The North Dakota club’s 24-year-old General Manager and 25-year-old Executive Chef are leading pursuit of a mission which holds that “the future of private clubs is in families, and having something for everybody.”
A recent profile in Prairie Business magazine highlighted how the private Oxbow (N.D.) Country Club is being led by a 24-year-old General Manager, Joel Livingood, and a 25-year-old Executive Chef, Torey Ostlund, who directs the operation of a restaurant, The Bend at Oxbow, that is open to the public.
John Dahl, Oxbow CC’s golf professional, told Prairie Business that he knew early on, after Livingood started working at the club in the eighth grade, gathering and cleaning stray golf balls from the driving range, that Livingood showed the potential to be a good fit with the club.
He was “very mature for his age, very responsible and showed a passion for the golf business,” recalled Dahl, who eventually moved Livingood into the golf shop and made him his right-hand man for several years.
Livingood, a 2008 graduate of Fargo South (N.D.) High School, continued working for the country club while attending the University of Minnesota, Prairie Business reported. After graduating, he interviewed for corporate jobs in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but soon realized the hospitality industry was where he wanted to be, and pursued the General Manager job at Oxbow when it became available.
“The people and the relationships I’ve built here are really the reason I came back,” Livingood, who is now 24 and has been Oxbow’s GM for a little less than two years, told Prairie Business. “The people I get to work with – and for – are some of the best people I know. I really enjoy it.”
The magazine’s profile also highlighted Torey Ostlund as another manager at Oxbow who has landed a high-level position at a young age. Ostlund, the club’s Executive Chef, is 25 and a native of Moorhead, Minn. He studied cooking for a time and was a chef at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo before taking a position as Oxbow’s Sous Chef in 2009 and then being promoted to Executive Chef later that year, Prairie Business reported
Ostlund told Prairie Business that he’s never been intimidated by a job and prefers challenge over complacency. “What drew me to doing this is, it’s never the same from day to day,” he said.
Livingood told Prairie Business that he feels he and Ostlund bring a fresh perspective to the country club, while at the same time they respect and rely on the wisdom of those who have worked there much longer.
“I think it’s an interesting dynamic and part of the reason we’re so successful,” Livingood said. His strategy for leading the country club includes studying what innovative private clubs around the country are doing, Prairie Business reported.
“I really think the future of private clubs is in families and having something for everybody,” said Livingood, who at the height of the golf season oversees a staff of about 60, Prairie Business reported.
With the arrival of cooler weather, it was noted, the club aims more of its energies at its restaurant, The Bend at Oxbow. “Unique to a lot of private clubs, our restaurant is open to the public,” Livingood said. “We basically focus all of our attention on that in the off-season.”