Mike Jansen looks at the San Juan Oaks Golf Club course and sees a hidden treasure, a golf haven that is waiting to be fully tapped. As the new Head PGA Golf Professional at San Juan Oaks, Jansen’s main priorities are two-fold: To drive up the number of participants and provide excellent customer care.
“Priority No. 1 is marketing,” said Jansen, whose first day at San Juan Oaks was July 5. “We’re trying to get people out here. We’ve got great facilities, and they’re kind of underutilized. We’ve got a great all-grass driving range, and sometimes I look out and only a couple of people are out there. Priority No. 2 is taking care of all the customers, especially the ones who visit us regularly.”
Jansen spent the last 13 years as Spyglass Hill Golf Club, the last three years as the First Assistant Golf Professional. He takes over for Scott Adams, who left his position at San Juan Oaks to become the new head pro at Poppy Hills in Monterey.
“Poppy Hills is probably half a mile from Spyglass Hill, so it’s funny in a sense we traded locations,” said Jansen, a longtime Salinas resident who prepped at Palma High.
Jansen loves the camaraderie at San Juan Oaks, and he’s looking forward to building relationships with the regulars. He quickly found out the differences between working at Poppy Hills and San Juan Oaks are stark. At Spyglass Hill, Jansen rarely saw the same face in a given week, if ever.
At San Juan Oaks, Jansen has already seen the same person two or three times in his first week of work at the Hollister golf course.
“I’ll be able to get familiar with the members,” Jansen said. “I want to meet the regulars and have those deeper connections.”
Like most PGA professionals, Jansen had a plan to become a head pro. He didn’t see any head pro positions opening up at Spyglass Hill anytime soon, so he was more than happy to find the position at San Juan Oaks.
“It’s kind of the ultimate goal, and to be able to do that now is big for me,” the 39-year-old Jansen said.
A 2000 Fresno State graduate, Jansen didn’t play golf until he was 19 or 20. One day Jansen went to the course with a couple of his friends, and it didn’t take him long to get hooked on the game.
Within the first six months, Jansen got a job at Dragon Fly Golf Club in Fresno—“I was instantly bitten by the golf bug,” he said—and except for a brief stint selling insurance, Jansen has been working at a golf course the last 20 years. Every time something opened up, Jansen’s hard work put him in position to take the next step in his career.
“I started as a part-time marshall, and the timing was always on my side where every two or three years the next step up the ladder opened up,” he said. “And I put myself in position for promotions.”
Plenty of things drew Jansen to a career in golf; however, it was the atmosphere and the attitudes of the people that really resonated with him.
“The one thing that drew me to golf in the beginning was everyone was coming out for fun and leisure,” he said. “It’s fun to deal with people when they’re looking for a great time. When you’re dealing with people in that kind of a mood, working at a golf course is the best. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Manny Freitas, the director of golf at San Juan Oaks , no doubt was impressed with Jansen’s infectious attitude and personality during the interview process.
“He enjoys the excitement of a tournament day, the smile created during a lesson, and hopes to bring his years of experience and knowledge in a world class customer service environment to San Juan Oaks,” Freitas said in an email.
Jansen knew early on he had to put in long hours on the course to set himself up for a head pro position. Over the years, he pored over various materials to deepen his knowledge of the game, along with spending countless hours on the range honing his swing.
“I’m really into the game and study the game,” he said. “You put time into this, and good things will come out of it.”
Of that, there is no doubt.