Kohler Golf Biographies
The People Behind the Championship Play
PETE DYE – GOLF COURSE DESIGNER
Internationally known golf course designer Pete Dye was hired in 1985 to design Blackwolf Run® and returned again in 1995 to design Whistling Straits®. Dye’s philosophy is to use the natural terrain and surroundings as much as possible, designing the course to suit the natural environment, instead of changing the land to accommodate the course. His work is influenced by the great English and Scottish golf courses with their pot bunkers, grasses, and green and tee areas reinforced with railroad ties.
Dye was honored by the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008 with the lifetime achievement award. He is only the fifth designer to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.
In 1995, Dye received the Donald Ross Award at St Andrews, the birthplace of golf in Scotland. The award symbolizes the epitome of innovation and artistic qualities in golf course design.
OTHER PETE DYE DESIGNS INCLUDE:
• The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, S.C.
• The Honors Course, Chattanooga, Tenn.
• The Golf Club, New Albany, Ohio
• TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
• Crooked Stick, Carmel, Ind.
• Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
• Teeth of the Dog, Dominican Republic
DIRK WILLIS, PGA – GM & GROUP DIRECTOR – GOLF, KOHLER CO.
Dirk Willis is responsible for ensuring the global golf businesses for Kohler Company lead the industry in terms of service levels, guest experience, recognition and profitability. Willis initially joined Kohler Co. in 1994 after a brief career in hotel management. During his Kohler career, he has served in several management capacities including Tournament Manager for the 1999 National PGA Club Professional Championship, Head Golf Professional at Whistling Straits and PGA Director of Golf Operations for Destination Kohler. Prior to his current position, he most recently was Vice President of Golf, for Irvine Company Resort Properties in Newport Beach, California.
Willis has been an active member of the management and executive teams for every Kohler golf championship. A former PGA National Award Winner, Willis holds an M.B.A. from Marquette University, as well as certificates in executive management from Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management and hospitality management from Cornell University
• PGA Class “A” Member since 1999
• Vice President — Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin
• 1995-1997 Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf Corporate Patron Tournament Events Coordinator
• 1998 U.S. Women’s Open Chairperson Golf Carts and Corporate Patron Golf Events
• 1999 PGA National Club Professional Championship-Championship Director
• 2004 PGA Championship Executive Committee Member
• 2007 U.S. Senior Open Executive Committee Member
• 2010 PGA Championship Executive Committee Member
• 2012 U.S. Women's Open Executive Committee Member
• 2015 PGA Championship Executive Committee Member
MICHAEL O’REILLY, PGA – HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONAL WHISTLING STRAITS®
Michael O'Reilly assumed his role in March of 2007 after serving as the First Assistant Golf Professional at Whistling Straits for three years. As the Head Golf Professional, he is responsible for leading the golf operations team and managing all aspects of the golf operation at Whistling Straits. In addition, O'Reilly is a Lead Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy and serves in a leadership role for major championships hosted at Whistling Straits. A native of Darien, Illinois, he earned a bachelor’s in liberal arts in communications from Augustana College, was elected as a Class "A" Member of the PGA of America in 2004, and he received an M.B.A. degree from Cardinal Stritch University in 2007.
• PGA Class “A” Member since 2004
• Wisconsin Section PGA of America Board Member / Chairman — Tournament and Policy Board
• Lead Instructor for Kohler Golf Academy
• 2011 PGA National Professional Championship Contestant2004 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2007 U.S. Senior Open Executive Vice Chair
• 2010 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2015 PGA Championship Vice Chair
• 2017 Wisconsin PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award Winner
• 2020 Ryder Cup Executive Committee Member
DAVID ALBRECHT, PGA – HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONAL BLACKWOLF RUN®
David Albrecht joined the Blackwolf Run staff in 1992 as an Assistant Golf Professional and has also served as Tournament Division Coordinator, Outside Services Supervisor and Assistant Head Professional. He became
the Head Golf Professional in 1998 and is responsible for managing all aspects of the Blackwolf Run golf operation and ensuring the golf business at Blackwolf Run leads the industry in terms of service levels, guest experience and profitability. In addition, Albrecht is a Lead Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy and has been honored by Golf Digest for his contributions in this area.
