Stephen T. Harker
Chief Executive Officer, PGA ProfessionalRead Bio
Stephen T. Harker
Steve Harker has over 25 years of professional experience in the golf course industry. Mr. Harker has completed numerous problem-solving and complex revenue management assignments during the tenure of his career in the golf business. Mr. Harker's direct roles have included progressively increased golf course management duties culminating in regional golf course management positions with as many as 28 courses under his administration. In addition, Mr. Harker served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and National Sales Director for American Golf Corporation, the largest golf course operator in the world at that time. Mr. Harker is a Class A Member of the Professional Golfers' Association of America, an Emeritus Director of the First Tee of Oakland, a past member of the Employment Task Force of the PGA, and a Past Member of the Board of Governors of the National Golf Foundation. Mr. Harker has also been elected to the Albany High School Athletic Hall of Fame twice, once for his role on the 1973 Championship Golf Team and recently for restarting the golf program. Mr. Harker’s community-focused approach and experience is substantial including his initiation of the Women in Golf Day, that grew into a month long event adopted by Play Golf America.
During his 25 year career in the golf industry, Mark Luthman has held a variety of management and leadership roles including Superintendent, General Manager, and regional administration of multiple golf facilities. Mr. Luthman has led operations with Touchstone Golf since 2009. Prior to joining Touchstone Golf he was a Regional Director with oversight of ten premier golf courses and responsible for the planning, pre-opening, and operations efforts at three properties including Chambers Bay - the facility selected by the USGA to the host of the 2010 U.S. Amateur & 2015 U.S. Open Championships. Mr. Luthman's wide-ranging background has provided him extensive experience in the areas of revenue management, sales & marketing, guest retention, staff recruiting & training, and golf course maintenance.
Douglas J. Harker
Executive Vice PresidentRead Bio
Douglas J. Harker
Doug Harker is a veteran financial professional having served for over 20 years in the financial service industry in a variety of roles including CEO of a community bank. Mr. Harker has significant direct golf industry experience having served as Vice President of Sales for Redstone Golf Management and as General Manager of Wildcat Golf Club in Houston, Texas. Mr. Harker has also served in various board and committee assignments for the Houston Golf Association, Southern Texas Golf Association and United States Golf Association.
Senior Vice President of OperationsRead Bio
Brian Melody began his career in the golf industry at the young age of 14 and never left. He enjoyed competing as a player at various levels growing up and entered into operations when he moved to Denver, CO in 1999. Mr. Melody, a 12-year veteran of Touchstone Golf, has served many roles, from General Manager at Applewood Golf Course and Regional Manager overseeing the Colorado and Arizona regions. As VP of Operations, he oversees 12 properties across multiple states. Brian also heads up the National Account program for our company and brings great experience and new ideas to the company on a regular basis. Another contribution of his is the ability to mold/mentor new managers that are looking to grow their careers in the golf industry.
Vice President of Operations - Northern California RegionRead Bio
James Birchall is Vice President of Operations for Touchstone Golf. James was born and raised in the Bay Area where he attended San Jose State University. His interest in golf began in high school when his father hosted a golf tournament at Rancho Solano Golf Course. The first job James held was at Rancho Solano working as a server in the restaurant. While attending San Jose State, James worked for American Golf as a banquet captain at Summitpointe Golf Course in Milpitas. Upon completing his degree in Computer Science, James was promoted to Assistant General Manager at Monarch Bay Golf Club in San Leandro and within a year became the General Manager at Franklin Canyon Golf Course in Hercules. In 2007 James joined Touchstone Golf as the General Manager of Lake Chabot Golf Course and Special Projects for Touchstone. James initiated numerous projects to support the growth of Touchstone Golf and improve the performance of the golf course staff, including the launch of a company-wide Customer Relationship Management Tool for salespeople. His effective leadership and training skills resulted in his promotion to Regional Manager for the Bay Area in 2013, overseeing 5 golf course operations. In 2020, James joined the leading manager of private clubs, ClubCorp, as the General Manager of Crow Canyon Country Club. In his role he oversaw all aspects of the operation that included over 100 employees and revenue of more than $12M. During his management of Crow Canyon, the gain in memberships exceeded the sales target by 150, finishing in the Top 5 for the company. James was recruited back to Touchstone Golf in 2022 to lead the Northern California Region as the Vice President of Operations. His intimate knowledge of Touchstone and experience as a golf course operator and leader made it a natural fit. James oversees 10 golf course operations in Northern California working directly with the respective general managers. James lives in San Ramon, CA with his wife and two children. He is an active volunteer that strives to not only empower the lives of the youth, but become a better leader, mentor and citizen through his direction, coaching and training.
Vice President Operations – South Western RegionRead Bio
Chris Gilfillen started his career as a cart attendant at Eastlake Country Club in 1993. Upon graduation from San Diego State University in 2001, he became the General Manager for Balboa Park Golf Course. He later served as the General Manager of Mission Trails Golf Course, Eastlake Country Club, Chula Vista Golf Course, and is now based at Riverwalk Golf Course as Touchstone’s Regional Manager for the San Diego Area. In addition to operational oversight, Mr. Gilfillen is responsible for the development of the managers for Riverwalk, Chula Vista and Rancho Carlsbad. A proven executive leader, Mr. Gilfillen has expertise in golf operations marketing, food and beverage, catering sales, membership, merchandising and course maintenance.
