For 23 years, Colorado-based professional golfer Shane Bertsch has toggled between the PGA and Web.com tours. But age and shoulder surgery have lately limited the Parker resident’s competitive starts. Of course, one of those starts came in last year’s CoBank Colorado Open, where the event’s 1998 champion showed he could still go low, finishing T3 at 18-under, only one shot out of the playoff with Dru Love and Sam Saunders.
An avid outdoorsman, Bertsch says he’s lately spent as much time honing his fly-fishing in Deckers as he has his ball-striking at Colorado Golf Club. So, with the PGA TOUR Champions still a year and a Q-School away, the 49-year-old Colorado native started casting for a way to share his twin passions with people who’d pay for it. He’s calling the concept “Golf on the Fly.”
He got a nibble when Telluride Ski and Golf Club CFO Bill Jensen invited him to spend June through Labor Day as Telluride’s PGA TOUR professional. “I joke that I’m the golf ambassador,” the affable Bertsch says. “Seriously, though, my first priority is to focus on sharing my golf knowledge and TOUR experience with the 500 members of the club.”
Bertsch will focus mainly on existing players, not beginners.
That entails providing individual and group instruction, playing lessons, chipping and putting classes and “other programming options”–one or more of which will likely involve a morning of golf and an afternoon of fly-fishing on the San Miguel, Dolores or Uncompahgre rivers. Bertsch is working with the club’s head PGA Professional D.J. Poland, who sees the angling component as an added membership benefit.
Another person interested in having Bertsch accompany his members on courses and along tailwaters is Jeff Potter, the president and CEO of Manifest Escapes, the luxury travel club that provides getaways for members who seek experiential travel options that are close to home.
“We’ve had some great discussions,” Bertsch says. “I think we can really branch this out and it could become more of a long-term thing.”
“Golf will be a key element of its offering with the significant interest of the vast majority of golfers who are active and seek other experiences,” Potter says. “Manifest has engaged Shane Bertsch to support the company’s efforts with golfers, and specifically the interest they have with other activities, such as fishing, which would be combined into specific trips.”
Those trips could certainly include Telluride—where this summer, Telluride members and guests at The Peaks Resort can take advantage of Bertsch’s golf expertise for $140 per hour.
This article appeared in the 2019 June Issue of Colorado AvidGolfer.
Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.