Kyle Heyen’s long and distinguished career in the golf business makes him the perfect choice to receive the 2018 Warren Smith Award.
“It is a privilege to be recognized with the Warren Smith Award,” begins Heyen. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife, Cheryl, and I thank her for her continued support of me, my career and my passion for golf.”
“It has always been my goal to work to improve the golf world for the members of the Colorado Section without bringing my own agenda to the table. I have been blessed with a great circle of friends and colleagues and have worked with very supportive Executive Directors and PGA office staff to get me to where I am today. I am a believer in ‘It Takes a Village.'”
A Colorado native, Heyen fell in love with golf as a young teenager through his first position as a range boy at Highland Hills Golf Course in Westminster.
“That was one of the greatest summers of my life,” remembers Heyen. “I performed my duties as a range boy and played golf all day – what was there not to love? I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.”
After high school, Heyen got back into golf when he was introduced to the group at Indian Tree Golf Club in Arvada and started taking lessons from Vic Kline, PGA. It was at Indian Tree that he got into the apprenticeship program and then into the business school. After two seasons at Indian Tree, he worked a season at the Hyland Hills before landing at Hiwan Golf Club in December of 1980 as the Assistant Professional and then the Head Professional. Thirty-eight years later, Heyen still fondly calls Hiwan home.
“My resume is kind of a boring read as far as employment goes,” admits Heyen. “Hiwan has been a great place for me; what I get to do every day doesn’t feel like work to me. I get to be around a business that is a recreational activity to those I serve and I am honored to be a part of their leisure time.
“There are so many things that I have been blessed with over my life-time,” concludes Heyen. “I am blessed with great friends and lasting relationships. Thank you to everyone for believing in me over the years.”
What does it mean to you to receive the Warren Smith Award?
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to get to know Warren Smith a little bit and even got to play golf with him once at Hiwan. I also had the privilege of being in the audience when Smith was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame. What I most remember about him is that he had a way of making people feel comfortable, showing you his smile as he shook your hand.
With all that said, I am humbled to be the recipient of this award that is in recognition of someone I admire and who is acclaimed for his longevity and contribution to the industry, as well as for his outstanding service and leadership. My passion has been and continues to be working on the governance side of the industry and just being around the game of golf every day.
What do you believe are the qualities you possess that support your nomination for this award?
Dedication and hard work are important qualities to me. Also, we are in the customer service business where we work with many different personalities so I try to be consistent and to treat everyone the same. Warren Smith always had a saying that I’m going to paraphrase, “We all have our favorite members but despite that, it is our job to treat them all the same.”
Finally, having had the opportunity to be a part of the Section and the National governance, I have been around a lot of really smart individuals. I approach each committee and board meeting like learning experience and have the expectation that I will walk away with something new from each meeting.
What are some tools you use in your profession that you wish you had known when you were beginning your career?
Balancing your business and being able to multi-task. I think one thing that is important for individuals who are just getting started in the golf business to understand is that you need to have eyes all the way around. As you take care of one customer, you also need to be cognizant of what else is happening around you. Keeping a broad focus and balancing what’s on your plate are extremely helpful especially with the many hats we as golf professionals wear – running the shop, golf lessons, Jr. League and tournaments, to name a few.
As it relates to golf, what is the best piece of advice you have received and what advice would you give to others?
I think the best piece of advice I received was to treat everybody the same.
My advice to others would be to listen, work hard, be involved by rolling up your sleeves and be a great leader.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I think I would tell myself a couple things. The first would be to learn to be a good listener. Secondly, make it a goal to improve yourself every day; take advantage of each and every educational opportunity that comes your way as there is always more to learn.
What is your proudest moment as a golf professional?
As far as being a golf professional, my singularly proudest moment was the day I became the Head Golf Professional at Hiwan Golf Club. This answer is more difficult when I think about the events I have been involved with on the governance side of the business. I loved being Section President and found my time as a member of the Board of Directors of the PGA of America very enlightening.
Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
I am a Boss fan – Bruce Springsteen, that is.