Feeling Good: Pine Needles, Mid Pines GM Schieber Loving Job
BY HOWARD WARD
This little cold snap that has Sandhills residents shivering and wondering where global warming has gone doesn't faze Terry Schieber.
The general manager of Pine Needles and Mid Pines resorts grew up in Ohio and spent several cold winters in Michigan before moving south. He's climate tough.
Schieber is 56 years old and right at home overseeing the operations of the two Donald Ross golf courses. But his duties aren't nearly as related to golf as they are to other things such as personnel and marketing. He's not nearly as concerned with tee times as he is with tea times.
Schieber was happily toiling away at PGA National in West Palm Beach Gardens when fate called in the form of Pine Needles President Kelly Miller.
"Pat Corso (former Pinehurst President) and I go way back," Schieber said. "Pat brought me in to run PGA National, and I was there for 11 years. He and Kelly are friends, and Pat introduced us."
That introduction led to a call from Miller that changed Schieber's address, and eight months ago he came to Southern Pines with a mission to streamline and promote what he thinks are two of the best courses in the country.
"Let's get one thing straight," Schieber says up front, "Kelly is the boss, and I do what he asks. I work with him marketing the resorts, but he's running the show. I'm enjoying it here and I like to work. I like people and I'm getting to know people in the area.
"Pat (Corso) told me, 'You'll really like North Carolina and the area, and he was right. I've enjoyed everything here, especially the job. It's a family-oriented business and the family and the resorts are very respected both inside and outside the state.
"Mrs. (Peggy Kirk) Bell treats people who come here like they were guests in her home. I hadn't met her before coming here, but she's the ultimate teacher. She's constantly talking golf."
Schieber can talk golf, too, but he claims the talk is better than the golf.
"I love the game, but I'm not much ofa player," he said, smiling. "My handicap is about 22 and everyone else here is a great golfer. I'm surrounded by Mrs. Bell, a tour professional in Pat McGowan and Kelly, who's a strong amateur.
"It's fun to watch and be a part of, but I don't play that much. I did play two holes with Pat (McGowan) the other day.
"I'm actually more into boats and sailing. I have a boat in Michigan and get up there every once in a while. But it's too cold there to be on the water this time of year. I like to golf and travel, but most of all I like to work. I enjoy training employees, building consistency in the service and continuing improvement in those areas.
"If we take care of people here we'll keep growing because those people will tell their friends. That commitment has been a big part of the Bell success over the years."
It's less than five months before the U.S. Women's Open returns to Pine Needles. This is the third Women's Open at the course in 11 years, and Schieber is enjoying the experience of helping get everything ready for the big show.
"You can feel it," he said. "The Pinehurst Championship Management people are working hard on it every day. And everyone is very much excited. I visited with Pat (Corso) during the 1999 Men's Open at Pinehurst and I've had a taste of the excitement."
But Schieber's job is still more about the day-to-day operations of a major resort.
"We're working to make Pine Needles and Mid Pines a more powerful entity as two courses, fusing them together and marketing both. We want to let people know that they can come here and play two great Donald Ross courses, one in the morning and one in the afternoon if they like.
"We're taking care of guests, increasing the level of service. We want people to come here and be very comfortable on very beautiful property.
"There aren't many resorts that can offer two Ross courses, and they're both great experiences. That makes it easy to sell. It's a great value and golfers know that. One of the attractions here is that it's not so large that people get lost. It's the Pine Needles style. The golf experience."
Schieber is currently involved in screening applicants for positions as director of golf for both resorts and head golf professional at Mid Pines, an added task that he wasn't expecting.
"Chip King has resigned as director of golf and Rob Pilewski as golf professional at Mid Pines," he said, emphasizing that neither is being forced out. "Both have been given great opportunities that they want to take. Chip is going to Grandfather Country Club and Rob is going to King's Grant in Fayetteville, which has been bought by Methodist University, his alma mater."
Meanwhile, Schieber is doing what he likes most -- talking up Pine Needles and Mid Pines. Two places he's already learned to love.
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