Kelly hired by Duncan group to run golf operations

RENO — Duncan Golf Management has named Joe Kelly to the position of director of golf operations.

Kelly comes to the job with 40 years of experience as a PGA golf professional in the Las Vegas area along with an impressive list of credentials including being an upcoming 2015 inductee into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.

Kelly has been with Walters Golf, a division of the Walters Group, in Las Vegas for the past 16 years. He was responsible for golf operations at all Walters owned and operated courses including Bali Hai Golf Club, Desert Pines Golf Course and Royal Links Golf Club.

Duncan Golf Management, headed by owner/CEO Tom Duncan, owns Lakeridge Golf Course and Wolf Run Golf Club in Reno and Dayton Valley Golf Club in Dayton. The company also manages golf operations at Fallon Golf Course in Fallon and Tahoe City Golf Course in Tahoe City, Calif.

“I have had a relationship with the Duncan family, especially Tom, for over 30 years and I’ve come to respect him a great deal as a golf course owner/operator,” explained Kelly on why he accepted the position. “It is very exciting to be a part of a company that is growing and vibrant.”

Duncan and Kelly have teamed-up to take on the challenge of expanding a successful golf management company in what is generally considered a difficult time in a slow-growth golf industry.

“Everyone who comes into the golf business sets goals and objectives,” explained Duncan. “Mine was to own a golf course and Joe’s was to be the best club pro in the country and we have both achieved our goals. Now together, we look forward to achieving greater goals for our company and golf in Northern Nevada.”

Kelly will go into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in June of 2015 along with boxer Mike Tyson, former UNLV and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Glen Carano of the Eldorado Reno Resort Casino family and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch.

“I think I am primarily being recognized by the Hall of Fame for my contributions to junior golf in Las Vegas,” said Kelly, who 35 years ago started the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association, now the First Tee of Southern Nevada.

“It’s a great honor and I am especially humbled that it comes as a result of helping young golfers and promoting the growth of the game.”

Kelly was also inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame in 2010 for the impact he had on the growth of golf in Las Vegas and helping Nevada’s largest metropolitan area become a major golf destination. He started his career as a PGA club professional in 1978 at the Desert Inn Golf Course in Las Vegas. From there he helped open Paradise Valley Country Club and then spent eight years at Las Vegas Country Club. Kelly moved on to Sunrise Country Club that was acquired by Walters Golf and renamed Stallion Mountain Country Club and thus began his relationship with the infamous Bill Walters.

Along the way Kelly has been honored with many awards and accolades including Golf Professional of the Year six times by the Las Vegas PGA Chapter and Southern Nevada Golf Association; listed in Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Golf Shops in the United States” three times; 2002 Merchandiser of the Year in the PGA Southwest Section and Junior Golf Promoter in the PGA Southwest Section three times.

Kelly also was responsible for helping to create the Professional Golf Management curriculum and program at UNLV. He is currently on the advisory staff that helps coordinate the program through the Professional Golfers Association of America.

Duncan also has ties to college golf, having served as men’s golf coach for the University of Nevada from 1994–2004. He also played baseball for the Wolf Pack from 1970-72 before becoming a golf professional.

After learning his craft as an assistant under head golf professional Bob Boldt at Walnut Creek Municipal (now Boundary Oaks) in Walnut Creek, Calif., Duncan became Head Golf Professional and Director of Golf at Eagle Valley Golf Course in Carson City. He then moved on to Dayton Valley Country Club in 1991 and while there began coaching the Wolf Pack. He acquired ownership of Wolf Run Golf Club in Reno in 2005. Since then, the company has grown into a burgeoning family business.

Tom’s son T.J. Duncan is vice president. He was named a high school All-American golfer for Carson High in Carson City. He played college golf for the Nevada Wolf Pack before transferring to the University of Oregon. He was captain of the Ducks’ golf team and graduated with a degree in political science. Since college T.J. has competed as a professional on several mini-tours and PGA Tour qualifying tournaments.


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