About American Golf: Executive Profiles

Jim Hinckley

President and CEO

Jim is the most experienced executive in the golf course management and ownership industry having been involved in the ownership/management of over 350 golf courses. He started his career with ClubCorp in 1971 at the age of 15 as a bag boy at Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge, California. He worked his way into the golf shop and became the assistant golf professional and later head golf professional while earning a college degree. He moved to ClubCorp's corporate office in Dallas in 1977 and under the tutelage and direction of ClubCorp Founder Robert Dedman, Sr., he learned the business and worked his way through the organization. In 1994, he was named President and served in that capacity until the summer of 2002. ClubCorp is a private company that owned and managed over 300 country clubs, resorts, private city clubs, golf courses and real estate developments during Jim’s tenure and had $1.6 billion in assets, $925 million in annual revenues and 22,000 employees. Upon leaving ClubCorp, Jim participated in the formation of WMC Management Company LLC. WMC managed over $3.5B in assets including golf courses, hotels, resorts, multi-family and real estate investments. In 2005, Jim acquired WMC, formed Century Golf Partners, and together with his partners, acquired two golf portfolios comprising in aggregate 40 golf courses. Additionally, Century Golf Partners acquired the Arnold Palmer Golf Management (APGM) brand. Jim serves on many industry boards including National Golf Course Owners Association of America, American Junior Golf Association, Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) Education and Employers Council and is a past member of the PGA. Jim is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Jim serves on the boards of the St. Paul Hospital Medical Foundation and the Children's Center for Self Esteem. Jim attended Southern Methodist University and California State University and earned a BS degree in Business Administration in 1978.

Rick Rosen

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Rosen joined American Golf in 2011 as Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for all financial functions at American Golf. 

Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Rosen served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Black Angus Steakhouses, a multi-unit restaurant company.  Mr. Rosen has also served as Chief Financial Officer for several other privately held corporations, including The Ruby Restaurant Group, Barbeques Galore, and The Johnny Rockets Group. He also worked in a variety of finance roles for The Walt Disney Company, Pepsico, and Amoco. 

Mr. Rosen earned a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Keith Brown

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President

As Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President, Mr. Brown is responsible for operations of American Golf’s properties across the United States. 

Since joining the Company in 1992, Mr. Brown has held a variety of positions including as general manager of several private clubs, regional manager in the Pacific Northwest, regional vice president of American Golf’s private clubs and, prior to becoming COO, was the senior operating executive in the western United States.  Prior to joining American Golf, Mr. Brown was an associate at Houlihan, Lokey, Howard and Zukin, an investment banking firm based in Los Angeles. 

Mr. Brown received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from California State University Northridge, where he played NCAA golf and served as an assistant coach.  He also earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Christine Chong

Senior Vice President - Real Property and Legal Affairs

Ms. Chong joined American Golf in 2004 and is currently responsible for managing the company’s transactional and legal matters and real estate portfolio.  Prior to joining American Golf, she worked in a variety of real estate and legal roles for ARCO and Public Storage. 

Ms. Chong holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California. 

Jim Allison

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

As Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Mr. Allison is responsible for managing American Golf’s diversified sales organization and marketing group. 

Mr. Allison joined the Company in 1992 as a regional director of sales and in 1995 was promoted to National Director of Sales for the private club division of American Golf.  Prior to his current position, Mr. Allison served as Vice President of Sales where led American Golf’s national, regional, and local sales teams.  With 27 years of sales and sales management, Jim has a track record of building successful sales organizations through proven sales standards, measurement processes, training programs, recruiting, and product development.  Prior to joining American Golf Mr. Allison spent several years in sales organizations in the computer and electronics industry.

Craig Kniffen

Senior Vice President of Maintenance

One of the golf industry’s most respected professionals in the area of golf course maintenance and agronomy, Mr. Kniffen is responsible for overseeing American Golf’s network of golf course superintendents.

Mr. Kniffen joined American Golf in 1983 as a golf course superintendent before serving as a regional superintendent for six years.  He became the Director of Maintenance for the Southeast Region before becoming Vice President of Maintenance and Construction.  In 2001, he was promoted to his current role as Senior Vice President of Maintenance and is one of the industry’s leading authorities in agronomy and golf course management. 

Mr. Kniffen studied Business Administration at Suffolk County Community College; Agronomy at Oregon State University; and Architecture at Arizona State University.

Joe Stegman

Vice President of Human Resources

As Vice President of Human Resources, Mr. Stegman is responsible for overseeing the recruitment, hiring, training, professional development and employee relations of approximately 7,000 co-workers nationwide. 

Mr. Stegman joined American Golf in 1988 as an assistant golf course superintendent and then served as superintendent at various golf clubs throughout the Midwest and New England.  He was appointed Regional Superintendent in 1994 before becoming a general manager at several courses in Ohio. Mr. Stegman was named Director of Recruiting & Training in 2001, and became Vice President of Recruiting and Training in 2006. 

Mr. Stegman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Heidelberg University.