KAHULUI - Dave Gleason, the only general manager in the 16-year history of The Dunes at Maui Lani golf course, has retired after a 42-year golf career on the Valley Isle.
"Retirement," Gleason said with a smile over lunch in the Dunes' clubhouse recently. "When you get into golf, golf is a seven-day (a week), everyday-of-the-year operation. Even though you think you are going to take the day off, something always pops up, you are always concerned about something, so time to wind back after 42 years in the business."
Gleason was the tournament chairman of the Kaanapali Classic on the PGA Champions Tour for 10 years, is a PGA of America member and was Golf Professional of the Year in Hawaii in 2001.
He is a former president of the Amfac Golf Division, which operated the Kaanapali Golf Courses and the Waikele Golf Club on Oahu. Gleason is also the former GM of the Maui Country Club and was director of golf at Kuilima Resort on Oahu, now known as Turtle Bay.
Russell Dooge recently took over as GM at The Dunes.
"Excited and scared in the same way," Dooge said of following Gleason.
Dooge was a longtime superintendent for MMK Maui, which runs the King Kamehameha and Kahili golf clubs in Waikapu and before that held the same position for two years at the Kapalua Village Course. He has held similar positions on Lanai and Molokai over a four-decade career.
"I'm going to wear a different hat now," Dooge said. "Being in the golf maintenance for 40 years, it's all about spending money.
"Now, I have to worry about making money. I'm excited, I know most of the staff members here - it is just going to be a new challenge."
Gleason said he will continue to work for the real estate and development side of Maui Lani.
"I have been at Wailea in the early 1970s, Maui Country Club, a couple years on Oahu at Turtle Bay, Kaanapali for 18 years and here for 16," he said. "Very lucky - it was a fabulous, fabulous stretch."
Gleason said he is passing the torch to the right man in Dooge.
"It's time for me to look at the operation from another view," Gleason said. "Russ is going to have the full gamut of responsibilities and I'm sure he will do very well. We're proud of this place - we've got a great facility."
Gleason singled out Dunes designer Robin Nelson and owner Bill Mills as making his time at The Dunes special.
"It has been nice, it has been great, working with guys like that," Gleason said.
Dooge, who graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in horticulture technology, knows he has a tough act to follow.
"Dave built this place," he said. "Now, I have to do my best to keep it going."