U.S. Open: Like the club, Winged Foot general manager is always evolving

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — There are perks that come with the job, but Colin Burns rarely ventures down the meandering stairs to play the historic courses outside his office window at Winged Foot Golf Club.

It’s the quiet breakfasts with staff, the conversations with longtime members about new dining spots and the detailed tours of a historic clubhouse with flabbergasted guests that inspire the iconic club’s longtime general manager.

And the sight of parents and children hustling to squeeze in a few holes before the sunlight fades brings each long day to a fitting end.

“It’s so special to watch that,” Burns said. “I’ve witnessed so many families evolve. I’ve seen kids grow up and get married here then have their own children. That part of the job never gets old.

“Golf is at the heart of everything we do here. This is a fun membership. We all work to be welcoming and want to make sure there is nothing stuffy about the member or guest experience. Winged Foot continues to be a place where men and women play the game, practice the game and introduce their children to the game. It’s very special in that regard.”

The 61-year-old New Jersey native is comfortable in any setting, any conversation.

Burns enjoys some of the finer things in life and openly shares frequent excursions on social media, but he is also enthusiastic about Taylor Hams.

“This is really in his blood,” Winged Foot president Brendan Boyle said. “What makes Colin so great is a wonderful sense of service, a true dedication to his job. We see Winged Foot as an extended family, we’re very social and Colin helps engender all of that. He does a terrific job with the staff, which is great from top to bottom. And he’s got a great love for the history of the place. So many of the members are multi-generational. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and Colin has got a wonderful personality and management skills that glues everything together.”

When the USGA reached out in 2012 to mend the proverbial fences and inquire about coming back to Winged Foot to play a sixth U.S. Open, it was Burns who answered the phone.

Burns was raised in Clifton and spent a good portion of his childhood peeling shrimp for guests at the family’s restaurant.

“Everyone back then knew about Burns Country Inn,” he said. “Elizabeth Taylor would visit along with Richard Burton. It was considered the country back then. It was a straight shot, maybe half an hour from New York City.”

Bruce Willis had a job there while attending Montclair State.

That experience opened doors and Burns was hired as the general manager at Plandome Country Club in Manhasset at the age of 28.

“Our membership came mostly from Queens and was very, very Irish Catholic,” he said. “That was a great group of people. There were some members from Winged Foot who used to visit the

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By: Todd Kelly
Title: U.S. Open: Like the club, Winged Foot general manager is always evolving
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/09/16/u-s-open-like-the-club-winged-foot-general-manager-is-always-evolving/
Published Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 12:00:42 +0000

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