Ashley van Dissel
Vice President of Sales & MarketingRead Bio
Ashley van Dissel
Ashley van Dissel is national vice president of Private Event and Tournament Sales for Touchstone Golf. Prior to her current position, she served as a Regional Director of Sales for Touchstone Golf. In the past, she was a sales director and salesperson of special events and golf tournaments for distinguished courses operated by one of the largest firms in the golf course management industry. Ms. van Dissel has keen insight of the sales and revenue generation challenges of golf course operators having started her career on the first tee while still in college. Her approach is based on a revenue generation model that drives financial growth through lead generation concepts and game plan execution while simultaneously maintaining operational focus and cultural cohesion. She has substantial experience with all media delivery platforms and a core focus on digital media.Last year Touchstone Golf recognized Ashley as co-worker of the year. Ms. van Dissel holds a Master’s degree in Business Marketing from the University of Denver and an undergraduate degree in Business Finance with minor in Marketing from California State University, Long Beach.
Vice President, ControllerRead Bio
Carol McGrail began her accounting career in 1985. She has 12+ years of accounting and financial management in the golf course industry with Club Corporation of America ("CCA") and Touchstone Golf. Her tenure with CCA included regional oversight of a group of high-end private clubs. Ms. McGrail has significant experience in all aspects of golf course and club accounting and financial controls, as well progressive experience in the analysis of balance sheets and P&Ls.
Strategic Information Manager, Assistant ControllerRead Bio
Samantha has several years of experience in the golf industry, ranging from operations to finance and accounting. Samantha started working part-time at Riverwalk Golf Course while attending University of San Diego. After graduating, she took on a full time role as Assistant Manager of the property, as well as, helping with Transitions and Special Projects for Touchstone. From there, moving to Austin, TX to work at the Corporate Office, taking on accounting duties for several properties. Her current role involves Benchmarking and Revenue Management, Process Improvements for Accounting procedures, Managing and upgrading systems at all locations.
Director of Human ResourcesRead Bio
Kate Kearney has over 18 years of experience in a senior leadership role in Human Resources, including 8 years as a Senior Human Resources Director for the United States Army. Kate’s extensive background includes recruiting, employee relations, labor law and compliance, teambuilding and leadership development. In the Touchstone organization, Kate is responsible for maximizing the human potential of Touchstone’s employee base, while maintaining an open and strong line of human resources communication throughout the organization. Kate received her bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and her Masters from the University of Georgia.
Regional ManagerRead Bio
Stan Gonzales has been a PGA member in good standing since 1999 and has over 29 years of golf industry experience. He has managed many types of golf operations ranging from private country clubs, semi-private clubs with public facilities. Stan has many ties to the Southern California golf industry, as his 29-year career has been in Southern California, beginning with eighteen years as Head Golf Professional at Menifee Lake Country Club in Menifee, CA During his tenure at MLCC they expanded from 18 Holes to a 36 hole facility. Stan joined Touchstone Golf in 2009 and currently oversees 5 clubs and courses and directly involved with oversight of all aspects of operations including developing annual operating budgets in golf, food and beverage, merchandise, and maintenance. Stan has strong communication skills with a loyalty to standards of service to all guests and employees he encounters.
Regional ManagerRead Bio
Chris Meade began his career in golf in 1994.A PGA Member since 1999, he has over 25 years of experience in all phases of golf operations. Throughout his career, he has been a general manager of Private, Semi-private and Municipal properties, which allowed him to develop the ability to connect to golfers of all types and skill levels. Mr. Meade, a six-year veteran of Touchstone Golf, was a prior recipient of the General Manager of the Year award. Current responsibilities include the role of General Manager at Lady Bird Golf Course in Fredericksburg, Texas, as well as Central Texas Regional Manager. Working closely with private owners and city governments alike, has allowed him the opportunity to develop and execute budgets for properties of various size and structure. Chris is an avid supporter of junior golf and growth of the game initiatives, and, as a result, was named Top 50 Kids Coach, Class of 2019, by US Kids Golf. Staff development and placement are core strengths, as displayed by the numerous PGA Members and current General Managers who began as assistants in his various golf operations throughout the country.
Regional ManagerRead Bio
Michael Rus has been a PGA member since 1994 with over 35 years of experience in golf club management. Mr. Rus began in the golf industry at the age of 13 when he started working at his local municipal course while growing up in New Mexico. He landed his first Head Golf Professional position immediately upon completing his education at Arizona State University. In 2009 he joined Touchstone Golf and has managed semi-private, public and resort facilities. Mike has a proven track record for creating operational efficiencies with improved financial performance at golf properties in Northern California, Colorado and Arizona. He is experienced in all aspects of golf operations management including golf business start-ups, food & beverage operations, course maintenance, membership services, indoor golf simulators, and golf course design. Mr. Rus is currently based in Chandler, Arizona and is a regional manager for properties in Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas.