at more than 4,000 courses. Having successfully combined his passion for golf with his business acumen, this experience makes him uniquely qualified to offer expert opinions on trends and issues facing golf courses today because of his direct knowledge and interaction with the golfing community.

An accomplished writer, Keegan published in June, 2010 the award winning book, “The Business of Golf – What Are You Thinking? How to Maximize the Financial Return of a Golf Course.” This book has been purchased in 16 countries and is being utilized at 15 Universities. In 2013, Keegan published, “The Business of Golf – Why? How? What?“, a field book for seasoned professionals.

Currently, he serves as a panelist for Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses. He is a former member of the Club Manager’s Association of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association, and is currently a member of the National Golf Foundation, and the International Network of Golf. Keegan is a former volunteer of the Colorado Golf Association and the USGA Sectional Affairs Committee. Jim has served as a course rater and rules official for numerous tournaments including the local and sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open and the World Club Championship.

A certified public accountant with a B.B.A. Degree from Texas Christian University, Keegan earned an M.B.A. in corporate finance from the University of Michigan. He has also served as a captain in the United States Air Force and worked at KPMG as a computer audit specialist.

From feasibility studies, to strategic plans, to management and operational analysis, to reviewing third party management contracts, our engagements have covered a wide variety of golf courses.

While we have engaged in many projects, each client’s needs, wants and desires are unique. Consultants are hired to produce substance, not to comply with form. Every golf business review becomes a custom-tailored assignment based on the initial site review, the key interviews, the local market analysis, and consideration of the political forces in play.

How we will leverage our prior experience? It is our philosophy, one that has been proven successful, that while all tasks are essential to a thorough analysis, we have noted that in every well managed operation, every operational decision can be traced back to the tactical plan and up to the strategic vision. Without a vision, the course will flounder. The finest tactical plans, without a talented team, are meaningless.

It takes all three components—strategic vision, tactical planning and operational execution—to be successful. The components that we will analyze are reflected in the chart here.

To complete a management and operational assessment focuses on key questions through building a consensus of the vital stakeholders. Our focus will be to listen, learn, help, and lead.

The principals of JJKeegan+ have been successful on more than 400 projects in more than 90 cities and six foreign countries.

  • Kevin Norby
    Kevin Norby
    ASGCA, Principal
  • Mr. Michael Vogt
    Mr. Michael Vogt
    Certified Golf Course Superintendent
  • Mr. Rick Christensen
    Mr. Rick Christensen
    Vice President, Chambers
  • Mr. Michael Holtzman
    Mr. Michael Holtzman
    President, Profitable Food Facilities
  • Mr. Brian Keighin
    Mr. Brian Keighin
    President, Irrigation Technologies
  • Erik Christiansen
    Erik Christiansen
    President, EC Design Group, LDT
  • Armen Suny
    Armen Suny
    Suny/Zokol Golf
  • Mr. M J Mastalir
    Mr. M J Mastalir
    President & Owner of Real Estate Capital Corporation
  • John Colligan
    John Colligan
    ASGCA, Principal
  • Jeffrey Brauer
    Jeffrey Brauer
    Previous ASGCA, Principal
Kevin Norby
ASGCA, Principal

Kevin Norby is the owner and principal of Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects of Chaska, Minnesota. Kevin attended South Dakota State University and the University of Idaho at Moscow where he received his degree in Landscape Architecture. In 1991, while working on improvements for Superior National Golf Course, Kevin met Don Herfort – a golf architect and a fellow with the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

In 1995, Kevin and Don formed Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects and continued to work together for nearly 10 years. Today, Herfort Norby is located in Chaska, Minnesota and specializes exclusively in the design of golf courses and golf practice facilities. Kevin has been involved with over 80 golf course projects throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean and is a frequent speaker and contributing writer on issues related to golf course design. His services typically cover all aspects of golf course design from site selection and market/feasibility studies, to green and bunker renovations, irrigation design, bid solicitation, contractor selection and on-site construction observation.

Herfort Norby operates under the belief that, whether designing new courses or remodeling existing golf courses, it is important that the architect and the Owner identify and understand the niche which the golf course will occupy in the local market. According to Kevin, “this is particularly important on public daily-fee courses where the average golfer may make up as much as 85 to 90% of the revenue source. The way in which we design a public daily-fee golf course is very different from the way in which we design a destination golf course or private country club or a course which is intended to provide for accelerated real estate sales”.Kevin’s most highly acclaimed new courses include The Refuge Golf Club in Oak Grove, Minnesota and The Preserve on Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa which both received national recognition for environmental sustainability. In 2009, The Preserve was named runner-up best new golf course in America by Golf Inc. and top 10 new course by GOLF Magazine, LINKS magazine and Golf Digest.

Recent renovations and long-range master planning projects include Bemidji Town & Country Club, Grand National Golf Course in Hinckley,Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove, New Richmond Country Club in Wisconsin and Sunbird Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona.agement leaders who make a positive difference.

