Siena Golf Club Class A PGA of America Golf Instructor Kim Dolan will celebrate 40 years of teaching this September. Dolan has been at Siena for 20 years and confirmed he is never retiring. He also has a wish for golfers: make having fun the main goal.
“If you go out there thinking this game is fun, you are going to have fun,” Dolan said.
Dolan believes that most golfers walk off the course frustrated and do not enjoy the journey of golf. A simple way to inject more enjoyment is to move up a tee box or two, a philosophy that mirrors the USGA’s “Play It Forward” campaign.
“Golf is tough, and I think we should do what they do in Europe,” said Dolan, who just returned from a golf trip to Scotland. “They don’t play from the back tees in Europe. The golf pro has to give a player a card and they have like a 100-yard tee, 150-yard tee, 200-yard tee, and so on. Until you can break 50 for a nine from each, you can’t move back. To me, that is smart and it is almost guaranteed that golfers will have more fun if they play the proper tees. Leave the ego in the bag. I see golfers all the time saying, ‘We’re playing from the tips today.’ They have no business back there. Move up, shoot a better score, have more fun.”
A lunch conversation with longtime friend Tommy Armour III immediately after he fired a 60 in the PGA Tour’s 1999 Las Vegas Invitational reinforced how everyday golfers should amend their golf mindsets. More fun will ensue when the mind is open to the good things.
“Me and about five other guys went and had lunch with Tommy after that great round and all they kept saying was, “Geez, you missed that five-footer on eight and you missed that seven-footer on 12,’” Dolan said. “Finally, Tommy said, ‘Look, I holed one out of a bunker. I chipped in once. And I made three 40 footers. I can’t make all of them.’ That mindset of looking at the positives stuck with me.”
Dolan was a 2019 Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame inductee and has made a mark as a player and teacher. He won the 1978 SNGA Las Vegas City Amateur and the Southern Nevada Amateur in 1978-79. As a professional, he has won more than 120 club tournaments and in 2005 was the Southern Nevada PGA Chapter regular and senior division player of the year. He also qualified for the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Senior Open tournaments.
Dolan got his teaching start at Las Vegas Golf Club, back when it was still known as Las Vegas Municipal Golf Club. On the range back with him back in “Muni’s” heyday were fellow instructors Jerry Belt, Jimmie Bullard and Dana Love. In a move Dolan still doesn’t understand, the four were abruptly asked to leave by club management and went their separate ways, taking most of their clientele with them.
After a brief stint at the now defunct Craig Ranch Golf Club, Dolan found a perfect match at Siena, where he works for former United States Marine Thom Blinkinsop and general manager Tony Lenzie.
“I couldn’t have walked into a better position and it was the best move I ever made,” Dolan said. “We all get along and they help me and I also keep an eye on things for them. But if you saw how they talked to me, you would think they hated me because we tease each other constantly. I think it is a mutual respect. We have a nice course and great practice range. It has been a wonderful 20 years that has flown by.”
Dolan has been fortunate to work with many top young golfers in the area including Stephanie Louden (Keever) who went on to play at Stanford and on the LPGA Tour. Others played in high school and college. He also works with all levels of players and will continue to do so well into the future.
“I have been very lucky to work with so many great, young players and others over the years,” Dolan said. “I got into teaching at the right time. I urge any golfer to find a pro they mesh with and take lessons. People don’t think they need lessons, especially Mothers or Fathers who think they can teach their kids because they have watched YouTube videos. I don’t think they can and it is hard on the kids. I don’t care what pro you go to, but go to a pro. That is what they do for a living. They can tell you and show you things that make sense and help you have more fun.”
Dolan can be reached at 702-808-8126. To tee it up at Siena visit sienagolfclub.com. Siena is the sister course to the Arroyo at Red Rock and Red Rock Country Club.