As summer nears, excitement for the Victory Ranch golf season heightens. We talked with Victory Ranch Golf Pro Chris Brandenburg about his role on the course, the undeniable allure of our Rees Jones Golf Course setting and the high hopes among Victory Ranch golfers for the upcoming months on the fairway.
How long have you been working at Victory Ranch?
This is my 5th season at Victory Ranch, although it sure doesn’t seem like it has been that long. I had worked with some of the Victory Ranch staff, including Adam Price (executive chef) and Greg Stephens (former golf director), at another club in Park City during a college internship, and I really enjoyed working with them. Also, with Victory Ranch being such a new club at the time, and with Sterling Bay’s acquisition and their blessing, they gave us the incredibly rare opportunity to make it what we wanted, to start our own traditions, to create a culture. It was kind of like starting from scratch, which excited me – a far stretch from the hundred plus year old courses where I had come from.
Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Berea, Kentucky, a small town just south of Lexington. In college, I did an internship at Tuhaye, just outside of Park City. I fell in love with the mountains and the lifestyle associated. After my internship was over and I returned to Kentucky, life just wasn’t like it was out west. I vowed to come back the first chance I got. After college I had acquired a job in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I quickly found out that I am not a beach person; I didn’t enjoy the humidity or playing golf on Bermuda grass. As luck would have it, after about a year in Florida, Victory Ranch was purchased by SB, and they were hiring. I immediately started calling everyone I knew who had the slightest association and eventually found my in. I packed up the car and headed back to paradise.
How long have you been playing golf?
I started playing golf pretty late, compared to most in the industry. I was a freshman in high school when I first picked up a club. My high school golf coach went to my church and he was always on my case about playing, so finally he convinced me to come give it a try. Golf was the first sport that really came naturally to me, and it was madly addicting. I played 54 holes a day that first season and by the time my sophomore year came around I had graduated from a beginner to a scratch golfer.
When you aren’t working where can we find you?
You can find me in the mountains or in the desert any time I am not at work. The great thing about living in Utah is that there are so many outdoor activities to do, all within a relatively short distance of Park City. Rock climbing, backcountry skiing, mountain biking and canyoneering are among my favorites. I just picked up kayaking, so I’m very excited to dive headfirst into that as well.
What’s your role during the off season?
I split time in the off season between Victory Ranch, prepping for the next golf season and managing 875 Main, our Ski In/Ski Out amenity in Park City. It’s a great mix; it keeps me around the members year round and gives me time to get my business dialed in.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
There are many, but if I had to pick one, I would say event management. All year long, I look forward to doing big events like Swing & Sting and The Outlaw. It’s really rewarding to see everyone having a great time and being engaged in the competition.
Now that the course is open, what are you looking forward to this year’s golf season?
We have a lot of new members since last golf season. I’m looking forward to getting to know the new members, developing those relationships and building on the relationships that I currently have.
What’s some advice you can give members that are looking to hit the course this season?
I urge any amateur golfer I teach to not take themselves too seriously on the golf course. Golf can beat you up if you let it; take it easy and have a good time. From a technical standpoint, at Victory Ranch it is so incredibly important to be straight off the tee to hit fairways, so this should be the first thing members work on when returning this season.
How are the course conditions looking this summer, after the winter Victory Ranch had?
We are looking great out there. There has been very little snow mold and no noticeable vole damage, which is incredibly rare for this area. Justin Jeffery and his crew did an amazing job “putting the course to bed” last fall, so to speak, and in “waking it up” this spring. This turf is very healthy and the maintenance crew is top notch. Get ready for more of those perfect conditions Victory Ranch is known for.