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Our People

Jim Hinckley
President and CEO

Jim is one of the most experienced executives in the golf course management and ownership industry, having been involved in the ownership & management of more than 350 golf courses during the course of his career. His first position in the golf industry was with ClubCorp in 1971, as a 15-year-old bag boy at Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge, California. Jim worked his way into the golf shop and soon became the assistant golf professional and later head golf professional while he earned his college degree. He moved to ClubCorp's corporate office in Dallas in 1977 and, under the direction of ClubCorp Founder Robert Dedman, Sr., he learned the business and continued to grow within the organization.

In 1994, Jim was named as ClubCorp's President and served in that capacity until late 2002. During Jim's tenure, ClubCorp owned and managed over 300 country clubs, resorts, private city clubs, golf courses, and real estate developments; had $1.6 billion in assets; $925 million in annual revenues; and 22,000 employees. Upon leaving ClubCorp in 2002, Jim assisted in the formation of WMC Management Company, LLC (WMC).

WMC managed over $3.5 billion in assets, including golf courses, hotels, resorts, multi-family, and real estate investments. In 2005, Jim acquired WMC and formed Century Golf Partners. Together with his partners, he continued to build the company's golf portfolio by acquiring the Arnold Palmer Golf Management (APGM) brand, plus a total of 80 courses.

Jim also serves on numerous industry boards, including the National Golf Course Owners Association of America; American Junior Golf Association; Golf 20/20, Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) Education and Employers Council; and he is a past member of the PGA. Jim is a National Trustee for the First Tee and is also a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO/WPO). Additionally, he serves on the boards at the St. Paul Hospital Medical Foundation, Children’s Healthcare Charity Foundation, and the Children's Center for Self Esteem. Jim attended Southern Methodist University and California State University and earned his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1978.

Lee Finkel
Senior Vice President - Publics

Lee joined American Golf in 2003. He gained experience as the General Manager of a variety of golf courses before he was promoted to Regional Director of the Northeast in 2009. During that time, he lived and worked in New York and was responsible for overseeing courses in New York City, New Jersey, Atlanta, Virginia, and Detroit. In 2015, he was promoted to Regional Vice President for the East and added the management of Dallas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee courses to his existing responsibilities. In 2016, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and now oversees the management and operations for all of American Golf’s Public Courses.

Lee is Vice President of the California Golf Course Owners Association and is on the board of the American Golf Foundation (AGF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the game of golf and its ideals through charity, education, and service to the community. He is a graduate of the University of San Diego and earned a Bachelors of Business Administration in Economics and an MBA in Venture Management.

Ken Hultz
Senior Vice President- Private Clubs

Ken has been in the golf business for 30 years and 25 of those with American Golf. He began his career in golf as an Outside Service Attendant at Ottawa Park Golf Course (a Municipal Golf Course) in Toledo, Ohio while in high school. After graduating from high school, he was promoted to Assistant General Manager and then General Manager in 1998. Once becoming a General Manager, he assisted with the onboarding of various courses to the American Golf family in the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Illinois. In addition, Ken has led high-end Daily Fee Courses that have hosted Nike Tour, Web.com Tour and LPGA Events (Pumpkin Ridge-Ghost Creek and Witch Hollow - Heatherwood Golf Club).

After a 5-year stint outside of American Golf, in a Regional Director role, running numerous private clubs in the mid-west, Ken returned to American Golf overseeing a private club in Northern California. In 2011, he was promoted to Regional Director overseeing all private clubs for American Golf outside Southern California. In 2013, he was promoted to Regional Vice President of the 23 private clubs located throughout the US.

Ken is an avid golfer who played competitive golf through 2000 in the National Juniors and USGA sanctioned events. He is a member of The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and leads fundraising efforts for the American Golf Foundation (AGF) a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the game of golf through charity, education, and service to the community.

Paul Ballam
Senior Vice President – Business Development
Paul has led American Golf’s national business development efforts since 2007 and has extensive experience negotiating and implementing golf facility leases and management agreements. In addition to his involvement in nearly $500 million of golf facility purchase and sale transactions, Mr. Ballam specializes in contracts and relationships with municipalities and throughout his more than 20-year career with American Golf he has been integral to the Company’s efforts in partnering with municipalities to provide capital improvements and professional golf management services to their constituents.

Prior to joining American Golf, Paul held various management and operations positions at a wide variety of golf facilities including a municipally owned course, member-owned private clubs, and a major golf resort.

Paul earned his B.A. in History from Brandeis University where he was a co-captain of the school’s golf team.

Tom Frost
Vice President-Business Development

Tom brings over 35 years of experience in golf operations/acquisitions to American Golf and their clients.  Before joining American Golf Tom’s work in the golf industry included running his own management and consulting company and working with major financial institutions, government, management companies, and small operators.  Tom’s experience in both small business and corporate atmosphere offers a combination of practical “hands-on” experience and up to date industry knowledge to AGC’s clients.  With over 30 years in working business development, Tom is one of the leading authorities on putting together partnerships between the public and private sector and with individual owners.

Tom’s experience includes the construction of and opening of four new facilities and management of over $60 million in golf course related capital improvements and involvement in over 65 million dollars in golf course acquisitions.  Tom was a founding member of the Board of Trustees for the First Tee of Northern Nevada and is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Golf Course Owners Association and the Southern California Golf Association’s Government Affairs Committee.