Movin' On Up: Pine Needles, Mid Pines Name Gilmore as GM
BY BILL F. HENSLEY
Special to The Pilot
Graham Gilmore is a young man whose career is on the rise.
A former assistant golf professional, head golf pro and director of golf, the 31-year-old Gilmore was recently named general manager of both Pine Needles and Mid Pines, two nationally known Sandhills resorts.
Gilmore has already assumed his new duties and will continue to serve as golf director at both resorts.
A native of Stedman, a small town east of Fayetteville, Gilmore joined the Pine Needles staff as an intern while he was still in college in 2000. He played several key roles in hosting the U. S. Women's Open Championships in 2001 and 2007 and quickly caught the eye of Kelly Miller, Pine Needles' president.
"Graham is a talented, dedicated young man who has done an outstanding job," Miller said. "His management skills have been evident from the start, earning our confidence and appreciation. We are delighted to have him, thrilled with his dedication, and wish him every success."
Gilmore's most recent accomplishments at the two resorts were overseeing a new membership program that has brought in 175 new members, and the addition of an upcoming fitness center at Pine Needles.
"Like all resorts, we always have a variety of projects in the works," Gilmore said. "And many involve maintenance on the golf course and in accommodations. This summer has been unusually hot and we have been challenged from a golf maintenance standpoint. We are taking precautions in getting our courses ready for the fall season."
Gilmore took up the game when he was 10 years old and played on the high school team at Cape Fear.
He put his playing career aside when he enrolled at Methodist College, concentrating on getting a degree in professional golf management and his internship at Pine Needles. He was graduated in 2002.
With college behind him, Gilmore joined the Pine Needles staff as an assistant golf -professional working under the veteran Chip King. He became head pro at Pine Needles two years later and took over at both courses in 2007.
"The work here is both interesting and enjoyable," he said. "I like having a lot of different things to do, and I learn something new every day."
In addition to a full slate of golf activities at the two courses, Gilmore is involved in the prestigious golf schools - called "Golfaris" - and finds time for a teaching role along with director of instruction Pat McGowan and Donna Andrews, the lead instructor.
"I have always enjoyed teaching," he said, "and look forward to that part of my job with much enthusiasm."
Then there are personnel duties, supervising the food and beverage departments, along with housekeeping, sales and marketing activities.
"The part I like best is guest relations," he said. "It always pleases me to be of assistance to members and guests."
Gilmore has a staff of approximately 150 at the resorts. "The entire staff has been helpful in my on-the-job training," he said. "We have a talented team here, and I'm benefiting from their vast experience."
Gilmore is married to the former Kim Gaster, of Sanford. The couple have a 6-year-old daughter, Carson, a first-grader.
When he isn't handling his many duties at the resorts, Gilmore enjoys being with his family and working in the yard. And occasionally, he wanders out to one of the Donald Ross classic courses he helps operate and plays golf.
"My game isn't great," he admitted, "but I get around in the mid-70s, which isn't too bad. But being a good player isn't my top priority these days. I have other things to do."
And so he does. And he's good at it, too.
Bill Hensley is a North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame golf publicist and freelance writer who lives in Charlotte.
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