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Memorial Tournament: Muirfield Head Pro Dornisch Follows In Father’s Footsteps



Photo credit: Muirfield Village Golf Club

DUBLIN, Ohio — As Muirfield Village Golf Club enjoys its 50th anniversary this year, it does so with just three head golf professionals in its history.

The third has a name many within its walls and even those on the PGA Tour recognize.

Peter Dornisch assumed the position in November and his father Larry is the director of golf, having been with the club for the last 28 years.

Now, the younger Dornisch will have the opportunity to lead a staff for the first time with this week’s Memorial Tournament.

“I have a really unique perspective being around this place for the last 28 years, not directly some years, I came back to work the Memorial, some years I didn’t,” Peter Dornisch remarked. “I feel like I’ve always been in touch with this place, this is where I grew up working.

“It’s been a really good place to learn the golf course, learn about the Memorial Tournament, home my skills as a golf professional and it’s exciting to be back in charge leading my own team.”

Some of the lessons Dornisch has taken from his father is to build a good team and respect your staff. If that respect is given to everyone around him, then he knows that will be returned tenfold.

“There’s so much knowledge amongst the employees that are here, it’s just about working as a team together to achieve the Memorial Tournament,” offered Dornisch. “Throughout the year putting Muirfield Village Golf Club’s best foot forward for the membership, it’s a great place to be. We know the golf course is difficult but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the walk around it.”

While Dornisch acknowledged some pressure, he also alluded to Billie Jean King’s principle of pressure being a privilege.

One of the biggest challenges can be the long hours his job provides, but those are both answered and filled with diligent planning and a relentless willingness to ask questions. It’s all in an effort to consider patrons attending the Memorial Tournament, whether members or guests.

While standing inside Muirfield Village Golf Club’s Mixed Grill, Dornisch outlined hiring staff and getting both clubhouse and merchandising venues ready to bring on patrons.

There, Dornisch seeks to partner with vendors who can produce a quality product which can be delivered on time, something which has been a problem in the past.

Inventory and getting products through port has been a challenge, especially in these last couple of years.

This year, Dornisch affirmed that his team is in a good spot, with product received and tagged earlier than ever. As a result, fans can come into multiple merchandising areas on property and see brands including Greyson, Travis Mathew, Under Armour and Adidas among others.

“When we have all of the patrons on property for the Memorial, they’re all here to have a good time, and we’re here to facilitate that,” Dornisch maintained.

Dornisch has also been part of the effort of celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary, utilizing pictures and reflection on the course’s history.

Though the routing is fairly similar to what it first was, the old first tee is actually on the current sixth hole.

Fifty years ago, Jack Nicklaus built the golf course around what essentially served as a hunting property and the surrounding area has become the Dublin, Ohio community — a group which has supported the Memorial Tournament, and everything built up around it.

All of it provides perspective both on how far everything has come, but also a glance in the future and what Muirfield Golf Club can continue to be.

In terms of favorite holes, Dornisch cannot help but smile when he steps to the par-4 14th hole, featuring a green guarded by water, which then leads into the final par-5 on the course.

As he described it, the hole requires two strategic shots, with a target tee ball flying 220-230 off the tee, the equivalent of a long iron for a tour pro. The second shot requires precision on a hole Dornisch feels truly starts the back nine.

Dornisch is still searching for what has proven to be an elusive hole-in-one, but he scared the pin on the infamous par-3 12th hole.

He was actually serving as a caddie and the gentleman whose clubs he was carrying was “too lazy to get out of the golf shot” so instead, Dornisch hit the tee ball, which hung on the hole.

Another highlight was playing with Nicklaus, one of the few times he has done so, and on the third hole, stuck his second shot to eight feet after both had their drives land in close proximity to each other. Nicklaus responded in turn by getting his shot to stop to about two feet.

Family brought Dornisch to Muirfield Village Golf Club, for his first year and the course’s 50th. This is a fact which was not lost on him and something which brought a smile to his face.

“It’s really cool to follow in my father’s footsteps after 28 years,” concluded Dornisch. “He’s really set the stonework for me to succeed. I’ve been left with a really good operation, and just looking forward to continuing to innovate our customer service, really take it to the next level. It’s been a pretty seamless transition learning from his over the years.

“I had a lot of perspective around this place the last 28 years working in different departments, but I will be seeing my first Memorial Tournament at the top, so it’s really exciting.”

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