Mr. Michael Vogt
Certified Golf Course Superintendent

Mike is head of McMahon Group’s Golf Division. He consults with all types of golf courses on Agronomic Issues, Turf Care Center Master Plans, Existing Conditions Reports, Golf Course Asset Reserve Studies, Golf Irrigation System Audits/Studies and Goal Directed Budgeting.

Mike has over 30 years of golf course construction and maintenance experience, serving 26 years as a Golf Course Superintendent. He also served as a General Manager at a private club in Illinois.

After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 1978, he was President of the Illinois Turfgrass Foundation, after which he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1990.

He also is an award winning author; class AA Life Member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and a 26-year Certified Golf Course Superintendent, (CGCS).

Mr. Rick Christensen
Vice President, Chambers

With 37 years of experience, 27 designing golf club clubhouses, Mr. Christensen’s primary area of responsibility is facilitating master plan studies, which include analysis of the existing club facilities, and preparing design alternatives and budgets. He also is responsible for the subsequent schematic design and design development phases of these projects. Rick has been involved in over 100 clubhouse projects in 23 states.

For the past four years, Rick has been involved in two significant public clubhouse projects: Bunker Hills Golf Club and Keller Golf Club. These two projects began as a planning study, one is completed and has been open for two seasons with great success and the other is now under construction, opening in the fall of 2013.

Prior to joining Partners & Sirny in 1997, Rick Christensen spent ten years as a Principal, Project Designer and Project Manager for an upper Midwest architectural firm that specialized in golf course clubhouse design. His experience involved developing a nationally recognized practice that started with 2 clubhouses completed in 1987 and built up to over 50 completed in 15 states by 1997. Architectural Registration: Minnesota, NCARB Certificate.

Mr. Michael Holtzman
President, Profitable Food Facilities

Michael Holtzman received his BS in Restaurant Management from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, and now has over 35 years of restaurant industry experience. His focus has been on improving the sales, quality, and profitability of food service operations.

Mike is a hands-on operator with experience in all aspects of food service. In particular, he has worked with more than 370 facilities in 48 states, Canada, England and the Middle East. Mike is President of Profitable Food Facilities, a company specializing in captive market restaurant locations including large casinos, private country clubs, high end daily fee courses, resorts, ski operations, aquatic centers, theme parks, wellness centers and day spas.

Mr. Brian Keighin
President, Irrigation Technologies

Brian Keighin has 30 years of experience in the green industry. Brian formed Irriation Technologies in August, 2006 providing irrigation design and consulting services for golf course and commercial properties. With close working relationships with electrical utility companies, Brian focuses on reducing a club’s utility bill. Many of these studies are funded by the utility. With 11 years of prior experience at Rodgers Design as project manager, he traveled extensively overseeing the installation of golf course irrigation systems.

Brian graduated from Colorado State University in 1991 with a B.S in Landscape Horticulture and Turfgrass Management.

Brian holds a Certified Irrigation Designer (CID), and Certified Golf Course Irrigation Auditor (CGIA) status from the Irrigation Association (IA). He maintains memberships with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association (RMGCSA), and is an EPA WaterSense partner. He has been a frequent speaker at the annual Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass conference on topics ranging from irrigation design and efficiency, to understanding pump station power consumption and methods of conservation.

Erik Christiansen
President, EC Design Group, LDT

Erik Christiansen is president and owner of EC Design Group, a golf course irrigation and water management company with offices in Iowa, Chicago and China. Mr. Christiansen is a certified irrigation designer and is widely regarded throughout North and South America as a leading authority in golf course irrigation. He is a popular speaker at golf course seminars and is a frequent guest writer and columnist for industry trade magazines such as Golf Course Industry.

Mr. Christiansen has worked on numerous projects in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area including projects at Golden Valley Country Club, Interlachen, Midland Hills, Minnesota Valley, Somerby, Spring Hill, Windsong and Woodhill Country Club. In addition, Erik has worked with Herfort Norby on a number of projects including Forest Hills Golf Club and The Minikahda Club in Minnesota, Bakker Crossing in South Dakota and The Preserve on Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa. A more comprehensive listing of EC Design’s Minnesota projects is attached.

As part of the Master Plan Study, EC Design will be responsible for assessing the condition of the existing irrigation system at each course and identifying the need for improvement or replacement.

Armen Suny
Suny/Zokol Golf

Armen is the only person that has been a Superintendent at two Top 100 courses (Cherry Hills, Castle Pines) and General Manager at another Top 100 course (Shadow Creek). Additionally Suny was the Tournament Director for the International PGA Tour event.

Suny was the youngest Superintendent to host a major when in 1985 at the age of 27 he was the Superintendent at Cherry Hills Country Club for the 1985 PGA Championship.Suny hosted 6 PGA Tour events while at Castle Pines. He was the Assistant Superintendent at Merion Golf Club for the 1981 US Open. He left Merion to become the Superintendent of Rolling Green Golf Club. He mowed his first green when he was 14 years old and was an intern at Aronimink Golf Club for the 1977 US Amateur.