• PGA Class “A” Member since 1998
• Lead Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy
• 2006 Teacher of the Year, Wisconsin Golf Course Owners Association (GCOW)
• 2013-2014 Top 10 Instructors in Wisconsin by Golf Digest
• 1998 U.S. Women’s Open Committee Chair
• 2012 U.S. Women’s Open Player Services Committee Chair
MICHAEL LEE – MANAGER, GOLF COURSE MAINTENANCE WHISTLING STRAITS® and BLACKWOLF RUN®
Michael Lee joined Kohler Co. as Blackwolf Run Golf Course Superintendent in 1993. In 1999 he was promoted to oversee golf course maintenance at both Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. He supervised the golf course preparations for Kohler golf championships beginning with the Anderson Consulting World Championship of Golf in 1995. Lee is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in plant sciences, specializing in turf and grounds management. His golf course experience includes five years as Assistant Superintendent for Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He also worked for the UW-Madison plant pathology department.
• Board Member Board of Visitors — College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UW-Madison
• Board Member Wisconsin Turf Grass Association Board
• 1995-1997 Anderson Consulting World Championship of Golf Manager Golf Course Maintenance
• 1998 U.S. Women's Open Manager Golf Course Maintenance
• 2004 PGA Championship Manager Golf Course Maintenance
• 2007 U.S. Senior Open Manager Golf Course Maintenance
• 2010 PGA Championship Manager Golf Course Maintenance
• 2012 U.S. Women's Open Manager Golf Course Maintenance
• 2015 PGA Championship Manager Golf Course Maintenance
TODD WAGNER – MANAGER KOHLER GOLF ACADEMY
Todd Wagner manages the daily operations of the Kohler Golf Academy, ranked in the top 50 best golf schools in America by GOLF Magazine. Serving as Senior Instructor, Wagner trains all Kohler Golf Academy instructors ensuring the quality of instruction and the growth of Kohler Golf Academy through lesson programs and golf schools. He began his career at Kohler as a golf professional in April 1996 and was active in the development of the Kohler Golf Academy. In 2008, he became the Manager with his primary focus on the promotion, selling and management of Kohler Golf Academy.
• 2009-2010, 2011-2012 Top 10 Instructors in Wisconsin by Golf Digest
• 2011 and 2012 Honorable Mention Instructors by US Kids Golf
JOSUE REYES, PGA – MERCHANDISE MANAGER WHISTLING STRAITS® and BLACKWOLF RUN®
Josue Reyes ensures the retail businesses at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits lead the industry in terms of service levels, aesthetics, product offerings, guest experience, recognition and profitability. As a Class “A” golf professional with over ten years’ experience in the golf industry, he is a proven professional with noteworthy results in revenue growth and visual merchandising. He was previously with The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Sarasota, Florida, where he served as Head PGA Golf Professional. Prior to his position as Head Professional, he served as the Golf Shop Manager for the club and was instrumental in the initial design and layout of their golf shop. Reyes' professionalism and attention to detail helped the club become the only AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Resort in the U.S.
• PGA Class “A” Member since 2006
• PGA Magazine Advisory Board
• 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Wisconsin Section PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities
• 2013 National PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities
• 2010 PGA Championship Merchandise Executive Vice Chair
• 2012 U.S. Women’s Open Merchandise Team Leader
• 2015 PGA Championship Merchandise and Media Services Division Chair
• 2020 Ryder Cup Division Chair for Merchandising and Media Services
FOUR CHAMPIONSHIP COURSES AND FIVE-STAR EXPERIENCES
MAKE KOHLER, WISCONSIN, A GOLF ADVENTURE UNLIKE ANY OTHER.