Home Course: Horseshoe Bay Golf Pro Settles In

Not many golfers who are trying to earn a berth in one of the PGA tour’s four majors reside in cold, northern states, but Horseshoe Bay head golf professional Jamie Christianson says he’s in a good place.

A very good place.

“This is back home for me. My wife’s happy. My kids are happy. The lifestyles for me and my family are too good,” he said, when asked whether he’s considered moving again after working as a pro and course manager for almost a decade in Texas and Oklahoma. 

A former multisport high school athlete from northwestern Wisconsin, Christianson, 38, has been playing some of the best golf of his career, and he loves the quality of life that he; his two sons, ages 11 and 8; and his wife, Christine, have in Door County. 

He said he’s also incredibly grateful for the support of the Horseshoe Bay management and membership, and when he’s not serving others at the club or working on his golf game, he also tries to give back by helping the Gibraltar schools’ booster club.

Undoubtedly, he’s doing what he loves.

“Golf is such a unique industry where you have to be well rounded in so many areas,” Christianson said. “I don’t consider this work by any means. I enjoy coming to work at a golf course every day. We put in hours that many people wouldn’t, but it’s not a job; it’s something that we all love doing. It’s hard to explain.”

And it affords him a chance to compete. 

Last summer, a two-shot victory in the Wisconsin PGA Professional Championship gave Christianson a tee time in the 2023 PGA Professional Championship in New Mexico, and from there, the top 20 finishers gained invitations to tee it up in the PGA Championship in May.

This winter, he and Brookfield-area pro and teacher Mick Smith also held a two-day lead and finished third in the PGA’s four-round, four-ball Senior-Junior Team Championship in Florida.

Off the course, Christianson has excelled in other ways. 

This spring, he accepted the Wisconsin PGA Patriot Award for Horseshoe Bay’s role in organizing Folds of Honor fundraising to assist with the many needs that families of veterans in northeastern Wisconsin have, K9s for Warriors fundraising for service and therapy dogs, and Adopt A Soldier fundraising for Door County veterans.

“The award comes to me because I’m the head professional, but it’s really run by committee members,” Christianson said of a group led by Door County volunteer Siobhan Hecker. 

Four years ago – Christianson’s first summer here – a golf outing at Horseshoe Bay raised a windfall for a different veterans’ organization, but there were no guarantees that the money helped veterans in Door County or even in Wisconsin.

Jamie Christianson, golf pro at Horseshoe Bay Golf Club. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

“Siobhan and I had this brainstorm: Why don’t we create something where we control the money and send it out ourselves, versus having someone send it to places we don’t really know?” Christianson recalled. So, for the past two years, the outing, heavily supported by club members, has raised more than $200,000, Hecker said. 

Christianson had experience working with the Tulsa-based Folds of Freedom, which allowed him to designate where money should be sent. He and committee members renamed Horseshoe Bay’s golf outing Pars for Patriots in 2021, and he asks Folds of Freedom to keep most of the proceeds in northeastern Wisconsin. Although Christianson would love to have the money stay in Door County, he said that, frankly, this is an extremely expensive place for younger veterans and their families to live.

“The last two years, we have been able to give scholarship money through Folds of Honor to families who’ve lost a loved one in military service,” Christianson said. 

In addition, the 2021 and 2022 fundraisers raised almost $40,000 to buy and train a service dog for a northeastern Wisconsin veteran and to send that veteran for training to have the dog.

As always, he tries to maintain focus on his many responsibilities. Hecker describes Christianson’s job as a juggling act because he has many expectations to meet in the golf shop, as a teacher and around the course. Christianson said he works hard to keep his game in good shape, but he doesn’t practice nearly as much as tour pros.

“They practice 10 hours a day. It’s a very lonely time commitment,” he said. “Golf now – young players – they’re not afraid of anything. Golf has changed completely. The equipment’s evolved. The ball has evolved. When I grew up, it was if you see a pin tucked, you were hitting to the center of the green, and you’d try to make a putt. Now, these guys are just firing at pins left and right, and their short games are so good.”

But some things stay the same.

“No matter what, golf is ‘How good are you from 150 yards and in?’” Christianson said. “And you have to be exceptional from 150 yards and in, and you have to be better than exceptional from 100 yards and in. If you miss the green, can you get up and down? And then when you’re on the green, if you’re within 10 feet, can you make that 50% of the time?”

Christianson loves that the club members and owners support him and the staff, and that they put money back into the club, as evidenced by this year’s major clubhouse-expansion project.

“The members want to see the club evolve,” he said, but some things remain unchanged, such as what he considers to be one of the most spectacular finishing holes he’s ever played. The bonus? It’s his home course.

“Hitting into that 18th green is one of my favorite shots,” Christianson said. “I’ve played all over the country, and it’s one of the most beautiful vistas, especially with the sun setting over Green Bay.” 

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