Kohler Co. Appoints Two Longtime Leaders within Golf Operations

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The promotions of Michael O’Reilly and Christopher Zugel exemplify the resort’s sustained commitment to world-class golf offerings

Kohler Co. is pleased to announce the promotions of longtime associates Michael O’Reilly to the newly created position of Manager, Golf Operations for Destination Kohler and Christopher Zugel to Certified Golf Course Superintendent – Straits course (one of the courses at the award-winning Whistling Straits). In their new positions, O’Reilly and Zugel will accrue increasing responsibilities and play pivotal roles driving growth of golf at Destination Kohler, the Midwest’s only the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star resort-hotel.

“We are thrilled to expand our golf operations leadership team with the appointments of Michael O’Reilly and Christopher Zugel,” says Dirk Willis, Group Director, Kohler Golf. “Both individuals have been driving forces in our program. Their knowledge, professionalism and contributions to the golf industry is remarkable and their continued growth furthers our mission to evolve the business while elevating the excellence of the golf offerings at Destination Kohler.”

Michael O’Reilly

Michael O’Reilly

As Manager, Golf Operations for Destination Kohler, O’Reilly will aid in driving growth in golf and on-course food and beverage operations at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. He will also oversee operations at the Kohler Swing Studio and serve on the Executive Committee of the 2020 Ryder Cup, overseeing six different operational committees for the event. It will mark the fifth major championship that he has been involved with. He held the Executive Vice-Chair of Player Services for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and the PGA Championships in 2004, 2010 and 2015.

O’Reilly has been the head golf professional for the past ten years at Whistling Straits, overseeing operations of the Straits and Irish courses. Before ascending to his current position he served as an assistant professional at both Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits.

O’Reilly was also recently honored earlier this year as The Wisconsin Section, PGA Golf Professional of the Year for his accomplishments. It is his second WPGA special award, as he was also recognized for his player development efforts in 2011. Off the course the Sheboygan resident serves his fellow PGA professionals as the secretary of the Wisconsin Section, PGA and will soon serve as the vise president then president. Outside of golf, O’Reilly is actively involved at Lakeshore Technical College, the Heartland Classic (American Cancer Society) and the Jimmy Lohr Golf Scholarship.

He is a native of Darien, Illinois and holds an undergraduate degree from Augustana College and an M.B.A. from Cardinal Stritch University. He resides in Sheboygan with his wife and two sons.

Christopher Zugel

Christopher Zugel

Zugel brings 17 years of experience at Kohler and will continue his career with the resort as Certified Golf Course Superintendent – Straits course. Over his longstanding tenure with the resort, Zugel has served in an array of roles within golf course maintenance, attaining a substantial increase in responsibilities with each position.

Zugel started his career with Kohler as part of the team working on final preparations on the Irish Course before it opened. He then worked as an assistant superintendent at The TPC at Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Florida. He later moved to Milwaukee and served as Field Manager for the Milwaukee Brewers and returned to Kohler in 2009 as the Superintendent-Straits Course. Zugel helmed the highly lauded golf course preparations for the 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships and looks to further enhance the world-class golfing experience at the resort with this new role.

Zugel earned a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Colorado State University and has met both certification testing requirements and on-course attesting established by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. He resides in Sheboygan with his wife and two children.


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