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Lieber finds a home at Jackson Hole

BY DON HOHLER • Sep 26, 2016 at 6:30 PM

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Answering an on-line recruiting application from the posh Jackson Hole (Wyoming) Tennis and Golf Club two months before he graduated from The University of Findlay gave the two-time Eagle Creek golf champion Dustin Lieber both the chance and the challenge of a lifetime.

“It didn’t start that well as both the second and third interviews with them over the phone caught me on the course playing in golf tournaments,” Lieber explained. “But, all I needed to hear was “come on out and go to work” because I had seen what a beautiful area that part of the country is.”

Lieber can’t believe how much trust Course Superintendent Jeff Jensen has given him since he arrived in May.”

“He told me when I started that I was going to do a lot more than what he did when he started maintenance work.

“What a boss,” Lieber claimed. “He never screams when I do something wrong. Rather, he calmly tells me how to do it the right way. He is a person you truly want to do a good job for.”

And Lieber admits he pleasantly surprised at the leeway he is being given, especially in the area of running equipment.

“I have been out with just about every piece of equipment from the maintenance barn,” he believed. “Naturally there are breakdowns and when you are out on the course, you do your best to find the problem and put a fix on it.

“Working on the irrigation system is something I would have never dreamed of doing and believe me finding and fixing problems in that area can be a true challenge. You learn to navigate through them though and get things back on line,” he offered.

Jensen hopes Lieber will make the decision to return in April of 2017 but in talking with the college graduate, he believed he (Lieber) would more than likely head south for his next job and see exactly the opposite climate from what is expected at Jackson Hole in six weeks—a winter wonderland.

Jensen sees Lieber as truly an impressive young man who right now is keeping an open mind on just what area of golf he wants to take a crack at, playing the game, course maintenance, or heading up a pro shop.

But, if Lieber wanted a climate that is anything like he has ever been associated with before, he found it at Jackson Hole. There are only 30 to 40 frost-free mornings per year on a course that closes in mid-October. The leaf colors there are already golden and once it starts to snow, the ground stays covered for months. The golf staff is reduced to three people as the area turns into a winter sports mecca.

“And Jeff is correct as far as what avenue I want to explore as far in world of golf,” Lieber, who has degrees in science and sports management, admitted. “I know I can play the game at a fairly high level but that’s a tough racket and I can still play while I am doing something else associated with the game. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I do now. I work my hours and many times head for the first tee.”

And Lieber proved last week he still has game.

The County Championship (Teton County) was open to anyone who had the $120 entry fee. It was a two day tournament played over two courses.

“We played the first day on our course and I shot one of the worst rounds I ever shot here, a 79,” he explained. “That put me five back when we went to Teton Pines for the final 18. But, when I saw the weather coming in that included 35-MPH winds, I told myself anything can happen, plus I was used to playing in high winds.”

As it turned out, Lieber conquered Teton Pines better than anyone even though his card showed two triples and a double bogey.

“I just kept on working because I knew there were a lot of big numbers from everyone being taken,” Lieber believed. “I made the shot of the tournament on 14, running in a 70-foot putt for eagle and then chipped one in for birdie on 17. I parred 18 to win by a stroke.”

Will Lieber go back to Jackson Hole and defend his title next year?

“Jeff told me to apply for a full-time job, a Crew Foreman position, that will be coming open,” Lieber explained. “Applying for that job I probably won’t do because my long-range plan is to check out some other areas of the country. But, I probably would go back if asked; working the same way I worked this summer. I still have a lot to learn and there is no way I can learn under a better boss.”

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