Meet the Pelican Lakes Golf Course Team

Max Bigford | Head Golf Professional

Max initially started playing the game of golf as a competitive outlet, but he soon found that the sport turned into a passion.

"Golf is such a fantastic game because you can enjoy it for your entire life with people of all different backgrounds and abilities,” he said. “The best part of our jobs as golf professionals is introducing someone new and watching them fall in love with the game that has given us so much.”

Max’s golf journey began in northern Michigan at Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, MI when he spent summers working in the golf shop of one of the property’s five golf courses. During the winter months, Max worked in the resort’s ski rental and tuning shops.

In 2016, Max moved to Fort Collins to finish his degree at Colorado State University. During that time, he worked in the Mariana Butte Golf Course in Loveland. Three years later he took over the Outside Services Supervisor role at Ptarmigan Country Club before being promoted to First Assistant Golf Professional while pursing Class A PGA status.

Max is the head golf professional at Pelican Lakes and also coordinates and operates all external golf tournaments at RainDance National and Pelican Lakes.

Max is a native of St. Louis, MO and after high school attended Northwest Missouri State for two years on a baseball scholarship.

“If I am not on the golf course, you can find me on the river catching fish, or in the mountains on my snowboard,” he said.

Chris Williamson | Director of Instruction

Four months before RainDance National Resort & Golf opened to the public, The Water Valley Company introduced Chris Williamson as its Head PGA Golf Professional.

Nearly two years later, Chris has been promoted to the Director of Instruction for The Water Valley Company. He leads golf instruction across both golf courses - RainDance National and Pelican Lakes - and works alongside fellow teaching professionals in elevating the play of members and guests.

Chris took over operations at RainDance National after serving in the same capacity at the Eaton Country Club in Eaton, Colorado.

"I feel fortunate to have worked in a variety of contexts in the golf industry and am honored to join this family and bring those experiences to RainDance National and help introduce the world to this unbelievable property," said Williamson.

Prior to holding the role as the head pro at the Eaton Country Club, Chris was an assistant at two Fort Collins country clubs - Ptarmigan Country Club and Fort Collins Country Club - and also spent many years with Ping Golf. He arrives at RainDance National with a vast knowledge of teaching, merchandising, tournament/league operations, and management skills. "I am thrilled to have Chris be the first Head Golf Professional at RainDance National," said Matt Kantor, The Water Valley Company Director of Golf. "His skills, talents, and passion for the game as a PGA Professional will contribute immensely to the success of the new golf course."

Chris has been a PGA Member for over a decade and in 2020 became PGA Specialized in Teaching and Coaching, putting him in the top 5% of PGA Professionals in those fields. He has worked with hundreds of students the last few years from across Northern Colorado.

"Golf is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. I work hard to try and keep things simple and personalized for all types of players, helping everyone take their next step in this great game of golf."

Originally from Iowa, Chris and his wife Rachel have come to love Northern Colorado over the last decade. When free time allows, they can be found outdoors and usually are headed to explore the beauty of this region with their two children.

Jason Weizenegger | Golf Course Superintendent

Jason started at Pelican Lakes in the spring of 2007 as the Assistant Superintendent of the Falls.

He now takes care of the the entire 27-hole property.

Jason worked at Highland Meadows Golf Course as an Irrigation Tech during grow in and was promoted to 2nd assistant after two years.

When Jason is not at work, he enjoys playing golf with family and friends, and spending time with his wife Erika and daughters Madison and Rory.

Jeff Orr | Director of Agronomy

Jeff Orr is no stranger to Pelican Lakes, or RainDance National.

The Director of Agronomy of Pelican Lakes and RainDance National Golf Club has worked for the company since 2003 when he first joined the maintenance staff as a spray tech.

Jeff was fresh out of Colorado State University having completed his Bachelor's Degree in Landscape & Horticulture Technologies with an emphasis in Turf when he was hired at Pelican Lakes.

Jeff was born in Austin, Texas, and moved to Fort Collins in 1996 from Boca Raton, Florida to attend Fort Collins High School and CSU.

While in college Jeff worked on the maintenance staff at Boomerang Links in Greeley.

Jeff and his wife Cinda have two daughters, Allie and Collins, and when he's not working he enjoys playing golf, touring breweries and hanging out with the family.

Pepper | The Goose Chasin' Border Collie

Pepper the Goose Dog was born on a ranch in Utah and in her early years was trained as a cattle dog.

She then went to work with Tim Eubank's Denver-based Zero Geese company, and he fully trained her at her current occupation as a goose dog.

She started her career at Pelican Lakes in 2016 and since then has been running approximately 10 miles a day.

Several times a day, every day, Pepper sits shotgun in a cart with a golf course employee as they traverse the paths on our 27 holes.

She only exits the cart when geese do not vacate the turf, and that's when her hunting skills fully kick in.

When she's not goose chasing, Pepper is usually found behind the pro shop counter curled up in a ball, or begging to be pet.

The next time you're in the pro shop, welcome Pepper to the family.

She's by far our friendliest employee, and wins the Employee of the Month award, every month.

Kurt Hinkle | Director of Golf

Kurt Hinkle moved to Windsor in 1998 after he received a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado in news-editorial journalism.

His ties to Windsor date back to 1912 when his great-great-grandparents moved into the area from Grimm, Russia.

The native of Sterling, Colorado enjoyed a 10-year career as a reporter and editor of the Windsor Beacon newspaper and another five years serving as the general manager of the student-operated The Mirror newspaper at UNC before joining The Water Valley Company in 2014 as its Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and later as its Director of Communications.

In December of 2023, Kurt accepted the role as Director Golf and oversees the day-to-day operations of the pro shops and agronomy teams at RainDance National and Pelican Lakes. He also assists in the strategic planning of golf events and maintenance projects.

