Shining Mountain Golf Pro “Living the Dream”

New links role part of new direction for popular course

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

How do you balance gigs as a computer nerd, IT specialist and mini-loan advisor with a lifelong love for the links?

And in the process, how do you trade W-2 and personal income analysis’ for sinking birdie putts and fixing God-awful golf swings.

That’s the dilemma Matthew Misel faced, who finally opted to take the big gamble after years of corporate America by heading to Arizona to attend and become a graduate of one of their top-rate Golf Academy America schools. This helped pave the way for a career in the golf industry. 

As a result, he has become the first on-site certified golf pro, featured at Woodland Park’s Shining Mountain Golf Course and Event Center, in many years. “I am living the dream,” admitted Misel, in a recent interview with TMJ News. With his new job, he also got a chance to return to the Pikes Peak area and to play and teach at the golf course closest to America’s greatest mountain. “This was really like a homecoming for me,” he added.

Besides working as a golf pro for Shining Mountain, Misel helps run tournaments and man the pro shop.

He admitted golf was in his DNA from a young teenager. He also classifies himself as a certified computer nerd, and worked with such companies as AT&T and T – Mobile, and even did employment stints with Wells Fargo as a home equity processor.

“I always dreamed about playing golf when I was working at my day jobs,” said Misel   

He quipped that he is a computer nerd transformed into a golf junkie

 Misel got his first chance to work at a golf course, at Pine Creek in Colorado Springs, where he first met Jeff Esterline, the current general manager of Shining Mountain. Esterline encouraged him to follow his passion and take a stint at the Golf Academy.

He finally took the Shining Mountain GM’s advice, following an unusual golf outing in which he found a ball that symbolically directed him to Arizona.

“I didn’t really have a career,” said Misel, who also admitted a case of burn-out with the corporate world. “I felt this would give me a good opportunity.”  

Misel, who lives in Colorado Springs, where he spent much time as a teen, hasn’t regretted his decision. He also works part-time at an Apple computer store.  

His new position at Shining Mountain has given the course an extra ace card it rarely displayed in the past. Shining Mountain often had golf teaching consultants, but didn’t really feature an on-site PGA certified professional.  

“We really feel we have taken Shining Mountain to the next level as a golf course environment,” said Misel.

Misel offers  private and group lessons, along with playing lessons. Recently, a junior camp, which he helped orchestrate, was a big hit, with the course’s chipping and practice facilities jammed with youngsters. Misel, also is a familiar face in the pro shop, and even likes working with students from the high school golf team.  He predicts the WP Panther linksters are going to repeat as league champs again.  

Golf by Misel

As for his teaching philosophy, the Shining Mountain pro says, “I try to keep it simple.  I work with what you have. Everyone has a unique swing. There is no such thing as a perfect swing. I say, ‘swing your swing. I don’t want players to think too much (on the course).”   

Golf is an odd game with booming changes. In recent years, pro tour players, courtesy of new equipment and balls, now hit 350-plus-yard drives; boast of record-breaking swing speeds to the extent that some old-time greats, including the likes of Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus, are demanding a time to put on the brakes. In fact, some insiders attribute the injuries experienced by Tiger Woods and other top players to the modern technology and the nuances of today’s swing. 

But for amateurs and weekend hackers, few strives have occurred in the quest for lower golf scores, even with better equipment.

“It is an awkward s(swing) motion,” admitted Misel, who discourages prospective players from trying to discover a quick fix.  

He highly encourages regular players to get fitted for clubs and for the type of balls they should use. “That really makes a big difference,” said the Shining Mountain pro. In addition, Misel is a stickler about having a good grip and following basic fundamentals.  

His main area of forte, though, is the short game, a part of the sport he loves because of the artistry involved. “I just love the creativity of this part of the game,” said Misel. He is a big fan of Phil Mickelson, the popular lefty star, who is especially known for his magic touch around the greens. The familiar televised shot of Michelson hitting a short loft chip over the head of a person, four feet from him, is a classic image.

MIsel can’t make any guarantees of  mimicking the” amazing Phil,” but he promises that work on a golfer’s short game is a sure way to improvement and lowering your golf score.

As for future plans, he says Shining Mountain is wide open for suggestions regarding future lesson and playing opportunities. “The great thing about golf is that it is a lifelong game. We are willing to do anything here from having date and couple nights, to single nights,” explained the Shining Mountain pro.

As for future success in taming the Shining Mountain links, Misel has a few solid words of advice: “Hit it where we mow the grass.”

For more information about lessons with Matthew Misel at Shining Mountain, call 719-687-7587.