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Foraker brings 30 years of experience

KEVIN DAMASK

Chris Foraker has spent most of his professional life on the golf course and he’s ready bring his passion to Columbus Country Club.

Foraker recently became the full-time general manager/golf professional at the 9-hole course at 301 Ingalsbe St. Foraker came to the country club late last summer on a trial basis and the golf course’s board of directors chose to hire him permanently. He recently relocated to Columbus.

“That time gave me a chance to see what was going on, meet everybody, take a good, close look at the books and see if I could make a difference,” Foraker said. “I felt like I could make a difference here and I enjoy the people.”

After taking a few months to ease into the GM/golf pro position, Foraker was enjoying his time in Columbus and the board believed he would be an ideal fit. Foraker admits if he hadn’t received the full-time position, he was going to hang up his clubs.

“I was ready to ride off into the sunset and retire,” he said.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Foraker was serving drinks behind the club’s bar, chatting to patrons about the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. The University of Wisconsin was set to play Oregon that night and he was planning for a large crowd to watch the game. Foraker enjoys meeting new people and he’s had fun hosting events at the country club.

With spring finally here, he can’t wait to hit the links and show his golf acumen. Foraker has been a Professional Golf Association pro for 30 years. He’s spent time coaching golf and has helped revive courses from Shawano to Hartford. Foraker spent 10 years as a golf pro in Spring Green and has earned numerous awards from the Wisconsin PGA.

In 1997, Foraker coached the River Valley High School boys’ golf team to a state championship. More than 20 years later, Foraker still connects with some of his former players. He relished the opportunity to teach golf and build relationships. It’s an aspect that continues to drive him.

“I worked at the golf course in Hartford for the last five years and I thought I was going to slowly transition into retirement after that,” Foraker said. “But I spent a winter in Florida and realized I wasn’t ready for retirement. Quite frankly, I was bored.”

Foraker returned to Wisconsin in March 2018, working part-time at Yahara Hills Golf Course in Madison. Then Columbus came calling. He always felt intrigued by Columbus and savors the joy and challenges of managing a city-owned course.

“I work in a profession that I love,” Foraker said. “I suppose if I worked in a field that I didn’t enjoy, I would want to get out, but that’s not the case.”

Foraker said there isn’t a lot he needs to fix at Columbus Country Club, but there are aspects to improve. He wants to provide a good experience both inside the clubhouse and on the course.

“And we’ll do that through fun events,” Foraker said. “We have a lot of plans, such as a little tournament on Kentucky Derby day and maybe some night tournaments and community-type events.”

Columbus Country Club, which opened in 1930, has a long history of community support. Foraker wants that to continue, but he also knows it’s a difficult time for golf courses. Through the years, Foraker saw the Tiger Woods-inspired boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but also the industry’s decline the past few years.

“It’s not unique to here, I’ve seen it in other courses across Wisconsin,” Foraker said. “My mode of operation is to come to courses that are struggling and help turn them around. There’s room for growth here and you do that through increasing memberships, golf outings and daily fee play.”

Foraker, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, earned a degree from the University of Cincinnati. In the 1980s and 1990s, Foraker played professional tournaments in Florida during the winter and also had some success in Wisconsin. However, his best round of golf came just a few years ago when he shot a 70 in a Florida tournament.

“I never thought I could be a (PGA) Tour player, but I thought I could be the best club manager and pro there was,” Foraker said.

To contact Foraker, call 920-623-5880 or send email to columbuscountryclub@yahoo.com.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

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