Making it better than ever
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – SentryWorld will play host to the 43rd U.S. Senior Open Championship in 2023. With less than a year to go before the national event, the Gazette will highlight visits with local and national officials to get a hard look inside the event and the Stevens Point company that will give it a home.
“We tremendously appreciate the confidence the USGA has given us and our plan is to exceed that by far. We live with that responsibility every day and remind ourselves the trust (the USGA) has given us,” Sentry chairman of the board, president, and CEO, Pete McPartland said of what he calls his “golf-centered company.”
“Golf started for us in 1982, when an eccentric chairman, who had my role at the time, wanted to do everything larger than life. If you look at our headquarters…it’s kind of larger than life. He created a golf course, and he wanted it to be a very good golf course. So, it opened in 1982, called SentryWorld, and we are credited with having ushered in destination golf in the state of Wisconsin – a forerunner of the Sand Valleys and Kohlers and others that followed. But, SentryWorld was credited with being the first destination golf course.
“It was a very good golf course; it won a lot of accolades. People came from all over.
“Fast forward, we had to decide in 2014-15 what to do with the golf course in terms of its renovation and where do we go with it from here.
“So, we decided that we would do one better than the Sentry chair that created the place. We would be more eccentric and indulgent with the golf course than even he was. So, we said ‘Let’s make it better than ever.’
“SentryWorld is owned by Sentry Insurance company and Sentry Insurance company indulges SentryWorld in every way possible, as far as the willingness to invest.
“The goal of the golf course is not to have the most rounds played, it’s not to maximize the number of potential rounds playing in a given year; it is to be as well of a maintained golf course as anyone can find and to maximize golfers of all levels of experience and enjoyment while on the course.
The course was remodeled in 2015, and Sentry opened up two restaurants, along with other renovations.
McPartland said the golf course remains a perfect complement to the company.
“I like to say that Sentry is the most golf-centered company out there that is not in the golf business. We are in the insurance business, but golf fits perfectly for us,” he said.
“The values of the game of golf match our own values, and it has to do with being fair, being honest, being respectful of competition, being respectful of people of lesser skill level or talents or (with) disadvantages, and it teaches life’s lessons.”
Read more in an upcoming edition of the Gazette.