Suny has been involved with the development and workouts of golf course residential projects along with providing technical support for many other fine clubs and is working with Castle Pines Golf Club.

Suny is a partner in Suny, Zokol Golf Design, a Golf Course Design firm with PGA Tour Veteran Richard Zokol.

Armen’s unique skill is that his philosopohy is of practicing and preaching economy. His experience at some of the nation’s finest courses provides a unique perspective on how golf courses can achieve cost efficiently a higher standard of playing conditions for their valued patrons.

Mr. M J Mastalir
President & Owner of Real Estate Capital Corporation

M. J. Mastalir is the President and owner of Real Estate Capital Corporation, a mortgage banking company specializing in the financing of commercial real estate and golf-related properties. As the exclusive correspondent for the Western United States for Textron Financial Corporation’s Golf Finance Division, Mr. Mastalir underwrote golf properties and obtained commitments totaling almost one billion dollars. Mr. Mastalir was instrumental in convincing Textron Financial to support the golf industry by creating a national lending program, and he then assisted with the structuring of that program.

Mr. Mastalir is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on golf course finance and in 1999 was named one of the 25 most influential people in golf by Golf Inc. Magazine.

Real Estate Capital Corporation also assists prospective buyers, owners and operators with the acquisition and disposition of golf clubs and courses. Services include market and financial analysis, operational review, deal structuring, strategic planning and execution. Mr. Mastalir has access to many resources within the golf industry that can provide the additional necessary assessments and solutions to the myriad issues that arise in a golf course transaction.

Prior to forming Real Estate Capital Corporation, Mr. Mastalir spent 14 years with Colorado’s largest mortgage banking company, IntraWest Mortgage Company. During his tenure with IntraWest, he financed in excess of 11,000 multi-family housing units and served as the company’s president from 1983 to 1985.

Mr. Mastalir is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, where he served on several committees and chaired the Insured Project Committee.

Mr. Mastalir was a member of the United States Golf Association’s Executive Committee for eight years, and he served that association as vice president and chaired many committees, including the Rules of Golf Committee.

Mr. Mastalir has served on numerous local and national committees and commissions dealing with housing and finance policy issues and has been a speaker at many golf course and real estate finance seminars and conferences. In addition, he has served on many community boards including Boy Scouts of America, U. S. Commission on Civil Rights, Colorado Housing Incorporated, Colorado Golf Association and The Denver Partnership.

Mr. Mastalir obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado in 1968 and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Colorado in 1971. He is a member of the Colorado Bar.

Mr. Mastalir is currently a member of Denver Country Club, Paradise Valley Country Club, and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

John Colligan
ASGCA, Principal

Colligan Golf Design is a full service golf course architectural design firm based in Arlington, Texas.

Promoting a philosophy, which encapsulates a careful blend of playability, aesthetics, maintainability and budget – all while fostering the utmost respect for the spirit of site and the game of golf. It’s CGD’s belief that every project should maximize the natural potential of the site and introduces the man-made features of the golf course with a harmonious blend of shapes, style and scale that will create variety and establish memorability to the golfer.

Colligan Golf Design specializes in working with municipalities. We have worked with the following cities helping to increase the yearly number of rounds and to increase profitability: San Antonio, Amarillo, Grand Prairie, Schertz, Cleaburne, Fort Worth, Somervell County, Temple, Dallas and Burleson.

John Colligan is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He has 27 years of experience in the golf industry along with another 6 years in Landscape Architecture and Land Planning.

Jeffrey Brauer
Previous ASGCA, Principal

Jeffrey D. Brauer, ASGCA Past President, began his career in his native Chicago upon graduating from the University of Illinois. In 1984, he formed Jeffrey D. Bauer/GolfScapes in Arlington, Texas, which has since designed more than 50 new courses and remodeled more than 80. Most are in the public sector, where he has been active in raising public course standards closer to private club levels.

Many have won awards, including back–to–back Golf Digest “Best New” winners for the Quarry at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik, Minnesota, in 2004 and The Wilderness at Fortune Bay in 2005. He has seven overall placements on Golf Digest “Best New” lists and has been recognized by every other major golf magazine “Best New” awards, including Golf Magazine and Zagat’s (Cowboys was Best New in 2001).

Jeff is active in the dialog about industry issues and trends. He is currently writing “The Greens Chair Guide to Renovations” on Cybergolf.com, is the Golf Course Renovation Editor at Golf Course Industry magazine, and is a consulting architect for “Golf for Women.” He promotes Tee it Forward, Woman/Family Friendly Design, Design for Efficient Maintenance and Irrigation Reduction, along with calculating a Renovation’s “Return on Investment” in his writings, presentations and work.