Kurt and wife Jill raised their college-aged son Carter in Water Valley and spend their leisure time playing golf, attending live music, skiing, traveling, and spending most weekends with friends and family.

"Since moving to Windsor in 1998, it's always felt like home," said Hinkle. "I've been immersed in The Water Valley Company's culture and vision for decades, which only enhances my desire to live, work and play in the Windsor area."

Matt Stephens | Assistant Director of Golf

Matt Stephens, the former Director of Memberships for the company who has golf management and leadership experience, was named the Assistant Director of Golf in December of 2023.

Prior to joining The Water Valley Company, Stephens spent eight years as a general manager with Arcis Golf, a company that owns and operates over 70 courses throughout the United States.

While with Arcis, Stephens oversaw operations at a variety of clubs including Park Hill Golf Course, White Bluff Resort, Onion Creek Club and LPGA International.

He also served on the Aurora Golf Advisory Board that assists with the vision and operation of the city’s 90 holes of golf.

“It’s a privilege to be part of such a wonderful company that has such a great vison,” said Stephens, who is also the founder and partner of Pyramid Putters, a successful golf equipment company. “We’re assembling a strong team and I’m confident that we will be able to help elevate the golf experience here at The Water Valley Company.”

Meet the Pelican Lakes Food & Beverage Team

James Warnock | Executive Chef

James Warnock grew up in Eagle Rock, California. His love of the culinary arts began as a small child when he would spend time cooking with his grandparents. James was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1999-2001, serving in San Francisco, New Jersey and New Orleans. James attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School and graduated in 2003. He moved to Colorado in 2006 and worked at the Doubletree Hotel in Grand Junction as the Executive Chef. In 2010, he began working at Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa. James started as the Executive Chef of Pelican Lakes in February 2019. In his free time, James spends time with his wife, Jenni, and their 3 children, Jayden, Rylee and Jaxen. They enjoy road trips, sporting events, and BBQing, and cooking for friends and family.

Aaron Minor | Executive Chef at The Grillhouse at Pelican Lakes

Aaron Minor grew up in Dallas, Texas. As a kid, instead of watching cartoons, he would watch cooking shows. His love of the culinary arts began at a young age. Aaron started as his culinary career as a dishwasher at Horseshoe Bay, Texas, where he quickly moved up the kitchen ladder. In 2001, he became a kitchen manager at a small Italian restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas. In 2004, Aaron moved to Southern California with his wife, Amanda, and started working at the Hilton in Ontario, California shortly after arriving. After the Hilton, Aaron took a job at the Doubletree Steakhouse, also in Ontario. Not too long after, Aaron became Sous Chef at The Sheraton in the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds and worked his way up to Chef De Cuisine. While at The Sheraton, Aaron was offered a promotion to Chef of the Los Angeles County Fair to oversee all concessions and restaurants on the Fairgrounds and was there for five years. Aaron's most recent position was the Chef de Cuisine for the Anaheim (California) Convention Center until 2020. Aaron recently moved to Colorado with his wife Amanda and their 2 kids, Megan and Aubrey. Aaron is, and always will be, a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan.

Steve Stoltz | Director of Restaurants & Bars

Steve Stoltz is a native of Western Central Pennsylvania where he grew up in a small coal mining town outside of Pittsburgh. After a few different jobs, he found his calling in the service industry. Over the past 20 years, he has spent time working with TGI Fridays, Hard Rock Café and most recently, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Steve has spent the last 16 years in Las Vegas, Nevada and Dallas, Texas before relocating to Windsor in 2020 with his wife and daughter Aurora Jane. They enjoy spending time with family, dining out, parks and BBQing.

Meet the Rest of the Pelican Lakes Sales & Marketing Team

Shannon Shafer | Director of Sales & Events

Shannon has been on the staff at Pelican Lakes since August 2010. The Colorado native manages all types of catering events, specializing in weddings. She has worked with weddings in various capacities for over a decade. Shannon loves the diversity of each couple, witnessing their big day come together, and showcasing their individuality as a couple. Shannon and husband Dave were married at Pelican Lakes in 2016. They welcomed their first child, a girl, in late 2018. They also have a pet hedgehog named Pepper. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching crime dramas and nature shows, baking, crafting and exploring Colorado.

Meet the Rest of the Pelican Lakes Administration Team

Kate O'Halloran | Membership Manager & Club Administrative Assistant

Kate O'Halloran was born and raised in Colorado and has been working in the service industry since she was 17. Kate attended the University of Northern Colorado and started at Pelican Lakes in 2013. She joined the management team in 2015. After several years working in the restaurant, Kate is the Club Administrative Assistant. Kate has one daughter and 3 dogs. She enjoys golfing, traveling, camping year-round and exploring the mountains.

Mandy Oberholzer | Executive Director of Adventure and Recreation

Mandy Oberholzer is an outdoor enthusiast who has a passion for adventure and making sure everyone around her is having fun and creating the most memorable experiences. She is looking forward to bringing awesome adventures to the Windsor area

Mandy was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, which is where she found her love for wildlife and the great outdoors. Mandy loves playing and watching sports, such as soccer, cricket, rugby, softball, basketball, baseball, and football, to name a few.

Before starting her career in the outdoor and hospitality industry, Mandy went to Central Michigan University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Administration with a concentration in Outdoor Recreation and a minor in Biology.

Mandy spent the last nine years working at the Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, located on the Western Slope of Colorado and owned by the founder of the Discovery Channel. She built the adventure world from the ground up as the Director of Resort Services by creating programs for corporate retreats and leisure guests, such as outdoor laser tag, Baja driving, rock climbing, UTVing, hiking, team building, driven car rentals, and so much more.

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