As temperatures increase in the coming weeks, so, too, will the number of people set on challenging the manicured acreage of Hickory Stick Golf Club.
Reminded of this, Amber Pasel, who in October was promoted to head golf professional at the Center Grove area course, exudes the same quiet confidence that’s made her one of Indiana’s elite women’s amateur golfers.
“Ever since I was about 12, this is what I’ve wanted to do. I’m not fearful at all. It’s kind of a healthy nervousness I have. I feel ready,” said Pasel, who at 26 goes against the grain of traditional industry thinking both in terms of age and gender. “The biggest challenge has been organization. I feel like I’m very organized, but this is a whole new level.”
Pasel previously served as assistant pro at Hickory Stick since January 2010. She succeeds Keith Clark, now head professional at Harrison Lake Country Club in Columbus, Ind.
MEET THE PRO
Name: Amber Pasel
Job: Head Golf Professional, Hickory Stick Golf Club
Family: Husband, Jeremy
High school: Western, 2005 graduate
College: Indiana University, 2009 graduate
Favorite TV show: “X Factor”
Favorite food: Italian
Favorite athlete: Reggie Miller
Favorite team: Indiana University men’s basketball
Hickory Stick, along with Heartland Crossing Golf Links in Camby, is owned and operated by the father-son team of Don and Chip Essig at Essig Golf Management.
Neither hesitated turning to Pasel when the Hickory Stick job opened up.
“Amber obviously is mature beyond her years, and I think that’s because she’s a good leader,” said Chip Essig. “I have to give Keith Clark a lot of credit, too, because he would delegate what got done within his staff and give Amber more and more responsibility. She wanted to learn, and that was a blessing for our facility. She was in place, is well-liked and can do the job.”
The former Amber Lindgren literally grew up with the sport. An only child raised outside of Kokomo, she is the daughter of longtime Northwestern High School girls and boys golf coach Randy Lindgren and his wife, Cherryl.
“I learned to play golf when I was about 4. My option was to go to daycare or learn to play golf, and I wanted to hang out with my dad,” remembered Pasel. “Being an only child, golf was a sport I could play by myself. It teaches you good morals and discipline, and you control everything.”
Following a high school career during which she helped lead Western to a state title in 2001 and runner-up finishes in 2002 and 2004, Pasel played at Indiana University where she captained the Hoosiers as a senior.
Pasel, after graduating from IU, worked as an instructor at Wood Wind Golf Course in Westfield and served as assistant coach for the IUPUI men’s and women’s golf programs.
Every stop made, every person met, has better prepared Pasel for the challenges ahead.
“Keith Clark was great with marketing and just customer service overall. He’s immaculate at that, which has really helped me,” said Pasel, whose assistant pro, Michael Powell, 24, is someone she’s been friends with since she was 12.
“I also get a lot of encouragement from Don and Chip Essig, Jack Barber at Meridian Hills (Country Club) and Jim Humphrey at Chippendale (Golf Course in Kokomo). Jack is a big proponent that family is a high priority and Chip wants you to keep playing golf because it makes you a better teacher.”
Golf instruction is only a portion of Pasel’s job description. Like every other aspect of being a golf professional, it’s one she takes seriously.
Like she said, she’s been preparing for this for more than half her life.