At Kissing Tree, we take golf very seriously, and we’re thrilled to have Steve Shields, PGA, onboard as our new General Manager of the Kissing Tree Golf Club. Though he hails from Iowa, Steve has been in Texas for more than 40 years, and he’s thrilled to be helping to grow the Kissing Tree community. We got Steve on the phone recently to find out what clubs he plays, what his plans are at KT, and what he does when he’s not on the golf course. Read on for the full story.
KT: Steve! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today! Let’s start with the basics—where are you from?
SS: I grew up in Iowa. I’ve had a couple of jobs outside of Texas, but all in all I’ve been in Texas for over 40 years! My prior job was at La Cantera, in San Antonio. I’ve been with Troon for about 18 years.
KT: Oh wow! And Troon manages the Kissing Tree Golf Course, too?
SS: Yes. They’re the largest golf management company in the world. It helps from an efficiency standpoint for buying power, and there are procedures and best practices that happen at all Troon facilities. It’s a great company.
KT: So, what do you think about Kissing Tree?
SS: It’s a beautiful place with a great golf course; it’s perfect for the community we’re in. As for the community itself, it’s laid out so well, and there are so many activities. Before Covid, it was so cool to see what everyone was doing—there were always people playing bocce ball and pickleball, or enjoying the biergarden. It’s a family type of environment, and everyone is so active and enjoying the outside.
KT: Isn’t it just the best? The people here are so amazing.
SS: In the end, it’s the people that matter the most. The people are going to make it a good community. With the combo of people and amenities at Kissing Tree, it would be hard not to have a good time living here.
KT: How are things going from a golf perspective? What are your goals?
SS: We’re trying to tighten up procedures and become more efficient. We’re continuing to look at ways to manicure and maintain the course. We’ve still got a lot of residential construction going on, so there are some challenges that go with that in terms of getting carts around. But it’s nothing unexpected; it’s all part of watching the community grow. The thing that’s so cool is that it’s such a well-laid out golf course; it’s very playable. And there are some pretty stunning views when you get out there and look off in the distance!
KT: So is the course open now?
SS: Yes, the whole course is open, and we’re getting quite a bit of play right now. We’re following strict cleaning and sterilization guidelines that have come down from the CDC and the Governor.
KT: Is it only for residents, or is the course open to the public?
SS: The public can play as well. Residents and our annual pass holders have a longer booking window—they can book 2 weeks out. The general public can only book 7 days out.
KT: What are you working on for the future?
SS: We’re in creativity mode right now! We’re working on the tournament schedule to expand activities for residents. We’ll have some traditional events, like men’s and women’s club championships, as well as some smaller 9-hole events. We want to give people a chance to get out and meet residents they haven’t met yet and to play with new people—fun things like that. We’re also looking at some lesson clinics and rules clinics. Our goal is to fulfill all of their golf needs.
KT: So what do you do for fun when you’re not playing golf?
SS: I love to cook on the grill and use the smoker. I’ll spend a Sunday afternoon smoking a brisket or ribs—something that takes like 5-7 hours to do. I really enjoy that type of thing. It’s relaxing.
KT: Yum! Are you married? Do you have kids or pets?
SS: No pets. I’ve been married to my wife, Julie, for almost 37 years. We have two grown daughters who are married and live in San Antonio, which is where we live, and we have three grandchildren. We’re really close with all of them, and we see them a lot.
KT: Awww! Do they golf?
SS: Julie and the girls don’t play golf. My oldest grandson is only 5, but I’ve already had him out at least a dozen times. We all get a kick out of it, and it’s fun to see his excitement around it.
KT: That’s wonderful! What clubs do you play?
SS: I play Callaways.
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity.