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Former Utah Pro Josh Smith Named GM of Five Disney Courses
As an assistant golf professional at Wingpointe Golf Course for seven years Josh Smith kept looking for ways to improve himself; not his game, but his management skills.
He got his break in 2002 when he applied for a job with Arnold Palmer Management and was hired to be the tournament coordinator at Presidio Golf Club in San Francisco. Little did he know at the time that his career was taking a meteoric path to success.
After five stops along the Palmer path including nearly four years as Western Regional Manager of the Palmer golf courses, his career has now taken another big step. The Palmer team has just hired him to serve as the general manager of the five Disney golf courses in Orlando, Florida. The Disney courses are a recent and unique acquisition to the Palmer stable.
Disney, in an effort to generate some passion and energy into its golf course operations, decided to lease its golf properties to Arnold Palmer Management. Instead of a management contract, Palmer negotiated a 20-year lease with Disney that gives the Palmer organization wide latitude to redesign the courses.
About the first task for Jeff Levine, Senior Vice President of Operations for Palmer Management, was to hire a general manager for the five courses, and he turned to Josh Smith to fill that responsibility.
The courses that Smith will be responsible for include:
Disney’s Magnolia course — Named for its 1500 magnolia trees, this course is one of the two original
golf courses that opened with Walt Disney World Resort forty years ago. Designed by Joe Lee, the
course has hosted final round play for PGA Tour events since 1971.
Disney’s Palm course -Designed to accentuate the natural beauty of the land, the course opened in
1971 near Magic Kingdom. Recognized as one of America’s premier resort courses, Disney’s Palm will
be renovated to earn the designation of an Arnold Palmer designed course.
Lake Buena Vista course – Built in 1972, the course adjacent to Downtown Disney and Saratoga
Springs Resort stretches to 6,829 yards from the championship tees. As a past host for PGA, LPGA
and USGA tour stops, the beautifully conditioned course is a challenge for pros and amateurs alike.
Osprey Ridge course – Designed by Tom Fazio in 1992, the course will transition to Four Seasons
Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort as part of their new luxury resort anticipated to open in
Oak Trail course – one of Disney’s most popular courses, this nine hole walking course is ideal for
golfers of all ages and skill levels.
Smith graduated from the University of Utah in 2000 with a BS degree in Recreation and Tourism, a perfect fit for his new position. He has been a Class A PGA member since December of 2001. He graduated from Granger High School in 1996.
Smith is the son of Judy Allem, who is president of the UGA and a member of Hidden Valley CC. He is married to Lexie Sessions, daughter of Don Sessions, who is a former president of Hidden Valley Country Club. Lexie was a first grade school teacher until giving birth to their son, Lucas, who is now nearly two years old.
Smith’s story is one of ‘local boy makes it big in golf, but not on the tour!’
And now the family is on the move from the West Coast to the East Coast.