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The business of golf

Minot Junior Golf Association’s new executive director plans to better tap the business community.

Minot Golf Association
The thing we're most proud of is that we really wanted to provide a place for kids to go and learn golf skills, but also personal skills like being a good human being, etiquette rules and those kinds of things,' says Dusty Zimmerman, Minot Gold Association's new executive director.

MINOT, N.D. • Dusty Zimmerman, who has been involved with the business community for a number of years, knows the Minot community well.

For starters, she has worked in media relations and marketing for an architecture and design firm, which put her in contact with businesses near and far. She now is bringing that experience to fulfill new duties as the executive director of the Minot Junior Golf Association.

She is the first to carry the title for the association, an organization she describes as one that cares for the community and its youth. It also values business relationships and in her new role, Zimmerman hopes to enhance those relations.

Dusty Zimmerman
Dusty Zimmerman

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The Minot Junior Golf Association was established in 1989, and aims to support young people by providing them opportunities to learn and grow not only as golfers but as individuals. As part of that effort, the association in 2003 built a nine-hole golf course specifically designed for kids. When the flood hit in 2011, the course was flooded, but over the past couple of years a flood protection project impacted a number of holes on the course. The course was redesigned as part of the project.

“The Junior Golf board decided that since we have these professional golf course designers and constructors involved that we would pitch in a little extra money and update some of the other areas of the course,” Zimmerman said. “It's really quite a neat course. We added a lot of different hazard features, and it has the feel of a Scottish course with tall grasses and things like that, old school.”

What Zimmerman and her team is most excited and proud about, however, is what it is doing in the long-term for the area’s youth.

“The thing we're most proud of is that we really wanted to provide a place for kids to go and learn golf skills, but also personal skills like being a good human being, etiquette rules and those kinds of things,” she said.

Explaining her new role, Zimmerman said this is the first time the association has hired an executive director.

“The board felt that with our new course it wanted to put a focus and an emphasis on what our traditional mission is, which is kids and golf,” she said. “We support a lot of activities in the community.”

It helps when businesses partner with the association.

“It was our goal to really redirect some of those efforts back into golf for kids, and we’re now taking the opportunity to promote that, to promote the course, to add new events. … We're trying to really utilize the course and meet needs that aren't being met in other places in the community. We're trying some new things to reach those folks and give them the opportunity to still do the things they love.”

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She said a number of business partnerships have been formed over the years, and they are relationships she wants to maintain and build upon. Businesses have continued to support the organization, she said, such as supporting tournaments and other activities.

“Since this is my new role and we're just trying to get into it, I think there will be a lot more that will come on board,” she said. “Now that there's someone who can assist in coordinating a lot of those things that we didn't have before.”

Zimmerman, who graduated from Minot State University with a degree in business management and has worked in a number of capacities over the past 20 years, addressed the important question sports-minded people might have: She’s great at business, but how is she on the golf course?

Answer: She can hold her own.

“I'm a bit of a golfer but I wouldn't say I'm, you know, a strict, real committed golfer,” she said. More so, what she can bring to the table is promoting the good things that come from the golf experience. And with her business and marketing experience, she is just the right person for the job.

“Golf can be something that people can do throughout their entire life. It's something to get out and enjoy the beautiful place that we live in. It's a great place to spend time with family, but it also teaches a lot of life skills,” she said.

“It teaches us how to be honest when we run the course and reporting our scores; it teaches us how to react if we have a bad shot.

“It is, I think, the combination of golf skills and life skills, but what most excites me is that I think we can make a really big impact on kids in our community and give them a safe, fun place to enjoy their youth and still learn something, to teach them something without them knowing that we're teaching them something.”

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