A Job Well Done – Retirement for One of Our Own
by Rob Krieger
Beginning January 1, 2017, Randy Tickner, one of our community leaders, is retired. He turned over the reins of the Oasis GC where he has been Director of Operation Since 2001.
Who would have thought that an innocent hunting trip to Mesquite would have such an impact on a person, golf club, and community? In the late 80’s Randy came to Mesquite, Nevada for a hunting trip. This “oasis in the desert,” as he called it, left such an impression on him that when a job opportunity came up years later, he wanted to return. 18 years later, his work is finally done.
In 1998, he was working for OB Sports (a golf management company) when they were contracted to manage Si Redd’s private golf club (Oasis GC) in Mesquite as it navigated through many issues the new course was encountering. He had spent the last eight years being the Superintendent of Construction and Director of Golf at Stevinson Ranch in California, which won “Best New Public Course” in 1993. With his background as a golf course superintendent and as an awarded PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 1987 & 88, he was the perfect fit for course.
With his wealth of knowledge and experience, in 2001, it was time to jettison OB Sports. He took full control of Oasis GC and he began to independently manage the club that was originally set up for members only and now needed to attract outside play so it could support itself and thrive.
A priority was to rework the course as it was perceived as being too difficult, so forced carries were shortened, landing and bail out areas widened, and bunkers removed, which took four to five years to complete. Also, a 29,000 sq. ft. clubhouse needed to be built, due to a location change, which required the first hole on the Palmer course to be redesigned from a 500-yard par 5 down to a 356-yard par 4.
Tasked with attracting more business to Mesquite and Oasis, he was instrumental in the creation of the Golf Mesquite Nevada Co-Op which included the golf courses, hotels, and casinos marketing Mesquite as a destination for golf. This cooperation between competing businesses was unprecedented in the industry and now is the model which other destinations try to emulate. Brian Wursten, Director of Golf for Mesquite Gaming, says “Randy was able to create a synergy between everyone…that is very rare.” Randy says, “The premise behind Golf Mesquite Nevada was to have people stay for more than just one or two days, so we all worked together to provide the three day package and we were lucky, it worked.” I was the Director of Golf at Conestoga when it opened in 2009, and spoke to Randy about our new course joining the marketing group. He told me, “People come to Mesquite for multiple days and instead of one course taking the whole pie, everyone shares in a piece of it so we all benefit and that’s why it has been so successful.” I was shocked by that level of cooperation and cohesion among competitors.
When it comes to bringing in outsiders to play our courses, Golf Mesquite Nevada and all the golf sales people in town have done well, but that left the locals with higher priced golf. Another program Randy was instrumental in with Wursten was the Golf Mesquite Pass. It allows the locals to get discounted greens fees on local courses throughout the year. Brian said, “He has done so much to help the locals because he knows how important they are to us throughout the entire year. It is another successful program driven by Randy.”
From 2005-2008 Mesquite golf was booming and Oasis was preparing for expansion by building another nine holes. Then came 2009-2012 and everything changed from expansion mode to budget watching. Finally, the club is moving forward again and regaining so much of the business and members which were lost during those tough years.
One of the biggest challenges over his career has been dealing with water, the lifeline of a golf course. Mesquite golf courses have provided millions of dollars of economic impact to the city and brown golf courses do not attract visitors or home buyers to live and retire here. Randy again played a key role in working with the county, city, and Virgin Valley Water District to ensure that 75 water rights shares that were being sold, were kept here for the golf courses and not sold to Las Vegas.
When I asked Randy what he will miss and what will he do, he said “I will miss the day to day action and solving problems. I also love to grow grass. I enjoy getting up early and smelling the fresh cut grass. It brings peace of mind. I will take a few months off just to reflect, travel the U.S. without my clubs and then fish, golf more, teach, and maybe hop on a mower and just cut some grass. It’s been a successful grind with great staff and help from so many others to get so much done. I wouldn’t trade any of it.”
Randy’s Career Highlights
- Texas A&M Golf Team
- PGA Golf Professional – since 1977, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America- since 1992
- Southwest Section PGA Las Vegas Chapter President & Board Member
- Superintendent Legacy GC in Las Vegas, Head Professional at Pinewood CC & Black Mountain GC.
- Golf Professional of the Year for Las Vegas Chapter & Southern Nevada Golf Association
- Superintendent of Construction and Head Professional Stevinson Ranch GC
- President of both the Southern Nevada & Virgin Valley Junior Golf Association
- Las Vegas Chapter Senior Champion
“Randy is multifaceted as a Golf Pro, Superintendent, in Marketing, in City Relations and in so much more that many have no idea. He is going to be missed a lot!” – Brian Wursten
Best of luck to Randy as he begins enjoying the fruits of his labor, and from fellow colleagues and community members we thank him for all he has done for golf and the community.
Congratulations on a job well done!